Sea Country is not just a resource, it is a cultural place providing sustenance for plants, animals, people and culture.
“Our songlines connect the heart of Australia to the coasts as they once were, now far out at sea. Our islands are connected through dreaming to the mainland and to each other. We understand Sea Country and terrestrial Country as one. One entity that includes people, plants and animals.”
Australia’s Traditional Owners with responsibility for Sea Country have come together to speak with one voice. The formation of the Sea Country Alliance, following a national meeting of Traditional Owners in November 2023, represents a step forward in realising our rights offshore.
All coastal state and territories of Australia are represented on the 55 member Alliance, ensuring that the complexity of our diverse seas, oceans and coastal areas is recognised. The Alliance has 45 Traditional Owner member corporations with statutory recognised responsibilities for Sea Country and 10 associate members who also assume offshore responsibilities.
The significance of the Alliance and the responsibilities of its represented members is enormous.
“Our connection to Sea Country is as important as to land and yet, the protections that recognise our rights aren’t the same. For over 65,000 years, Traditional Owners have cared for Sea Country, ensuring that the ecosystems thrived, and cultural connections remained strong. Australia’s bountiful oceans, with diverse species of animals and plants, were sustainably managed by our people for far, far longer than they have been by managed by others.”
Recent decisions in the Federal Court and increasing pressure on Sea Country resources, be they oil, gas or wind; have created an environment of uncertainty. Our work now, as an alliance of Sea Country rightsholders, is to ensure that we are at the forefront of decision making about our Country. We have started talking to government, international First nations communities, industry and community to chart a reasonable way forward.
“As Traditional Owners, our voices must be heard and our rights respected. Australia must not just meet but exceed international best practice in approaching Sea Country as a holistic environment that includes cultural significance, plants and animals and minerals.”
If you’re interest in joining the Alliance and fulfil Membership or Associate Membership requirements, please email email@example.com
Read our Governance Charter
Meet our Members