An Indigenous prospectus for participating in the sustainable development of north Australia: Second Indigenous Experts Forum Report

An Indigenous prospectus for participating in the sustainable development of north Australia: Second Indigenous Experts Forum Report Report

Forum Report

  • Author(s): NAILSMA
  • Published: 2013
  • Publisher: North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA)

Abstract: The Second North Australian Indigenous Experts Forum on Sustainable Economic Development was held in Jabiru within the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park of the Northern Territory, from April 30 to May 2, 2013. About 110 Forum participants considered the challenges, consequences and implications implicit in the current suite of proposals to develop north Australia as part of the growing and critical debate on global food security and in response to the Australian Government’s Asian Century White Paper. The Forum is a historically significant milestone because of the participants’ determination to explore innovative ways for Indigenous interests to successfully engage with governments and industry in northern Australia’s economic future. They identified a critical need to develop a commercial framework that could assist Traditional Owners to attract and engage with investors, development proponents and governments in a way that did not create negative social, cultural or environmental impacts. The existing constructive participation by Indigenous peoples throughout many and varied industry sectors need to be recognised and incorporated into both engagement and development processes at all levels within the national commercial sector. Pathways to navigate across all political jurisdictions of northern Australia must be investigated, as must methods for dealing with international interests to support greater independent participation. The Forum acknowledged the need for constructive, collaborative relationships among all parties responsible for representing Traditional Owner and native title holder interests across northern Australia. The Forum want meaningful transparent measures established to ensure that real benefits accrue from development, and that these benefits change the social circumstances for the wellbeing of their communities and families. The Forum understands that Indigenous interests across northern Australia are extensive and diverse. Decision-making in relation to development proposals affecting the assets they are responsible for, are unequivocally the domain of those particular peoples. The Forum made it clear that cultural considerations and connectivity between land and water are integral to considerations about free, prior and informed consent. The Forum advocated that there should be a leadership group, including the membership of specified women and young leaders, to guide the future relationship and participation in the various industries, building upon connections and protocols that are emerging out of existing engagements. The Forum was clear that proposals for northern development must involve the participation and inclusion of the Traditional Owners who permanently live in north Australia. The Forum was adamant that they are not passive agents in determining the future of northern Australia and called upon governments, industries and others to respect and acknowledge the uniqueness of northern Australia and its peoples.

Cite this document

Suggested Citation
NAILSMA, 2013, An Indigenous prospectus for participating in the sustainable development of north Australia: Second Indigenous Experts Forum Report, Report, viewed 17 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3159.

Endnote Mendeley Zotero Export Google Scholar

Share this page

Search again