Marking the fifth engaging seminar in the First Nations Portfolio’s six-part Murru waaruu (On Track) Economic Development Series was the pivotal event ‘Niiringal (the day after) Implementation of Uluru Part 3: Establishing the right economic development framework’.

Honouring the legacy from the 2022 Marramarra murru (Creating Pathways) Economic Development Wealth Forum and Symposium, this seminar series united visionary practitioners and scholars with a shared goal: to develop the components of a policy framework that will facilitate self-determined economic empowerment of First Nations Australians.

Continuing the momentum from the success of previous seminars, delegates convened once more in Canberra for Seminar Five. On the evening of Tuesday, 3 October, a dinner function was held at the Australian Academy of Science, followed by a series of daytime sessions on Wednesday, 4 October at the Australian National University.

Led by Professor Peter Yu AM (Vice President First Nations) and fellow prominent First Nations leaders, this event was a chance to connect with decision makers, influencers, entrepreneurs, policymakers, practitioners, and allies.

Through an introductory plenary session, keynote addresses and facilitated themed mini-workshop discussions, the seminar identified and prioritised reforms that are necessary across legislation, policy settings and programmes to best support and foster First Nations economic self-determination.

The existing mainstream-oriented training-education-employment-procurement policy framework is not suited to supporting the self-determination platform that will come from treaties and settlement. The path forward requires constitutional reform and an overhaul of the extensive legislative landscape that currently shapes the First Nations economy. Federal and jurisdictional macro-economic policy must be reimagined to align with collective aspirations. Understanding what is required will form the backbone of recommendations for a First Nations policy framework.

Listed below are the seminar session topics, keynote speakers and discussion panel members:

Keynote Address – Australia’s Opportunities in International First Nations Trade: Justin Mohamed, Ambassador for First Nations People, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Discussion Panel

  • Moderator– Kate Healy (PwC Indigenous Consulting)
  • Professor Peter Yu (Vice President First Nations, First Nations Portfolio, ANU)
  • Leah Armstrong (Chair, First Australians Capital)
  • Jamie Lowe (CEO, National Native Title Council)
  • Joe Morrison (Group CEO, Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation)

Seminar sessions will examine areas including:

  • Core legislative reform: implementation of UNDRIP and National treaty and settlement framework
  • Reforming land rights
  • Reforming water rights
  • Reforming sea country rights
  • Reforming cultural and intellectual property rights
  • Investing financial assets in economic self-determination

The active participation in this seminar by all attendees holds the potential to shape history. The insights drawn from Murru waaruu Seminar Five will be distilled into an Issues Paper, laying the groundwork for a comprehensive Policy Position Paper to be unveiled at the series’ conclusion. The Policy Position Paper will chart Australia’s First Nations economic policy and institutional framework with a view to achieving sustained and durable economic self-determination for future generations.