13/04/2004 - 22:00

Cultural commerce

13/04/2004 - 22:00

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TALKING from a mobile phone in the small mid-west fishing village of Shark Bay, Yadgalah Aboriginal Corporation chairman Ben Bellottie emits pride as he describes the change taking hold in his local community.

Cultural commerce

TALKING from a mobile phone in the small mid-west fishing village of Shark Bay, Yadgalah Aboriginal Corporation chairman Ben Bellottie emits pride as he describes the change taking hold in his local community.

“The customary role of Aboriginal groups is to be governed by the elders on traditional matters and things, but we are now sort of seeing a shift,” Mr Bellottie said.

“And I think we are probably one of the pioneers . . . in that our young people with enterprise skills need to be able to make decisions, rather like a CEO does, to better the well-being of our people and that includes the elders.”

Two years ago Yadgalah partnered with Indigenous Business Australia to purchase a half stake in the local international Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort.

Mr Bellottie said they would not have done it without IBA.

“We could go forever and a day for as long as ATSIC was around and sit on their funding program, but it was sort of going nowhere,” he said.

Now, as well as a positive return on their $3 million investment, local job and training opportunities have been created for Yadgalah’s members.

Although Mr Bellottie acknowledges it is still early days, he is confident of the future.

Interestingly Yadgalah was recently criticised for involvement in an ambitious Shark Bay property development.

“We are being a little bit proactive, we have copped a bit of flak but we can wear that,” Mr Bellottie said.

 

 

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