In 2005, a national debate about wealth creation on communally owned Indigenous land gathered a good deal of momentum. There had perhaps been more heat than light shed on the subject of economic development on Indigenous land held under the Commonwealth Native Title Act and State Land Rights Acts.
Rather than thoroughly investigate the complex issue of promoting sustainable economic development on Indigenous land, this paper tracks the recent debate in order to identify a number of the questions bound up in this topic – questions which touch on issues of social organisation and identity, not just economics and politics. After examining how the current debate began, the paper looks at arguments put forward by a number of prominent, largely Indigenous, commentators. It attempts to disentangle a number of key questions that can get conflated in sometimes self-interested and ideologically driven discussion of wealth creation on Indigenous land.