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Traditional communities on ASEAN conference agenda

By Katie Weiss

Law lecturer Danial Kelly has spoken at the ASEAN conference in Bali Law lecturer Danial Kelly has spoken at the ASEAN conference in Bali

A Charles Darwin University law lecturer has discussed ways Indonesia can involve its traditional communities in major economic developments.

Danial Kelly recently made a presentation at the conference, “ASEAN’s Traditional Community in a Global World: Facing ASEAN Community 2015”, in Bali.

Conference speakers explored how the economic integration of countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) may impact on their traditional communities.

The conference has come as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) aims to create a single market economy between its member nations, of which Indonesia is part.

“It’s a matter of identity and authority,” Mr Kelly said.

“Indonesian people derive a lot of their identity from their local community and that local community has a large amount of authority.”

He said Indonesia could adopt laws similar to Australia’s Native Title Act to ensure its traditional communities’ land rights were protected in the face of economic development.

“Indonesia already has a type of legal category for recognising traditional community land, but it is often undermined by other laws, such as forestry laws,” Mr Kelly said.

“Sometimes the same piece of land can be subject to two laws. A harmonisation of the law is required with a view to better protection for traditional communities.”

He said Australia could benefit from potential growth of the middle class in ASEAN countries during this anticipated period of economic development.

“We’re at a time where the numbers of Indonesians who are able to pay for Australian goods and services are very significant,” Mr Kelly said.

“With a population of more than 240 million, there’s a very large potential market.”

The seminar was organised in cooperation between Udayana University’s Faculty of Law and Charles Darwin University’s Faculty of Law. Also involved was the University of Malaya’s Center for Indigenous People in the Faculty of Law, the ASEAN Secretariat and the IKAYANA Faculty of Law.