Alliance brings Indigenous Communities working in Cultural Fire together

The Firesticks Alliance brings together Indigenous Communities working in Cultural Fire from across the Nation.

The Firesticks Virtual Conference held on the 4th & 5th of December opened with a stunning Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony from Carl Fourmile, Yidinji man from the land of Gimuy in Far North Queensland, via a Cairns Studio live broadcast.

Over two days the conference was facilitated by Barry Hunter, Chair of the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation who introduced Indigenous Communities from Far North Queensland to Tasmania. The communities presented the important work they have been doing on Country, despite the challenges over the last 12 months.

Victor Steffensen from the Firesticks Alliance set the tone with a strong message “This [conference] is about taking [cultural fire] to the next level. We’re calling on agencies, universities, private landholders, all communities to work together and put our shoulders behind what is already working. We want to see more employment for all the people managing landscapes, we want to see education [about cultural fire] in schools, we want to see monitoring, research and data delivered proudly across the world from Indigenous knowledge, from the communities of Australia.”

This remarkable online gathering of Indigenous communities working in Cultural Fire practices and the supporting agencies, was a place to exchange ideas and information to plan the next steps for their vital work on Country.


The Firesticks Alliance discussed plans for the Indigenous led Certified Fire Practitioner Mentoring and Training Program. This includes strengthening the Women’s Cultural Fire Program.

Victor Steffensen and Dr Peta Standley from Firesticks Leadership team presented on the Cultural Fire Mentoring, Training and Certification program and gained important feedback from the Indigenous Communities on the best ways to move forward.

“Stopping bushfires is a major challenge,” said Steffensen. “The healthier the land, the less likely it is to burn with wildfires. But we don’t have enough skilled practitioners to manage the country…a two day fire certificate [is not enough]. We’re talking about 3 years to get started with a simple training program that is tailored to each region.”

Strong women at the forefront of discussions shared the incredible work happening to better support women to fulfil their important roles in Cultural Fire – from being caretakers of women’s-only areas and plants, to teachers and role models to inspire the next generation to care for Country.

Firesticks announced an important new partnership with the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation, a fellow not for profit company working with Traditional Owners. Together we are working on the development and delivery of an Indigenous led cultural fire credit and verification framework.

Rowan Foley Aboriginal Carbon Foundation CEO introduced the new Cultural Fire Credits: An independent income to support Cultural Burning. This part of the conversation discussed the research and development of Cultural Fire Credits – a way to better channel sustainable, long-term and independent investment directly to communities to support Cultural Fire practices. This is being informed by the work on by Firesticks with investment support from WWF – Australia.

“After this year’s devastating wildfires, there have been lots of people who are willing to invest in looking after Country but don’t have a mechanism to do it” said Rowan Foley, CEO of the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation.

“Ordinary mums and dads who want to look after Country and are sick to death of having Country burned down could buy Cultural Fire Credits…corporations such as insurance companies are keen to invest [in preventative measures] because it is much cheaper to invest in Cultural Burning than it is to replace a house…landowners could buy credits to support a local Aboriginal ranger team implement cultural burns on their property,” he said.

A percentage of funds invested would support Firesticks to continue to train, mentor and certify the next generation of Cultural Fire Practitioners and the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation to implement the Indigenous peer to peer strengths-based verification approach. The credit would also support social responsibility via a percentage investing in the Elders descendants to continue their fire management. The majority of the credit would go to supporting on-ground Indigenous community led cultural fire programs.

This empowers Traditional Owners to determine the environmental, social and cultural co-benefits and brings people together to share experiences and knowledge. The Aboriginal Carbon Foundation
does not use a deficient model or engage non-Aboriginal verifiers.

The Firesticks Alliance is an Indigenous led organisation that aims to support Indigenous communities to increase cultural fire practice on Country.

To find out further information and interview opportunities about Firesticks initiatives, Firesticks Virtual Conference 2020 and Firesticks partnership with the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation.

For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact: Firesticks Alliance Indigenous Corporation – Media Enquiries – Julie Ryan, Communications & Engagement – M: 0404 461 938 | E: jryan@firesticks.org.au Or download a copy of the media release here.

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