The National Sea Country Alliance Summit was held at the Darwin Convention Centre in the Northern Territory of Australia over the 6th and 7th of November 2023.
This landmark meeting of all representative Traditional Owner groups with responsibility for Sea Country, was convened to discuss how to exercise our rights and uphold our responsibilities for Sea Country in the face of increased offshore energy proposals.
Why was the Summit called?
The Summit was convened to address the significance of recognising Traditional Owners’ rights and responsibilities in Sea Country, particularly in areas distant from the coastline.
A recent landmark decision by the Full Federal Court regarding Santos’ offshore petroleum activities in the Timor Sea had prompted the offshore energy industry to reconsider its interactions with Traditional Owners. This presents both opportunities and challenges.
The National Native Title Council and other Traditional Owner organisations engaged with government and industry, leading to the organisation of the Summit as a platform for Traditional Owners to coordinate their response.
The Summit involved approximately 120 Traditional Owners and other representatives from Traditional Owner Representative Institutions (TORIs) from around Australia with responsibility for Sea Country. Over eighty TORIs were represented.
The Summit also involved approximately thirty representatives of various government agencies, industry bodies and industry itself. These representatives only participated in the morning of Day One of the Summit (6 November).
What was discussed?
The Summit proceedings can be broadly divided into five sections:
- Opening and industry and regulator contribution
- Discussion of consultation and agreement making process
- Discussion of the content of agreements
- Discussion of next steps and implementation mechanisms
- Closing, thanks and final media.