Indigenous and heritage issues
Indigenous Australians' cultural heritage and customary law are deeply embedded in the natural environment, its resources and landscapes. To indigenous people, nature and culture are so intimately interwoven they cannot be separated. Indigenous people have an inherent responsibility to their law, culture and land, and have a right to ensure the continuation of their spiritual beliefs and the well being of their land. They also have responsibilities to ensure that their country is managed for future generations.
Indigenous people associated with the forest regions were involved in the RFA process and strongly stated the cultural heritage importance that the forests, forest sites and forest places have for them. The Agreements include a package of measures to ensure ongoing involvement of Indigenous people in managing and protecting their heritage places. Their continuing involvement in forest management maintains the strength of the agreements.
The Commonwealth and State Governments, through Commonwealth and State legislation including the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), have responsibilities to ensure formal public consultation with Indigenous communities. The consultation process serves to identify Indigenous cultural, historical, social and economic values, and ensure they are taken into account in forest policy.