Where are the Aboriginal professional planners? Indigenous Community Planning beyond the advisory committee

Tuesday, 2 July 2019
Greg Kitson

The concept of ‘Country’ is central to Aboriginal (Australian) cultures and is also a key sustainability principle for Aboriginal management of 'Country'. In 1994, the operation of the Australian Native Title (NT) system commenced with a view to securing tenure rights and interest over land and waters for Aboriginal Traditional Owners (TOs). 

However, Aboriginal Peoples who have achieved a NT consent determination over their respective ‘Country’ are faced with further challenges associated with a statutory land use planning system that is not yet equipped to deal with the concept of ‘Country’ and it’s multi-layered relationships with Aboriginal Peoples. The statutory land use planning system also struggles to explicitly acknowledge Aboriginal TOs, including those without NT rights, as key stakeholders in land use planning decisions and further placates Aboriginal traditional knowledge and relationships with ‘Country’ within planning frameworks.

In relation to resident urban and peri-urban Aboriginal Peoples, this presentation summarises the historical deficiencies of the Australian planning system, relevant statistical data, the need for more Aboriginal scholarship in the urban and regional planning discipline and how the NT system and Indigenous Community Planning may assist to unlock future improvements across the four pillars of sustainable development.