Mr Rene Woods, has become the first Aboriginal on the Landcare NSW Board, following his appointment to the director position reserved for an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person at the Landcare NSW Annual General Meeting held in Sydney last month.
Mr Woods appointment demonstrates Landcare NSW’s commitment to increase opportunities to consciously develop stronger connections and partnerships between Landcare groups and Aboriginal Communities.
Mr Woods has played an integral role in guiding and strengthening the recognition of First Nations land and water practice in the Murray Darling Basin and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities over many years. “I am a Nari Nari man from southwest New South Wales. I have had a long involvement with Gayini (water) for Aboriginal people across the Basin and grew up on the Murrumbidgee River where the river has always been central to my family, my community, and our way of life,” said Mr Woods.
Mr Woods has been involved with a number of Boards including the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations, the Nari Nari Tribal Council, the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Aboriginal Water Initiative, the Murrumbidgee Valley Water NSW Customer Advisory Group and the first Aboriginal person appointed to the Murray Darling Basin Authority Board Member in December 2020.
Landcare NSW Chair, Stephanie Cameron, welcomed Mr Woods to the Board, recognising that his appointment is central to the future of Landcare NSW. “It is a significant milestone in Landcare NSW’s history to have Rene join the Landcare NSW Board. He has a deep connection to NSW’s Indigenous community and we’re looking forward to his contribution as a Board Director.
“Rene’s leadership and cultural guidance will make an invaluable contribution to Landcare NSW’s governance, which will lead to enhanced connections between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the Landcare community across the state of New South Wales,” Ms Cameron said.
Rene Woods – Independent Director
Why are you seeking to serve Landcare NSW Limited as a director?
I am a Nari Nari man from southwest New South Wales. I have had a long involvement with Gayini (water) for Aboriginal people across the Basin and grew up on the Murrumbidgee River where the river has always been central to my family, my community, and our way of life.
I am a strong advocate for First Nation people in the Basin and have worked in communities in both the public and non-government organisation sectors of the Basin. I am currently employed by the Nature Conservancy Australia as a Conservation Officer and have seen what can happen for communities that have Gayini and land under their ownership and control.
I believe that together we can achieve a strong healthy river system and healthier communities. I work with my Nari Nari Elders to make sure their views are incorporated into Gayini (water) planning within the state and Basin.
I have previously held the position of chairperson of the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations (2018 to 2020) and have also been vice-chair of the Nari Nari Tribal Council. I held several other positions including with New South Wales Department of Primary Industries Aboriginal Water Initiative (2013 to 2016) and Murrumbidgee Valley Water NSW Customer Advisory Group (2018 to 2020).
I was also a member of the National Cultural Flows Research Committee (2013 to 2018) and was a panel member of Former Minister Littleproud’s Independent Panel for the Assessment of Social and Economic Conditions of Murray–Darling Basin communities.
I was the first Aboriginal person appointed to the Murray Darling Basin Authority Board Member in December 2020.
What do you hope to contribute to the Board of Landcare NSW Limited?
I would hope that I would bring a cultural lens to the work that Landcare does across NSW and my expertise and networks within NSW, Australia and Internationally. My experience and understanding of strategy implementations bring a better understanding and recognition of First Nations land and water practice in Landcare NSW.
I have worked with the key agencies that manage, protection and enhancement of Culture and Heritage across the Southern Basin.
My knowledge of current and emerging issues with the Aboriginal water sector would assist the MDBA to be able to plan and continue to assist Traditional Owners and Basin states to continue the good work already being undertaking across the Basin.
I believe my willingness to listen to all stakeholders, State and Federal Governments and my knowledge of Traditional Owners of the Hay and Balranald Community’s would assist me in this role.