Supporting the next generation of Indigenous Fire Practitioners
Suncorp Group is supporting Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation's new certification and assessment framework in Cultural Burning.
Suncorp Group has announced its Community Partnership with Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation; a not-for-profit organisation that enhances the cultural and natural values of people and Country through conservation, cultural fire, and land management practices.
The partnership will support Firesticks’ new certification and assessment framework. This will ensure the safety of people and Country, leaving a legacy of recognised and culturally certified Indigenous Fire Practitioners, able to support increasing cultural fire mentoring and training in communities.
"Australia has a long and devasting history with bushfires,” said Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston. “We may not be able to prevent them, but we need to do more to protect communities and reduce the impacts."
Suncorp Group CEO, Steve Johnston
Cultural Burning practices have an important role in this which is why it’s critical the deep knowledge and land management techniques of our First Nations people of this continent are better utilised and preserved. Suncorp’s partnership with Firesticks will support these practices to continue and be expanded, with the Cultural Fire Certification program also helping to create jobs, drive cultural connection and protect our environment and communities.
Firesticks Co-Founder, Victor Steffensen, and Suncorp Group CEO, Steve Johnston address the crowd at the partnership announcement in Boobarran Ngummin (Bunya Mountains). A traditional smoking ceremony and dances were performed to officially launch the event.
Firesticks is leading the development of certification and assessment frameworks that will recognise and enhance Indigenous Fire Practices in Cultural Fire across 14 different country types.
Victor Steffensen, co-Founder of Firesticks, heads up the mentoring and training of Indigenous Fire Practitioners across the continent, working with individuals and communities to nurture these traditional practices.
“The Firesticks training and certification program is crucial to support our resilience as a nation,” said Victor.
From left: John Murray, Paul Dawson, and Kori Munroe-Ping, Rangers at Bunya Peoples' Aboriginal Corporation
Victor Steffensen, co-Founder of Firesticks
It’s about getting people out onto Country and using Good Fire to heal the land. Because we know when we improve the health of the landscapes, we improve its resilience against wildfires.
After the launch ceremony, guests were invited by Firesticks members to watch a demonstrative burn, undertaken by attending Associate Indigenous Fire Practitioners.
“Over the next three years we will see the Associate Indigenous Fire Practitioners spend over 150 days on Country,” said Firesticks Learning and Certification Coordinator Jessica Wegener, “learning about different Country types, cultural site assessments, producing burn plans, and reading maps for land management purposes, among other topics.”
The 2020 Royal Commission into natural disasters highlighted a growing recognition of the value of Indigenous land and fire management practices, driving further awareness of the need for greater natural hazard resilience in Australia.
Mick Smith, Awabakal, Biripi, and Worimi man and Associate Indigenous Fire Practitioner in the Hunter Region echoes the significance and recognition the program brings to his community.
"We are finally getting the recognition that the old ways are the right way. This is how we used to do it for thousands of years, and we know it works.”
Through this partnership, the Firesticks Alliance aims to mentor and certify 100 Indigenous Fire Practitioners by 2023.
Images were taken on Wakka Wakka Country