Western Local Land Services (Western LLS) always enjoy getting out in the region to carry out projects that benefit landholders, communities and the environment.  

Some of the staff that are responsible for this work are in our Land Services - Communities team which is headed up by Team Leader, Ben Slingsby. 

For those of you that don't know Ben or his team, take a moment to read this e-newsletter and get to know them, the work they are doing and how they can be of benefit to you and your organisation. 
Getting to know us - meet the Communities team  

Ben Slingsby (Team Leader): Ben is based in Buronga and has been with Western LLS since February 2014. Prior to this, Ben worked as a leading hand for a private conservation company in south-east Queensland and also taught conservation and land management for a number of years at TAFE. 

In Ben's words:

What I enjoy most about my role is the diversity of people and projects. I have a great team, I work with a wide range of talented staff that consistently rise to challenges and make the west a remarkable place to work.

Our projects cover such a wide range of areas, there is always something new happening and always something new to learn. What I really want to help achieve is resilient people in resilient communities, operating resilient businesses in resilient landscapes.

Bert 'Blackie' Gordon (Senior Land Services Officer): Blackie is based in Brewarrina and has been with Western LLS since January 2014. Blackie gets great satisfaction out of working in the Western region and feels a deep reverence through his connection with the land of his forefathers. 

In Blackie's words:

I really enjoy the challenge of being an integral part in seeing the benefits of the commitments made by Western LLS in the gradual closure of the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. I also really enjoy gaining the trust and respect of non-Aboriginal landholders to acknowledge the archaeological significance of ancient sites - and then carrying out protection work of Aboriginal sites, particularly the burial sites. 

I hope through my role to achieve the development of procedures to promote ongoing commitment and education to the importance of sourcing, preserving and maintaining Aboriginal artifacts and sites. I would also like to bridge the gap between the old ways and today's youth to encourage the understanding and appreciation of the value of the traditional ways. 

Ronni O'Donnell (Senior Land Services Officer): Ronni is based in Buronga and began with Western LLS in January 2014. Ronni is a Kureinji woman from the local Aboriginal Nations and Kinship groups which have inhabited the south-west area of the Murray River for many generations.

In Ronni's words:

I love this job due to the opportunity to travel throughout a great part of south-western NSW where I get to see the diverse landscape, work with interesting people (many of whom have become great friends), develop and manage projects which address positive outcomes for the environment and (hopefully) create a bit of a positive difference in people's lives.

Outside of work, Ronni's interests include her family and friends, flying, malleefowl and camping. She is a mother of two grown children and foster children, has six grandchildren and is currently sharing the family home with four generations!

Kaye Gottschutzke (Senior Land Services Officer - pictured on the right): Kaye is based in Buronga and began with Western LLS in January 2014. Kaye shares her partner’s four children and four grandchildren and a collection of fur babies, and currently calls Yelta home. 

In Kaye's words:

The most rewarding side of my role is helping the community become more informed about natural resource management through hosting workshops, events and activities. I love getting out onto properties in the west to see first-hand how landholders manage the balance between production and sustaining their land into the future through improved practices.

My inspiration is to share messages through events and school based activities that are taken home and not only shared with the parents but will guide the students as the next generation on the land.

When not looking after her 10-acre patch of home, Kaye can be found playing competition tennis, horse riding or spending time with her family and pets. 

Guy Gibbs (Land Services Officer): Guy is based in Bourke and has been with Western LLS since January 2014. Guy loves living in the Western region due to the connection he has with the land and its people. The connections have been forged by working in the shearing sheds with family or as a child learning from his family how to read the land for food or water. 

In Guy's words:

What I love most about working at LLS is the fact I’m trying to do what my old people have done for thousands of years, Care for Country. The fact that our traditional practices were dismissed by the European immigrants has come full circle and now we are trying to reinvigorate traditional ecological knowledge and share with land holders across our great and unique landscape.

Something I am passionate about is increasing the employment percentage of Aboriginal people. It would be great to not only see them working, but for an Aboriginal person to achieve management level. I would also encourage all landholders across the Western region to participate in the use of traditional cultural practices and protection of cultural sites as a partnership. 

Mary Camilleri (Land Services Officer): Mary is based in Broken Hill and joined Western LLS in January 2018. Mary is originally from Broken Hill and prior to joining Western LLS worked in Forest Management in Bendigo, Victoria across various departments. 

In Mary's words:

I enjoy this role as it allows me to be back in my hometown, the people and the challenges. I enjoy the uniqueness of the Western region, there is nowhere else like it - it calls you back wherever you are! 

Through working for Western LLS, I want to contribute positively to my hometown and future generations so the west continues to prosper on. 

Outside of work, Mary's interests include animals, she has two border collies and a cat and used to ride horses, while she also enjoys the great outdoors, reading and pottering around the garden. 
Ongoing work by the Communities team

The Communities team is available to assist with activities across all areas of Western LLS business from biosecurity and animal health to natural resource management, Cultural Heritage and community partnerships. Team members focus on engagement for capacity building, regional Landcare, community education and Aboriginal Communities and are bases throughout the Western region.

Aboriginal Communities
Some of the recent work the Aboriginal Communities staff (Blackie, Ronni and Guy) have been involved in includes assisting landholders to identify and protect evidence of Aboriginal occupation on their properties. A recent example of this is where our staff worked with community and landholders to protect Aboriginal burial sites on a property between Bourke and Brewarrina. 

A common myth that the Communities team is committed to dispelling is if you find Aboriginal artifacts or remains on your property, then your property will be seized and turned over to the Government or Aboriginal Community. The Communities team can categorically state that this is not the case. The team is there to help landholders and community members navigate the legal requirement to protect these important sites. 

Blackie, Ronnie and Guy also work with Aboriginal Communities to share traditional ecological knowledge. Recently, a Cultural Burn workshop and demonstration was carried out at a property near Hillston. There are two more scheduled for the last week in June in Bourke and in Menindee.

Western LLS Communities team signing off...

We would like to say a big THANK YOU to all the landholders, stakeholders and community members we work with. 

Please take the time to save our contact details in your phones and always contact us with any questions you have around the work Western LLS is doing in your local area: 
  • Ben - (03) 5021 9408 or email
  • Blackie - (02) 6839 2176 or email
  • Ronni - (03) 5021 9429 or email
  • Kaye - (03) 5021 9409 or email
  • Guy - (02) 6870 8629 or email
  • Mary - (08) 8082 5207 or email
While the Western LLS region covers around 40 % of the state, we are committed to offering as much support, advice and hands-on expertise to landholders, community members and stakeholders as possible. 
Western Local Land Services
Freecall: 1300 795 299

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© State of NSW through the Dept of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services, 2014 · 32 Enterprise Way · Buronga, NSW 2739 · Australia