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Aboriginal engagement

Published 1 February 2024 Evaluate current arrangements of Aboriginal peoples’ participation in Sea Country management and establish an effective Aboriginal engagement framework.
content image Members of the Gumbaynggirr nation participated in training to become part of a volunteer network to respond to marine wildlife events, such as strandings and injuries to whales, dolphins, sea turtles and seals. Participation of local Aboriginal people in marine wildlife events will ensure responses to marine wildlife events uphold local cultural values and protocols.


Why is this project important?

Aboriginal people have a significant custodian relationship with Sea Country.

They hold unique and complex knowledge of its benefits and values. Aboriginal people also have a deep spiritual connection to the sea. However, Aboriginal people are underrepresented in decision making for Sea Country, which threatens the protection of Aboriginal cultural values of the marine estate.

The Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries recognises the cultural and spiritual importance of Sea Country to Aboriginal people.

We acknowledge that Aboriginal people have been sustainably harvesting from the ocean for thousands of years.

What are we doing?

The development of a state-wide engagement framework, in collaboration with Aboriginal people and partner agencies, will increase Aboriginal people’s participation in decision making and future management of the marine estate.



Local government areas - Statewide

Lead agency

Department of Primary Industries – Fisheries


  • Local Aboriginal communities
  • NSW Aboriginal Land Council
  • NTSCORP Limited (Native Title Service Provider for Aboriginal Traditional Owners in NSW and the ACT)
  • NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (NSW DCCEEW)

  • Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure

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