Australia’s first Aboriginal farmers group has acquired a tree nursery at Northam and will sell a million seedlings this year as part of its charter to become a self-sustaining, commercially viable operation. WA’s Noongar Land Enterprise group bought WA Tree Farms from previous owners Lou and Carole Dimasi for an undisclosed sum, and has since planted one million seedlings, comprising more than 50 species. Now called Boola Boornap, meaning place of many trees, the native tree farm will be officially opened by WA Governor Kim Beazley today. Noongar Land Enterprise entered into a licence agreement with the previous owner late last year, prior to the deal being finalised, and will have its first batch of one million seedlings ready by midyear, NLE chief executive Alan Beattie said. The seedlings have been pre-ordered by businesses looking to plant as part of carbon farming initiatives or land restoration. Other main customers are sandalwood plantations wanting the native seedlings as host trees. Production will increase to two million plantings later this year, and a planned expansion of infrastructure on the 2ha site means Boola Boornap meansproduction will increase to three million seedlings by late 2022. Boola Boornap has provided jobs for six to eight people, most from the local Aboriginal community. The purchase was made possible through assistance from philanthropic organisations in Europe, a WA philanthropist and funding via First Australians Capital. NLE chairman Oral McGuire said the purchase of the nursery was a significant achievement for NLE, as well as the broader Noongar community and Aboriginal people across the nation. “NLE has identified looking after country (environmental management), cultural connectivity and rejuvenation, and wellbeing and healing as being interconnected in how our land assets are managed,” he said. NLE vice-chairman Bruce Loo said it was the environmental, cultural and social aspects which provided the motivation and inspiration for the business. Mr Beattie said the purchase of the native tree farm nursery, along with other initiatives would enable the NLE within three years to become a self sustaining organisation. NLE also plans to develop a bush food produce business, including wattle seeds, and to produce commercial quantities of honey.