National Conference on Reconciliation, Multiculturalism,Immigration and Human Rights

Mick Leon
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Officer, Worimi Aboriginal Nation

Indigenous Fishing NSW

The NSW Government through the Department of Fisheries NSW are preparing to implement certain policies on recreational fishing.
The Dept of Fisheries NSW have recognised that they must have local Indigenous input into this process. They have not consulted with local Indigenous communities sufficiently nor have they taken into consideration that not all-Indigenous communities have Native Title status.
Under their current Indigenous Fishing Strategy quote:However, Aboriginal persons are required to pay a fee to fish in saltwater, unless that person is party to a registered native title claim or that person is taking part in a traditional cultural activity, as identified under the indigenous fisheries strategy.

What I believe to be defined as a traditional cultural activity would be to take fish for the sole purpose of sharing this resource with the local Indigenous community. At the present time Indigenous communities are being victimised by Fisheries officers right along the NSW coastline.
We are being treated like we don,t know anything at all of this resource. The peak agencies for Aboriginal affairs are ignoring requests by communities to act on their behalf.

Indigenous communities are asking why can,t any Human Rights instruments be used to right the wrongs? As is the case with the Federal Minister for Conservation/ Forestry, why wasn,t the consultative process inclusive of Human Rights for Indigenous Australian Aboriginal people?

The NSW Minister for Minerals and Fisheries, Hon. Eddie Obeid has insisted that this indigenous fishing strategy has included concerns from Indigenous communities.

Why then are Indigenous people being prosecuted for taking fish the way they have been practicing this activity long before any non Indigenous person laid their foot on the continent?

Objectives: To obtain the appropriate and equal rights for Indigenous people,s of Australia.
- Creating a national standards cultural heritage database for NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service,
- providing input into the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Protection Act Amendments,
- NSW member of the National Indigenous Cultural Heritage Officers Network,
- provided training to Indigenous communities on cultural heritage management,
- provided input into the National Best Practice in Indigenous Tourism for Tourism Training Australia.

Presentation Type
30 min paper

University of Technology, Sydney, 1-2 December 2000

Papers & Workshops