The practice of managing and caring for culture is a key responsibility of First Nations cultural practice. It includes caring for Country, protecting sacred sites and rock art sites, caring for plants and animals, caring for objects, upholding stories and passing on knowledge. There are many ancient places in our Country – its landscapes and waterscapes. There are also places of First Nations cultural significance in urban areas including missions, and protest sites. Many of these places carry connected stories, song lines and other aspects of intangible heritage. First Nations cultures are an integral part of the rich tapestry of Australia’s history and identity. They must not only be protected but valued and celebrated. All Australians – businesses and investors, governments, and individuals – share the responsibility of caring for the rich and diverse cultural heritage in our country. The Dhawura Ngilan Business and Investor Guide is the first iteration of the only First Nations-led guidance document designed to support businesses and investors to protect Indigenous cultural heritage in our region. This Guide operationalises the Dhawura Ngilan Principles for Businesses and Investors and should be read together with that document (Dhawura Ngilan Principles). It has been developed at a time when businesses and investors are seeking to learn, and put into practice, actions and policies that contribute to the protection of First Nations cultural heritage, led by First Nations views. This is a nascent area, both in terms of knowledge and the relationships, resources and supporting infrastructure needed to put into practice the full vision of the Dhawura Ngilan Business and Investor Initiative – that is, that Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) truly becomes “business-as-usual”. I. The Dhawura Ngilan Vision: Dhawura Ngilan (Remembering Country): A vision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage in Australia (Dhawura Ngilan or the Vision) embodies the long-held aspirations of First Nations peoples for their heritage. It is endorsed by the Heritage Chairs of Australia and New Zealand, following extensive consultations with First Nations stakeholders and peak representative bodies, advisory councils, and committees. The Vision aims to inform policy, underpin legislative change and inspire action to protect and conserve Indigenous Cultural Heritage (ICH). The Dhawura Ngilan Vision has four vision statements: 1) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the Custodians of their heritage. It is protected and celebrated for its intrinsic worth, cultural benefits and the wellbeing of current and future generations of Australians. 2) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage is acknowledged and valued as central to Australia’s national heritage. 3) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage is managed consistently across jurisdictions according to community ownership in a way that unites, connects and aligns practice. 4) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage is recognised for its global significance. Central to achieving these aims is ensuring that the principles set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) are acknowledged, respected and followed. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct clarify the responsibility of businesses and investors to respect all internationally recognised human rights. This includes human rights set out under the International Bill of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization Core Conventions and other human rights instruments protecting certain groups and individuals such as the UNDRIP. The Dhawura Ngilan Vision supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to share the stories they want to tell, in ways they want to tell them, and for any decisions which affect them to be made only with their FPIC. A new standard of best practice: ” …there are serious deficiencies across Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage legislative framework, in all state and territories and the Commonwealth.” ICH in Australia is governed under a complex web of national and state and territory laws. Current laws and policies in Australia are, for the most part, unfit for the purpose of protecting and conserving ICH. This is true for several reasons: • Frameworks often focus more on applications and consent to destroy heritage, rather than actively protecting cultural heritage; • Laws empower ministers and government officials as the decision-makers, requiring little to no consultation with First Nations custodians of cultural heritage; • Laws focus predominantly on physical aspects of heritage (sites, objects and ancestral remains) and fail to recognise and protect intangible heritage; • State and territory laws offer varying and limited levels of protection across different jurisdictions; • Federal protections are only accessible once state and territory legislative mechanisms have been exhausted, which is often too late. Due to the deficiencies in these laws, it is incumbent on businesses and investors to reach beyond legislative standards and implement leading practice for cultural heritage as defined by First Nations peoples. The responsibility of businesses and investors to respect human rights exists independently of state laws and protection through the UNGPs and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct. Businesses that have joined the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) have also committed to supporting and respecting the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and making sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses, through a commitment to the UNGC Ten Principles. The Dhawura Ngilan Vision sets out a series of Best Practice Standards in Indigenous Cultural Heritage management and legislation. “ The objective of the Standards is to achieve the aspirations identified above; that is to facilitate ICH Legislation and policy across the country that is consistently of the highest standards.” These Standards provide an opportunity for jurisdictions to collectively work with First Nations peoples to identify, protect, conserve, present and transmit for future generations the unique heritage of Australia.

A Guide for Businesses and Investors: Dhawura Ngilan (Remembering Country): A Vision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage

Resource Key: 5AUFIFM7

Document Type: Report

Creator:

Author:

  • Dhawura Ngilan Business and Investor Initiative

Creators Name: {mb_resource_zotero_creatorsname}

Place: Canberra, Australia

Institution: Dhawura Ngilan Business and Investor Initiative

Date: 2024

Language: en

The practice of managing and caring for culture is a key responsibility of First Nations cultural practice. It includes caring for Country, protecting sacred sites and rock art sites, caring for plants and animals, caring for objects, upholding stories and passing on knowledge. There are many ancient places in our Country – its landscapes and waterscapes. There are also places of First Nations cultural significance in urban areas including missions, and protest sites. Many of these places carry connected stories, song lines and other aspects of intangible heritage. First Nations cultures are an integral part of the rich tapestry of Australia’s history and identity. They must not only be protected but valued and celebrated. All Australians – businesses and investors, governments, and individuals – share the responsibility of caring for the rich and diverse cultural heritage in our country. The Dhawura Ngilan Business and Investor Guide is the first iteration of the only First Nations-led guidance document designed to support businesses and investors to protect Indigenous cultural heritage in our region. This Guide operationalises the Dhawura Ngilan Principles for Businesses and Investors and should be read together with that document (Dhawura Ngilan Principles). It has been developed at a time when businesses and investors are seeking to learn, and put into practice, actions and policies that contribute to the protection of First Nations cultural heritage, led by First Nations views. This is a nascent area, both in terms of knowledge and the relationships, resources and supporting infrastructure needed to put into practice the full vision of the Dhawura Ngilan Business and Investor Initiative – that is, that Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) truly becomes “business-as-usual”. I. The Dhawura Ngilan Vision: Dhawura Ngilan (Remembering Country): A vision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage in Australia (Dhawura Ngilan or the Vision) embodies the long-held aspirations of First Nations peoples for their heritage. It is endorsed by the Heritage Chairs of Australia and New Zealand, following extensive consultations with First Nations stakeholders and peak representative bodies, advisory councils, and committees. The Vision aims to inform policy, underpin legislative change and inspire action to protect and conserve Indigenous Cultural Heritage (ICH). The Dhawura Ngilan Vision has four vision statements: 1) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the Custodians of their heritage. It is protected and celebrated for its intrinsic worth, cultural benefits and the wellbeing of current and future generations of Australians. 2) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage is acknowledged and valued as central to Australia’s national heritage. 3) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage is managed consistently across jurisdictions according to community ownership in a way that unites, connects and aligns practice. 4) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage is recognised for its global significance. Central to achieving these aims is ensuring that the principles set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) are acknowledged, respected and followed. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct clarify the responsibility of businesses and investors to respect all internationally recognised human rights. This includes human rights set out under the International Bill of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization Core Conventions and other human rights instruments protecting certain groups and individuals such as the UNDRIP. The Dhawura Ngilan Vision supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to share the stories they want to tell, in ways they want to tell them, and for any decisions which affect them to be made only with their FPIC. A new standard of best practice: ” …there are serious deficiencies across Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage legislative framework, in all state and territories and the Commonwealth.” ICH in Australia is governed under a complex web of national and state and territory laws. Current laws and policies in Australia are, for the most part, unfit for the purpose of protecting and conserving ICH. This is true for several reasons: • Frameworks often focus more on applications and consent to destroy heritage, rather than actively protecting cultural heritage; • Laws empower ministers and government officials as the decision-makers, requiring little to no consultation with First Nations custodians of cultural heritage; • Laws focus predominantly on physical aspects of heritage (sites, objects and ancestral remains) and fail to recognise and protect intangible heritage; • State and territory laws offer varying and limited levels of protection across different jurisdictions; • Federal protections are only accessible once state and territory legislative mechanisms have been exhausted, which is often too late. Due to the deficiencies in these laws, it is incumbent on businesses and investors to reach beyond legislative standards and implement leading practice for cultural heritage as defined by First Nations peoples. The responsibility of businesses and investors to respect human rights exists independently of state laws and protection through the UNGPs and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct. Businesses that have joined the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) have also committed to supporting and respecting the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and making sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses, through a commitment to the UNGC Ten Principles. The Dhawura Ngilan Vision sets out a series of Best Practice Standards in Indigenous Cultural Heritage management and legislation. “ The objective of the Standards is to achieve the aspirations identified above; that is to facilitate ICH Legislation and policy across the country that is consistently of the highest standards.” These Standards provide an opportunity for jurisdictions to collectively work with First Nations peoples to identify, protect, conserve, present and transmit for future generations the unique heritage of Australia.

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