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September 29, 2022

Koori Mail buys Lismore building

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The streets of Lismore following the 2022 floods. Photo supplied

The Koori Mail is celebrating the Indigenous ownership of additional offices in Lismore following the devastating flooding in February this year.

As Australia’s national fortnightly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander newspaper the offices owned by the Koori Mail on the first levels of the building were devastated by the floods six months ago, halting Koori Mail operations for the first time in the newspaper’s 30-year history.

Cleaning up at The Koori Mail after the 2022 floods. Photo supplied

Builders and tradespeople

They have now purchased additional office suites located within their flood-affected building and the rebuild has begun. The Koori Mail is calling out to builders and tradespersons to assist with much-needed renovations to the flood-affected levels of the building, and support upgrading the new office suites that will provide suitable offices for all staff.

The Koori Mail had been in negotiations with the owners of the top-level suites about a purchase price, however, following the floods this year, the Koori Mail needed to consider whether it was financially feasible to follow through with the purchase. 

Following the floods the Koori Mail staff were displaced and left with minimal space to continue operations. After consideration the Koori Mail decided to go ahead with the purchase of the upper floors of office space.

‘We needed help. After almost six months of running our flood relief hub supporting the community, we had a pressing deadline for sale and we desperately needed to reach out to those whom we hoped would be in a position to provide support – big or small,’ said Koori Mail General Manager Naomi Moran.

Ms Moran acted quickly to generate support from generous donors including philanthropic organisations and non-government organisations, to contribute to the financial goal needed to purchase the building, which is located next to the town levee wall and flood pump station in Lismore.

‘Making those phone calls and sending those emails for help isn’t an easy task – there can be doubts and uncertainty – but we had to do everything we could to ensure the Koori Mail staff had adequate office space to continue full operations and for the Koori Mail to continue being the voice for our mob around the nation.

‘It was important also that this support aligned with the Koori Mail’s foundations as a 100 per cent Aboriginal owned and run organisation,’ Ms Moran said.

The Koori Mail supporting the local community following the 2022 floods. Photo supplied

The power of Indigenous ownership

‘Indigenous ownership – especially Indigenous-owned infrastructure, is so vital to the empowerment of our people. It’s about self-determination, and it’s about the freedoms and rights of our people to make independent decision making. We did it, and now the entire building – which has become such an iconic, culturally safe and welcoming space for everyone these past six months, 100 per cent belongs to an Aboriginal organisation that is governed by five Aboriginal-run organisations throughout the Bundjalung region.”

Those organisations – Bundjalung Tribal Society, Bunjum Corporation, Nungera Cooperative, Buyinbin Corporation and Kurrachee Cooperative – are part of the Koori Mail’s strong history of Indigenous ownership over its three decades as an Aboriginal business.’

Director of Nungera Cooperative and Koori Mail Chairperson Trevor Kapeen, says Indigenous ownership increases the opportunity to continue giving back to our communities.

‘Negotiating the sale, and finally settling the sale was a great moment, filled with pride. The opportunity for Koori Mail to purchase the top half of the building to cement our future in the Lismore area where Koori Mail started, also acknowledges those who were part of the Koori Mail legacy, to acknowledge their hard work was part of this journey to increase our ownership.

‘It is also an opportunity for Koori Mail to look at giving back to the community in the way of other services that would be able to operate from the new building. This is an incredible asset that the owning organisations of the Bundjalung Nation, without hesitancy, agreed to purchase, and now we look forward to the rebuild,’ Mr Kapeen said.

Cleaning up at The Koori Mail after the 2022 floods. Photo supplied

Lend a hand

The Koori Mail is proudly based on the Widjabul Wiabul lands of the Bundjalung nation in Lismore, printing fortnightly to a national readership, and sharing the voices of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. They are calling out for help with the renovations and donations of support. 

If you would like to support the Koori Mail rebuild, please contact General Manager Naomi Moran on 0499 991 625 or email [email protected] or visit: www.gofundme.com/f/koori-mail-rebuild

To subscribe or advertise visit: www.koorimail.com.


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1 COMMENT

  1. Great move, shows the broad community confidence in Lismore’s future.
    [The KM goes all over Australia from our town.]
    Go onwards, K/Mail !!

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