To complement the essays, commentaries, reviews, and photographic essay in this issue, we asked a group of leading environmentalists, scientists, commentators, and writers what they regard as the most urgent action needed for environmental reform.
There is an urgent need for widespread recognition of the interrelationship between the protection of cultural heritage and the promotion of native title holders’ role in environmental protection. Native title holders’ role as custodians of traditional lands includes the responsibility for environmental protection of those lands. Native title holders consistently encounter opposition from the private sector and from government.
Promotion of the true scope of custodianship can be achieved in a variety of ways, including through the establishment of effective partnerships between government agencies and native title holders in the regulation of environmental protection. That regulation should make both public and private sector entities accountable not only to government agencies for environmental protection but also to native title holders. There should be requirements by which assessments of the environmental impact of development proposals include a meaningful consideration of Aboriginal social and cultural impacts and impose more stringent measures to avoid, mitigate and manage environmental, social, and cultural issues in relation to development.
(CEO, KRED Enterprises – Ambooriny Burru Charitable Foundation)