Indigenous people core to success in northern development push April 2014
Policies for northern development must account for the realities of the extensive marginally productive lands of the north found outside of the major urban centres, according to NAILSMA’s recent submission to the Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia.
Key to this is full inclusion of the Indigenous demographic that comprises a high proportion of this region’s population.
‘NAILSMA has worked tirelessly for many years to bring together Indigenous people from across the north to present coordinated, high-level input to Government’, said Peter Yu, Chairman of NAILSMA’s Board. ‘But there is still little indication that these perspectives are having any effect on policies for northern development’.
‘There is a clear need for economic diversification in the north’, he explained. ‘A majority of rural and remote Indigenous people still have few opportunities outside of mining and pastoralism, and irrigated agriculture shows no prospect of bettering this situation’.
‘Indigenous people recognise that enterprise is a fundamental pillar to achieving prosperity in our communities’, Mr Yu said. ‘A reimagined approach to sustainable development in the north, that recognises Indigenous people as central to achieving lasting development, will benefit the entire northern community’.
NAILSMA’s submission outlines a strategic plan for the full participation of Indigenous people across all stages of northern development planning and implementation, with measures ranging from the continuation of the successful Indigenous Experts Forum, through to the development of an Indigenous Land Use Planning Program and an associated Indigenous Economic Participation Fund.
NAILSMA has also contributed to a joint submission with the Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research that outlines the need for innovative land management solutions, including economic diversification opportunities on pastoral leases, and landscape-scale carbon sequestration and savanna burning projects