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Ground-breaking national strategy for Indigenous land and water unveiled at First Nations summit

Brendan Foster -

One of Australia's biggest First Nations agencies responsible for returning and managing Country has launched a ground-breaking strategy they say will have huge benefits for the Aboriginal economy.

The Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) announced its National Indigenous Land and Sea Strategy (NILSS) 2023-28 at the 2023 Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) Summit in Perth on Tuesday.

ILSC chief executive Joe Morrison, who spoke at the summit, said his group undertook its largest consultation ever and interviewed hundreds of First Nations people across dozens of Indigenous communities to get their input into the strategy.

Mr Morrison said it was important the strategy was shaped by First Nations people.

"At the heart of this strategy are the goals to increase traditional ownership by providing better support for First Nations peoples to manage Country their way, strengthen Indigenous leadership across current and emerging sectors and ultimately, expand and diversify the Indigenous economy," he said.

"Our intention from day one of our community consultation almost 12-months ago was to develop a strategy that is guided by the voices of First Nations peoples around the country.

"Fast forward to today, and we are proud to finally provide a window into the future of the ILSC and explain what it means for our partners."

Under the new NILSS, the ILSC will:

act as a strategic funder and facilitator, supporting Indigenous people to access, use, and Care for Country on their own terms to achieve their aspirations

support Indigenous people to leverage, and continue to grow their assets, rights to land and water gained over the past 60 years of the land rights movement and recognition through native title and other schemes

extend beyond grant-making and enable Indigenous groups to take advantage of opportunities that optimise the use and Care of Country now and into the future

improve services to Indigenous people and continue to return power and control to Indigenous communities by divesting our operating businesses and landholdings.

ILSC chair Ian Hamm said the NILSS would ensure the return of Country offered the social, economic and cultural benefits that rightfully belonged to First Nations people.

"I too am proud to have launched the NILSS today and share the voices of First Nations peoples with the world," he said.

"This is far more than just a document. It redefines the ILSC's connection with the community and our partners, in turn, works to improve their access and management of Country.

"This is the voice of Australia's First Nations peoples and it is their strategy".

The ILSC is planning to develop a Regional Indigenous Land and Sea Strategy (RILSS) by the end of 2023.

The AIATSIS Summit, which runs from June 5 to 9 on Noongar boodja (Country) at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre is co-convened with the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council.

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