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AIATSIS Submission - Inquiry into the Opportunities and Challenges of Engagement with Traditional Owners in the Economic Development of Northern Australia

Publication date
Dr Lisa Strelein
Cedric Hassing
Luke Smyth
Clare Barcham

In this submission AIATSIS provides the following key recommendations:

  • Retaining connection to country is critical to the identity and cultural continuity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies and as a consequence, for the wellbeing and self-determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Native title should be reformed to strengthen rights and interests to ensure secure and certain property rights which allow native title holders to act with confidence and with sufficient resourcing provided to native title organisations. Rights and interests in relation to commercial use and water resources must be recognised to allow native title holders to effectively leverage and manage their property rights.
  • The involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is necessary for the successful design of policy and programs. The value of Indigenous knowledge must be recognised and all strategies for economic development opportunities and capacity building must start by properly engaging with the aspirations of traditional owners.
  • Governments should offer localised forms of assistance to businesses in the form of expert advice, concessional loans, and training options.