North Australian Indigenous Experts Forum on Sustainable Economic Development

North Australian Indigenous Experts Forum on Sustainable Economic Development Report

  • Author(s): NAILSMA
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd. (NAILSMA)

Abstract: Australia has yet to come to terms with a new northern reality: in which Indigenous people are major landholders, make up most of the population outside larger centres, have long standing connections, strong views and well considered plans for appropriate northern development. Indigenous futures are inextricably linked to sustainable northern development. So Indigenous people must sit at the centre of decision-making structures and processes. Indigenous interests and the interests of the wider Australian society are not inherently in conflict. But achieving more benefits than costs from northern development for the north's Indigenous people will not happen by default. Better Indigenous futures will require comprehensive and considered responses to the principal drivers of change and the opportunities and challenges they create. The Indigenous Experts Panel (IEP) commissioned this paper to stimulate and focus discussion at the first North Australian Indigenous Experts Forum (NAIEF) to be held at the Mary River from 19-21 June 2012. The paper is based on results of preliminary meetings of the IEP and consultations with the Northern Australia Ministerial Forum (NAMF). It also builds on the work of the 2009 Indigenous Experts Water Futures Forum who set down the Mary River Principles for resource management, and the recent National Indigenous Sea Country Workshop which reiterated those principles and their application to management of marine resources. A key component of those principles is to ensure that the Indigenous owners of northern Australia have access to the resources needed to participate equitably in the "development of policies, setting of allocations and management of regulatory schemes".

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NAILSMA, 2012, North Australian Indigenous Experts Forum on Sustainable Economic Development, Report, viewed 10 August 2022,

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