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First Peoples

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this resource may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.

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The Northern Australia Indigenous Development Accord is an intergovernmental agreement focused on progressing Indigenous economic development in northern Australia. Indigenous participation is critical to increasing productivity, encouraging investment and realising the full potential of the North, and the Accord lays out a framework and implementation plan for achieving this.

This Intergovernmental Agreement – Northern Australia Indigenous Development Accord (“the Accord”) has been developed to recognise the work of the Indigenous Reference Group (IRG) to the Ministerial Forum on Northern Development (MFND) in progressing Indigenous economic development in northern Australia. The Accord provides a framework for the Parties to work together and individually to advance Indigenous economic development in northern Australia. The Implementation Plan for the recommendations of the IRG, set out at Schedule A, guides the actions that the Commonwealth and the States and Territory will take to achieve this.

The Northern Australia Strategic Partnership (NASP) comprising the Prime Minister and the Premiers of Queensland and Western Australia and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory provides high-level leadership on the development of northern Australia.

Key Findings:

  • Through the implementation of this Accord, the Parties, with the support and collaboration of Indigenous stakeholders, aim to unlock and maximise the economic potential of Indigenous businesses, individuals and communities in northern Australia; and mainstream the consideration of Indigenous interests in the development and delivery of government policy and programs.
  • The Parties, with the input and collaboration of Indigenous stakeholders, agree to undertake decisive actions that contribute to creating jobs, fostering labour participation, entrepreneurship and business acumen for Indigenous Australians; establishing knowledge management systems and producing research and development to support Indigenous commercial end-users; attracting infrastructure investment to support Indigenous economic development; facilitating access to capital and domestic and international markets for Indigenous businesses; activating the economic value of land, water, sea and cultural resource rights; and creating institutional arrangements that work to activate, accelerate and optimise Indigenous economic development across northern Australia.
  • There will be expanded fee-for-service opportunities for Indigenous ranger groups across the north, with the intention to increase opportunities for Indigenous ranger groups to deliver services for governments and the private and research sector for a fee, with at least one new fee-for service opportunity realised in each jurisdiction by June 2020.
  • The Accord will be reviewed every three years to assess progress against the agreed objectives, and determine whether more ambitious objectives can be set. Reviews are to be finalised and published by 30 June of the third year, with the first review to be completed by 30 June 2022.

Recognising the need for focused determination from all governments, the NASP members will ensure that implementation of this Accord is a whole-of-government effort and is coordinated across portfolios with the support of First Ministers’ departments. 

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