Box HER33 Indigenous heritage support through white paper on developing northern Australia

Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia, released by the Australian Government in 2015, explicitly recognises the importance of Indigenous cultural knowledge and commits to a range of Indigenous cultural heritage programs:

The application of traditional Indigenous cultural knowledge to improve environmental understanding, inform ecological management and create new technologies, medical treatments and industries has the potential to strengthen the economic future of northern Australia. (Australian Government 2015b:135)

The white paper expresses strong continuing support for Indigenous Protected Areas, additional funding for Indigenous ranger programs, and joint management of national parks and other reserves. These initiatives directly support cultural heritage by enabling Indigenous people to connect with Country in a manner that is respectful of cultural practice while undertaking well-resourced land management activities such as savanna burning, pest and weed management, biosecurity, and tourism (Campbell 2015).

The white paper also raises the prospect of a system to accredit state and territory Indigenous heritage protection regimes, where they meet Australian Government requirements and standards, thereby reducing duplication, as the Productivity Commission recommended in 2013 (Productivity Commission 2013).

Mackay R (2016). Heritage: Box HER33 Indigenous heritage support through white paper on developing northern Australia. In: Australia state of the environment 2016, Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy, Canberra,, DOI 10.4226/94/58b658bbe13a0