Futures Roundtable 2014

Kimberley to Cape, working with Regional Development Australia NT, Minerals Council of Australia NT,  Australian Conservation Foundation, Charles Darwin University, Territory NRM, and Northern Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance and  hosted a two day Roundtable in Darwin on May 7 & 8, focusing on Northern Australian land and sea futures.

logos of supporters

The event was attended by more than 50 different organisations representing agricultural, tourism, finance, pastoral, scientific, NRM, mining, oil/gas, conservation and government sectors. Harvey Locke, a global leader in landscape scale initiatives  traveled from Canada for the event, and joined other speakers Joe Morrison (Northern Land Council), Kevin Mulvahil (AACo), Drew Wagner (Minerals Council), Kate Andrews (NRM), John Woinarski (Consultant) and Michael Douglas (CDU). Andrew Campbell (CDU) chaired the first session.

A two page summary of the messages from the event is here :Northern Australian Futures Roundtable Overview of Messages FINAL

Participants described the Roundtable as “energising”, “collaborative” and “inspiring”. with 70% of feedback forms rating the event as “very good”, and 28% as “good”.

Reflection Wordcloud

Key messages

  1. All sectors represented have a strong interest in working together to support development and conservation across Northern Australia that maintains natural and cultural values and strengthens communities. There is a desire to share ideas and opportunities across sectors and to continue conversations and collaborations to achieve an economically resilient and environmentally sustainable future for the North.
  2. Key elements of a successful future for Northern Australia include:
  • A long term shared vision for the future, supported by a long term planning approach and collaborative decision-making
  • An economy that is diverse, resilient, environmentally sustainable, equitable and based on world-leading industry practices
  • Greater recognition of, respect for, and collaboration with, Indigenous people as land holders/managers
  • Acknowledgement that cultural, social, environmental and economic outcomes are interrelated rather than mutually exclusive, and that healthy country helps ensure healthy people.
  1. Common ground among sectors can be represented by the following guiding principles:

o   A resilient, diverse and sustainable economy for Northern Australia is necessary to underpin the wellbeing of its communities, the long-term management of its resources and its contribution to society

o   Northern Australia’s unique, intact and globally-significant natural and cultural values must be recognised, utilised and safeguarded as central to its future

o   Indigenous interests must be recognised, and northern development and socio-economic development need to be pursued together, since neither is sustainable, nor equitable, without the other

o   Development options must involve genuine collaboration with local communities and be compatible with local conditions.

4. Key pathways to help achieve a successful future include:

  • Establish a shared policy framework for large developments to ensure that enduring values are maintained
  • Embed this in a strategic landuse planning process for development/conservation/land management
  • Progress a landscape scale connectivity initiative across Northern Australia
  • Build respectful relationships with Indigenous people by recognising their rights, land ownership, needs and aspirations via for example cultural enterprise economies and/or the Indigenous ‘prospectus’ proposal
  • Build on development that has worked in existing sectors, and focus on multiple benefits and high value products with low environmental footprint
  • Recognise that safeguarding catchment-marine connections is critical for successful development
  • Market what’s unique about the north and implement mechanisms to maintain these attributes.


Media coverage included ABC NewsCountryHour,  Radio National Breakfast and the 7.30 Report 

Further background

Northern Australian Futures ROUNDTABLE May 7&8

Northern Australian Roundtable 2014 Program

Roundtable aims:

  • Foster collaboration among organisations to support development benefiting Northern Australia’s diverse communities and its globally significant natural and cultural values
  • Find common ground around an economically resilient and environmentally sustainable future whilst recognising regional diversity and needs
  • Identify opportunities and ideas for the future drawing from local and international examples
  • Highlight key messages for development from science, traditional and land-manager knowledge
  • Build on the work of the North Australian Indigenous Experts Forum on Economic Development and other key Indigenous initiatives
  • Identify key actions that will assist in achieving this future
  • Amplify the voices of north Australians
  • Inform the Australian Government’s white paper processes and other government policy
  • Identify mechanisms and pathways for ongoing collaboration and alignment
  • Provide strong and collaborative input to follow-up forums and processes


Cape York Appropriate Economies Roundtable

Kimberley Appropriate Economies Roundtable

Please contact Clare Taylor for more information.