The First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance has welcomed today’s release of the State Of The Environment Report and looks forward to working with the Government to ensure First Nations Peoples have a greater say in defining and protecting cultural heritage. The Alliance, which represents Aboriginal Land Councils, Native Title Representative Bodies and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Organisations, was created following the destruction of the 46,000 year-old heritage site Juukan Gorge by Rio Tinto in May 2020. In releasing the report, Minister for Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek recommitted Labor to standalone laws for cultural heritage protection and a greater say for First Nations peoples in looking after country. Kado Muir, Ngalia Cultural and Community Leader and Co-Chair of the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance said it was important that the report contained a separate Indigenous Chapter with an Indigenous voice, informed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consultations meetings. “What is clear from the report is that our natural environment in decline and Aboriginal cultural heritage remains under significant threat,” said Mr Muir, who is also Chair of National Native Title Council. “We are witnessing a massive decline in species and many of these are culturally and spiritually significant to First Nation people. We, the First Nations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples are the frontline to restoring the spiritual, cultural and ecological integrity to our nation as a whole. The fact is we are witnessing a massive decline in species and a lot of these species are culturally and spiritually significant to First Nation people,” continues Mr Muir. “Our First Nations’ on Country Aboriginal ranger programs and management strategies look after some of the last intact ecosystems in Australia. This report demonstrates the critical importance of the First Nation estate in biodiversity protection and maintenance and reinforces the need for greater investment to support our caring for Country. We expect to play a greater role in the protection of eco systems on our own terms.” The Hon Tanya Plibersek’s commitment to developing standalone heritage legislation in partnership with the Alliance is welcomed, and we look forward to meeting with the Minister to agree a path to reform. “The need for Indigenous knowledge on environmental and cultural heritage issues has been openly discussed by the Hon Tanya Plibersek, and we are here to work in partnership with the government on how to achieve meaningful reforms,” says Councillor Anne Dennis a Gamilaraay woman and Co-Chair of First Nations Cultural Heritage Protection Alliance. “New laws are needed to stop incremental destruction of First Nations cultural resources. We need to ensure the destruction that happened at Juukan Gorge, and that continues daily across Australia, never happens again. First Nations rights to self-determination as outlined in the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples must be upheld.” End For all media requests, please contact Sarah Easson, Media Consultant on M: 0419 229 642 or E:

Article by Jarrod Cross for the National Indigenous Times

The Federal Government’s National Indigenous Australians Agency and land rights peak body the National Native Title Council hope cooperation of tradition and science continues to empower Indigenous communities after the recent end of a long-running project.

In 2017 national science agency the CSIRO partnered with First Nations stakeholders to develop projects for developing business opportunities in northern Australia.

In the five years since, tourism, pastoralism and environmental management have been key areas of focus for collaboration between First Nations organisations, research institutions and industry.

NNTC chief executive and Gundjitmara Djabwurrung man Jamie Lowe said the partnership was grounded in collaborations in North Queensland and Western Australia and had built a foundation of case studies; developing “how to” information to support First Nation on-country development elsewhere.

At Peedamulla, in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, the local Jundaru and Ashburton Aboriginal Corporations will take case studies into future environment management efforts.

Jundaru Aboriginal Council senior custodian Trevor Parker said the project added to existing pastoral knowledge for sustainability and future business opportunity.

“Economic development is vital to our future” he said.

“It has helped us identify and test new development options on our pastoral lease.”

CSIRO’s Taryn Kong said the shared expertise and strategic consultancy helped to address wetland erosion on Peedamulla’s pastoral operations.

For the Ewanian Aboriginal Corporation in northern Queensland, the collaboration culminated in the successful Taraloo Hot Springs development launched in 2021.

The nearby Western Yalanki Aboriginal Corporation similarly engaged with the CSIRO to map tourism potential in the area.

The CSIRO wrapped the project up earlier this year, with a full report on the partnership and on-Country development published last month.

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