Issue 10
Monday, 03 December 2018
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Co-editor Dr Karmaljit Sangha and Professor Jeremy Russell-Smith say there is an urgent need for a policy-based conversation about sustainable land development in Northern Australia
Co-editor Dr Karmaljit Sangha and Professor Jeremy Russell-Smith say there is an urgent need for a policy-based conversation about sustainable land development in Northern Australia

New book tackles equity, access in land development

By Andrew Hall

A recently published book that addresses Indigenous equity and access in Northern Australian land sector development for commercial purposes provides a blueprint for policy-making, according to lead editor Professor Jeremy Russell-Smith.

Professor Russell-Smith said “Sustainable Land Sector Development in Northern Australia: Indigenous rights, aspirations, and cultural responsibilities” was a project sparked, partly, as a response to the former Abbott Coalition government’s “Our North, Our Future: White Paper on Developing Northern Australia”, which was published in June 2015.

“It was our concern that the White Paper did not really address the fundamental issues facing Aboriginal people living on country who own the land asset,” Professor Russell-Smith said.

“We saw a lot of potential conflict between the White Paper’s policy prescriptions and lack of recognition of the necessity for inclusion, and in fact diminution of Indigenous title rights and economic interests in northern development.”

Professor Russell-Smith said that economic emphasis on the pastoral industry above the 26th parallel ignored the opportunity to explore a greater diversification of industries in the region that could offer sustainable economic outcomes.

“There is an urgent need to have a serious and sincere policy-based conversation that involves all stakeholders in the region, with an emphasis on what Indigenous land owners envision in order that their communities are able to achieve economic growth and sustainability,” he said.

“Sustainable Land Sector Development” was a CDU-led project in cooperation with the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance and the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre. It is published by CRC Press.