Carbon Farm Sale Lets Descendants Return to Country

Indigenous organisation Kullilli Bulloo River Aboriginal Corporation will meet two goals with the purchase of this outback station.
Carbon Farm Sale Lets Descendants Return to Country
A supplied image obtained on Thursday, September 14, 2023, of those involved in the sale of the station pose for a photo at Thargomindah Station Left to right: Casey Taylor – Conscious Investment Management; Adam Klein – former owner of Thargomindah Station Ronald Saltner – Kullilli Bulloo River Aboriginal Corporation; Glenn Kvassay – Climate Friendly Cassandra Stevens – Kullilli Bulloo River Aboriginal Corporation, at Thargomindah Station, south western QLD. (AAP Image/Supplied)

A farm in southwest Queensland has been bought by a local aboriginal corporation to allow its people to return to the country, an initiative Indigenous groups hope will become more common.

Kullilli Bulloo River Aboriginal Corporation has bought the 47,100-hectare Thargomindah Station with the help of a carbon farming and finance partnership.

"For Kullilli people, this is a very significant acquisition of Kullilli country," corporation director Cassandra Stevens said.

"The land has cultural and spiritual significance for our people, and being able to now own and operate it for Kullilli people is a huge milestone."

Ms. Stevens said buying back the traditional lands was a win for the descendants of the Kullilli people, most of whom were forcibly removed from their lands between the 1880s until the late 1960s.

"We were removed from country and have been dispossessed of country for over 100 years, so this is a very significant milestone for Kullilli people," she said.

"Our ultimate aim is to have our people go back on country, for our children to have the opportunity to care for country and learn cultural practices that have been taken from us."

The money was loaned to the corporation from impact investor Conscious Investment Management and will be paid back through carbon farming income.

"It has given the Kullilli people a pathway to acquire their land and directly manage the property from day one," said Iain Wood from Conscious Investment Management.

Climate Friendly assessed the project and will work with regulators to sell the credits. It expects the farm to deliver 270,000 tonnes of carbon abatement over the next 25 years.

"The Kullilli Bulloo River Aboriginal Corporation can undertake any other activities they wish on the property provided they're consistent with carbon farming," Skye Glenday from Climate Friendly told AAP.

Land Will Return to Traditional Owners

The Kullilli people will own and operate the land after the carbon farming arrangement ends in 25 years.

Suzanne Thomspon, from the Indigenous Carbon Industry Network, says projects such as this one were helping empower Indigenous communities.

"I think it's fantastic," she told AAP.

"It's exciting that there are more and more people out there seeing the value of offsetting and the value of partnering with First Nations groups to offset or restore country."

The project is being discussed at a summit in Sydney on Friday as part of the conversation around co-benefits and inclusion of Indigenous communities in carbon project investment.

The Australasian Emissions Reduction Summit will hear from Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen and the coalition's Ted O'Brien.