Economic Development and Employment

Indigenous Australians are responsible for managing well over 45% of land in northern Australia, but have interests over the entire region. We also make up a significant and rapidly growing proportion of the population. Consequently, land and sea management issues are of paramount concern for many Indigenous people in these regions.

In the past and through to the present, Indigenous people have drawn on a sophisticated and complex understanding between people, the spiritual and cultural, and the environment, in order to successfully manage their resources.

Our experience over the past decade tells us that today Indigenous individuals and communities across north Australia stand at a crossroads. Having won back a substantial part of the Indigenous estate, a second struggle now ensues: a quest to find appropriate support for Indigenous cultural and natural resource management with a view to securing long term social, environmental and economic resilience and prosperity.’

Joe Morrison, CEO Northern Land Council

Sometimes referred to as Traditional Knowledge, this understanding is now, in many cases, seriously threatened. There are many instances where researchers and policy makers disregard or undervalue the contributions Indigenous Knowledge has made and continues to make to the maintenance of globally significant natural assets such as tropical rivers, the marine environment, and management of biodiversity. 

Indigenous people have often been excluded from decision making processes that directly impact on their lives and livelihoods, and long term investment in Indigenous Knowledge support programs has been hard to find. It is fundamentally important to the nation to retain and conserve this long built knowledge base that once lost, is gone forever.

The philosophy of ‘Looking after Our Country... Our Way’ underpins all practical programs run by the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA). Our work builds partnerships that deliver culturally appropriate and effective programs based on a combination of Indigenous Knowledge and contemporary science.