The Western Australian government seeks to implement actions that will support Aboriginal economic development and greater Aboriginal involvement in the wild sandalwood industry. These actions are part of a wider state government commitment to working with Aboriginal people for better social, economic, health and cultural outcomes.
For some Aboriginal communities, and in particular those from the Central Deserts region, the local economic and social situation is dire. The desert sandalwood industry founders and Aboriginal leaders and Elders are calling for an industry overhaul and a bold set of clear recommendations around access to, and sustainable harvesting and management of, the wild sandalwood resource.
- A high priority is the previously mentioned Aboriginal economic development, equity and employment imperatives, through the generation of direct returns to Aboriginal communities.
- The government needs to develop materials and tools to support the education of Aboriginal communities in the sandalwood zone on the opportunities to participate in the sandalwood industry and how Aboriginal people can build capacity to do so.
- The changing legal landscape in terms of precedents for commercial rights extending from the Native Title Act is having a major influence on the wild harvest sandalwood sector, the Aboriginal native title claimants and holders have a right to be consulted and to grant approval to access resources.
- Aboriginal communities will need significant capacity building to be able to participate effectively in the sustainable management of wild sandalwood and the sandalwood industry sector.