Traditional Owners and ‘Our North, Our Future: Developing Northern Australia’

Monday, 5 June 2017
Joann Schmider
Fiona Jose
Prof Allan Dale

In 2017, the Developing Northern Australia Conference is being held 19 and 20 June in Cairns. Topics include land and water, food and agribusiness, forestry, resources and energy, tourism and hospitality, international education, healthcare and medical research, infrastructure, workforce opportunities, developing strategic links as the Gateway to Asia, and……. Indigenous-led northern development. 

The “Our North, Our Future: Developing Northern Australia” White Paper was launched in January 2016. 

One year ago, at the Darwin Northern Australia conference, news reported the Government push is “practically silent” on economic activities where Indigenous people are leading. The $5bn Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) was launched in July 2016, and is developing an Indigenous Engagement Strategy. 

While the focus seems to be on Traditional Owners being “front and centre” of an inclusive northern Australia development future, the newsreporting also mentioned appropriately recognising Traditional Owners as major land holders across the north.

This workshop comprises two parts: an overview of the Developing Northern Australia measures, and Indigenous positions – who’s involved and what the approaches are. For instance, is there north Queensland Traditional Owners’ position/s to be advocated? What about coordinated views across the Indigenous north?