IT’S not every day that going to work involves swimming with turtles – but for IPS Business Advisor Scott Anderson, that’s exactly what one recent day at the office did involve.
Scott has been working as a Business Advisor through the Indigenous Entrepreneurs Fund (IEF) with the Gudjuda Corporation in North Queensland, on an Indigenous tourism enterprise that is sure to make a splash as the only activity of its kind in the world.
Gudjuda Corporation’s tourism product provides a range of different experiences, including sharing traditional stories, visiting rock art, and turtle tagging. “Turtle tagging is one of those things you can’t do anywhere else,” Scott said.
“It’s supporting a lot of research work – you catch turtles, tag them, measure them, and send the data back to James Cook University. There’s an abundance of turtles in the country they’re working in - a couple of weeks prior to my visit they tagged 80 turtles in three days, and out of those only four had been previously tagged. The turtles on their country are just thriving.”
Scott visited the site to help out with the turtle tagging not long ago.
“I went out, and just to be in the bay cruising, you see turtles, tons of stingrays, sharks, and plenty of other sea life,” he said. “I was only out there for a couple of hours, and there’s just an abundance of sea life, it’s a really great experience,” he said.
Gudjuda Corporation have been building their business for 20 years. “They’re now looking to commercialise it to increase employment and training opportunities for their mob on country,” Scott said. “They’re targeting the cruise ships coming through the Whitsundays and North Queensland coast.”
As well as the IEF, the project is working on a holistic approach, with funding from PMC and working on country funding for rangers. Gudjuda Corporation held an inaugural Turtle Rodeo on November 14, in partnership with the WWF, CSIRO and Aboriginal Rangers, to raise awareness of the turtle research. Participants spent the day in the water interacting with the turtles.
“It’s something you’re never going to see anywhere else in the world,” Scott said. “We really appreciate the support from Scott Anderson and IPS who have been working with us and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to set up our commercial business and financial models to see our enterprise grow into the future,” Gudjuda Reference Group Aboriginal Corporation Chairperson Uncle Eddie Smallwood said.