How environmental threats are influencing federal and state governments Essay

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How environmental threats are influencing federal and state governments

Executive Summary

Environmental threats are influencing federal and state governments including other agencies such as universities to investigate how other social and governance aspects can be incorporated into the sustainability framework. Little critical inquiry exists on this topic and a paradigm shift is attempting to integrate and use Indigenous knowledge to inform contemporary environmental policy decisions and management solutions. Binthi Wambal Aboriginal Corporation’s case study is an example of how complex this topic is.


Paradigm shifts are taking into consideration Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) to be incorporated into sustainability frameworks in a context where little critical analysis has taken place. Much of this participatory approach is a new methodology used to work with Indigenous groups highlighting the uniqueness and complexities of incorporating these governance structures within legislative frameworks including the ethical considerations and mistrust towards governments.

Report Reviews

Reviews of 3 authoritative sources pertaining to Indigenous governance and sustainability show that there is a dichotomy between western science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge and that recommendations need to be taken into account for improved management. Case Study and Recommendations: Binthi Wambal Aboriginal Corporation (BWAC) Operating as a small organisation in a remote region, BWAC have the ability to manage their affairs but are under-resourced and does not receive an income to manage the issues and problems that are affecting their objectives to achieve their aims. This section addresses the issues and problems experienced by BWAC and what they would have to change to manage these problems.


The review of governance issues and indicators of knowledge integration across the types supports that Indigenous governance and Indigenous-driven co-governance are important factors towards the integration of IEK and western science for sustainability of social-ecological systems. This report highlights that there are challenges towards achieving sustainability highlighting recommendations to take into consideration as evidenced with BWAC’s experience.


This report reviews three authoritative journals pertaining to Aboriginal environmental, governance and social aspects of sustainability to analyse the roles of values and culture on understanding of attitudes towards behaviours relevant to sustainability and business. First, an overview of the context reviewing the general literature on values, culture and sustainability pertaining will be provided. Next, recommendations to link cultural value systems and sustainability to improve relationships to modern governance, local council, various agencies and researchers for improved co-management systems will be analysed. The case study of Binthi Wambal Aboriginal Corporation (BWAC) as an enterprise will be presented to highlight the complexities of this issue and describe a set of recommendations to change how the enterprise can manage cultural differences in sustainability strategies.

This case study illustrates the dilemmas and difficulties to achieve a consensus of cross-cultural work to local co-manager efforts to translate across knowledge systems and the knowledge-action divide. Environmental threats are influencing federal and state government including other agencies such as universities to investigate how other social and governance aspects can be incorporated into the sustainability framework. Little critical inquiry exists on this topic and a paradigm shift is attempting to integrate and use Indigenous Knowledge (IK) to inform contemporary environmental policy decisions and management solutions. How can the interactions between scientific and Indigenous Knowledge (IK) systems be effectively negotiated for the joint management of social-ecological systems? This is an important question because on Indigenous lands where co-management efforts respond to pressing conservation agendas the contribution of scientific knowledge and IK is required to better understand and manage complex social-ecological systems.

The integration of Indigenous Ecological Knowledge (IEK) and western science to promote cultural diversity in the management of social-ecological system sustainability offers opportunities for Indigenous peoples to engage with many decentralised approaches to environmental management. Within this context it is important to understand how organisations plan to sustain the whole system so that everyone can benefit for the generations to come. Factors such as the adaptive co-management context, the intrinsic characteristics of the natural resources, and the governance systems affect the diverse processes of combining IEK and western science. Scholars of planning have debated and empirically tested that protected areas therefore provide a context in which many of the ideas and concepts are different. The sharing the burden of management responsibilities have emerged as a potential new paradigm in natural resource planning with developing cooperative relationships with local stakeholders.


The marginalisation and dispossession of Indigenous peoples in Australia, until recent decades, is also attributed to the establishment of protected areas. Participation of Indigenous people in recent conservation planning and country management has enabled them to develop and refine governance and policy frameworks to recognise protected areas as part of Indigenous land and sea country. The co-management of terrestrial protected areas and the declaration and management of Indigenous protected areas is an arena that Australian is internationally pioneering. Further policy and protocol development has not progressed uniformly across Australia due to; Achievement of practical, meaningful social and environmental benefits through conservation agreements and activities. Implications of native title determinations over protected areas; Recognition of Indigenous peoples’ rights and interests in marine protected area management;

This process has provided scope for recommendations for improvements to enhance the recognition, respect and rights of Traditional Owners as protected area co-managers for better social dimensions and responsibility. Across existing cooperative planning models improved partnerships and communications are needed to enable Indigenous and non- Indigenous collaborators to share ways of enabling country-based planning and management to assist in species and landscape conservation. Hill’s (2006) framework and table highlight the polar approaches to managements based on the Kuku Yalangi case study in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (Appendix A). The conservation management literature in recent years has highlighted that co-management of parks and protected areas is important. Based on the experience of park managers struggling to integrate the protected area with the socioeconomic fabric of the surrounding region has supported the rationale for this approach to protected area management. This rich experience informs calls for co-management however, the theoretical rationale for an explanation of co-management, have been slow in realisation.

Aspects, Issues and Problems

Four issues are identified for the incorporation of Indigenous value systems and how different cultures influence the social dimension, responsibility and modern governance. The process of interrelation has affected not only the articulation of Aboriginal identities, but also implicates the importance of local cosmologies The practice of cultural differences, beliefs and values that reflects to individual behaviours represent their identity and organization The local community are themselves deeply affected by the growing saturation forms of knowledge, practice and values including socio cultural through colonial interference Modern governance and legislation affect traditional beliefs and cultures learned from ancestors

Issue 1: Interrelations and implications of Aboriginal identities

It is recommended that support be provided to Traditional Owners to continue their practices to incorporate their beliefs, values and culture, to sustain the community relationships and the social dimensions of each group of agency and government sector. It is important to assist them to build their capacity to ensure that these practices will be passed onto the next generational to encourage more sustainability in social and environmental aspects in the future. The action needs to be delivered with respect to maintain the social dimension of the communities for improved governance.

Issue 2: Cultural differences, beliefs and values

Again it is recommended that respect be shown to individual or organisations in order to achieve a sustainable environment or relationship. Good governance and leadership can deliver the social equity to achieve each
individual or organisation goals or projects. Their information is thousands of years old and should be given the respect it deserves.

Issue 3: Introduced influences

The effects of colonialism has affected many Indigenous societies creating a wedge and feelings of mistrust and caution with imparting Traditional Knowledge without compensation or recognition. It is recommended that Indigenous people be provided with support for capacity building, governance, Intellectual Property rights and access to their country without exploitation. Issue 4: The influences of modern governance and legislation Indigenous people perceive current legislations, especially the Native Title Act 1993, as very racist that supports colonial practices to ‘conquer and divide’ and therefore are very reluctant to partake in government conservation strategies. Financial support to deliver the projects is minimum and not guaranteed to be on-going. Green washing by the governments is also another contributing factor affecting Indigenous participation. The land is very sacred and central to Indigenous people and the environmental schemes offered by governments are perceived as a ‘carrot on a stick’ to coax people in to provide information for management plans to destroy the land for mining activities.

Land Councils are funded by governments to administer these ineffective schemes without any accountability. Bohnet’s (2009) application of socio-logical planning framework on a holistic landscape in the Tully-Murray basin to test its transferability and effectiveness for knowledge integration in a water quality improvement planning context in the Great Barrier Reef proved to be challenging that achieved rewarding results. The acknowledgment that social and ecological knowledge is a key issue and research priorities in landscape ecology is supported by Bohnet (2009:1) who states that “further research into the roles of responsibilities of multi-stakeholder for knowledge integration in developing and managing sustainable land- and sea-scapes is recommended”.

Figure 1: Bohnet’s (2009) Flow of the adaption and operationalisation of the socio-logical framework for sustainable landscape planning to water quality improvement planning in the Tully–Murray Basin

Report Reviews

We present a typology of Indigenous governance in environmental management derived through report review of 3 Australian journals, and consider its implications for the integration of IEK with western science. Our analytical framework is underpinned by sociological and rational choice institutionalism and which are differentiated by these three points: (1) Active participation, incorporating participatory planning, engagement with organizations, and coordination approaches; (2) Indigenous engagement, Indigenous development and capacity building for intercultural purpose, incorporating purposes of environmental management; (3) Sharing power, incorporating decision making, defining rules, resource values and property rights. We attempt to find solutions that are associated to Indigenous-driven co-governance; Indigenous governed collaborations; and agency governance; agency-driven co-governance. We draw on the notion of boundary work to examine how interaction at the boundaries of scientific and IK systems can be managed effectively as a contribution to co-management.

The case study of Binthi Wambal Aboriginal Corporation (BWAC) illustrates the work necessary for local co-managers to meld scientific and IK systems ensuring that management decisions are informed by the translation of knowledge. Attributes for effective implementing planning in this case include: (1) Translating the issues and problems and taking into consideration BWAC’s recommendations and objectives for participation in agenda setting and joint knowledge production. (2) Taking into consideration the recommendations presented in the reviews to broker interactions between knowledge systems that are supported by co-governance arrangements to ensure that boundary work remains accountable, and the production of collaboratively built boundary objects. (3) Providing BWAC with support to develop their capacity for improved business planning, governance, on-country planning and strategic planning. (4) Working directly with the organisation rather than Cape York Land Council and Balkanu.

This will ensure integrity and that correct information is provided at the same time providing BWAC with the capacity towards self-determination. Szabo and Smyth’s (2003) summary of the background to the establishment of Indigenous Protected Areas (IPA) in Australia of the legal and policy innovations on which they are based shows that environmental and cultural benefits are inseparable. IPAs are managed and owned by Indigenous peoples and developed collaboratively with federal, state and territory conservation agencies in accordance with IUCN categories that forms part of Australia’s national system of protected areas. Szabo and Smyth (2003:7) through workshopping found that benefits included: Getting Traditional Owners back on country, often after long absences; Involving school children in IPA field trips, transferring knowledge between generations and strengthening languages; Re-establishing traditional burning practices, maintaining waterholes and reducing feral animal impacts; Providing training and employment in managing country;

Promoting renewed interest about caring for the country.

They also write (2003:8);

“In addition to these formal joint management arrangements, most Australian states and territories have provision for some Indigenous involvement throughout their protected area systems. This might involve, for example, a commitment to consultation with Indigenous people, an Indigenous representative on an advisory committee, some employment or responsibility for Indigenous heritage protection. Indigenous people have consistently expressed the view that such arrangements do not adequately recognise their status as traditional landowners and they are seeking more meaningful involvement, especially at the decision and policy-making level. One feature that is common to all co-management arrangements is the lack of opportunity for Indigenous groups to decide whether or not they wanted their traditional lands to become protected areas.” Table 1(Szabo and Smyth 2003:9) shows a comparison of the main features of IPAs with co-managed protected areas in Australia.

Table 1: Comparative features of Indigenous Protected Areas and co-managed national parks in Australia

1. Altman, J.C. ‘Sustainable Development Options on Aboriginal Land: The Hybrid Economy in the Twenty-First Century’. CAEPR Discussion Paper No. 226, 2001. Challenges to broaden the notion of the economy and development to include the customary economy: Altman’s objectives in this journal is clearly defined and summarised to highlight that there are challenges to understanding the dichotomy of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous sustainability. Working for the Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation in central Arnhem Land he proposes a model to converge his social science work with a number of biological scientists based at the Australian Research Council ARC Key Centre for Tropical Wildlife Management at the Northern Territory University. He argues that to achieve this required a paradigm shift in ideological positions and notions of development that are entrenched in the market mentality that do not accommodate cross-cultural and sustainability issues.

He successfully outlines the economic development problems that are faced by this periphery group describing the hybrid economy consisting of market, state and customary components that politicians, policy makers and Indigenous people and their representative organisations do not fully understand. These are the key immediate challenges that he raises for this shortfalling as cited from page 16: The first is to understand the nature of the economy, plan for sustainability, and nurture the hybrid economy in ways that mesh with Indigenous values. The second is to shift the political debate to ensure a recognition of customary contributions provided by Indigenous people to regional and national economies and industries, and ensure appropriate financial underwriting by those who benefit, Finally, market opportunities in many remote localities are rare, so when new opportunities arise they must be quickly harnessed by Indigenous interests. It is imperative that newly emerging property rights (e.g. in tradeable carbon credits) are commercially realised not alienated as in the past.

Overall, the article is concise, however it should be understood in a pioneering context. In summing up the concepts, argument and method used to show his evidence served its purpose to shed light on this topic to contribute positive approaches to combine Indigenous and Non-Indigenous sustainability. His explanation to show that Indigenous contributions are quantified and should be recognised in mainstream economies was achieved. His arguments provides an alternative pathway to improve the inadequate analytical approaches that fail to ask how develop based on market engagement be delivered to communities that are extremely remote from locational and cultural markets. In its context his suggested framework to understand the hybrid economy through hybrid analytical and intellectual combination of science, social science and Indigenous Knowledge systems is plausible and partially relevant to BWAC.

2. Smith, B. A Complex Balance: Mediating Sustainable Development Cape York Peninsula. The Drawing Board: An Australian Review of Public Affairs, 2003. Recognising differences and compromising between Indigenous and non-Indigenous ways: Smith accomplishes his objective to describe a sustainable development project in a remote rural Aboriginal community. He empirically examines through his field work in central Cape York Peninsula (1996 – 2003) the differences and ongoing compromises between forms of social and political and economic organisations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous ways. His methodology effectively demonstrates that development intervention is likely to fail when it is not appreciative of differences between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous ideals and ways of doing things to improve human living conditions. He illustrates that impacts such as colonialism and post-colonial impacts and policies such as ‘self-determination’ and welfare dependencies have contributed to the problems affecting good governance. Shifts in recent policy and research of engagement with economic, social, political and environment considerations were flawed and flagged ‘traditional Indigenous values’ affecting development.

On page 101 he writes; “this lack of engagement with Indigenous ideals and ways of doing things pervades Australia’s mainstream Indigenous discourse”. Whereas the “mainstream discourse, more obviously ‘material’ poverty and social problems take priority over ‘cultural’ or symbolic dimensions of Indigenous life and of the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations”. He develops his arguments based on authoritative sources to support that intervention of external agencies would be more effective when they work with rather than against local values and practices. To support his argument he draws on his fieldwork to examine how a contemporary remote Aboriginal community is pursuing ‘sustainable development’ and how ‘cultural’ dimensions shape and constrain the community’s efforts.

Incorporated into his ethnographical approach a historical analysis showed innovative approaches that explained the corporation’s successes to involve the articulation of different cultural domains – ‘mainstream’ or ‘Western’ and local Indigenous life-worlds – in its day-to-day operations, involving divergent aspirations and values. Aspirations included an emphasis on decentralisation and outstation development, land rights, the resourcing of activities on traditional lands, and town-based economic development, employment and training opportunities. Based on his observations, for Aboriginal autonomy to be successful the social and cultural dimensions of development projects need to be taken into consideration. Again, this paper has to be appreciated in the context that it was written as it is slightly outdated and based on evidence when the movement towards Indigenous sustainable development was in the trailing stages.

3. Smith, B. ‘We Got Our Own Management’: Local Knowledge, Government and Development in Cape York Peninsula, 2005. Indigenous perspectives of governance in Cape York Peninsula: Again Smith relies on his fieldwork in Coen to examine the growing interrelationship of local knowledge and projects of government amongst Indigenous Australians. He relies on ethnographical material to highlight the tensions and complexities of land and natural resource management involving traditional owners. In analysing the ways in which the concept of management he demonstrates the growing interrelation of originally distinct indigenous and exogenous systems that has affected the articulation of Aboriginal identities and implicated in the current importance of local cosmologies. He cleverly entices the reader by telling a story of a meeting about the Hendra virus threats and transferred from flying foxes to horses and humans between local traditional owners and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) Scientist.

In particular he relates how Traditional Owner’s version of cosmology that the flying foxes come from the mouth of the rainbow serpent did not agree with the scientist who told them that ‘they flew up from Ravenshoe.’ His statement on page 6 conjures up this extremity “for these men and women, the articulation of Aboriginal world views, including those closely tied to local cosmologies, has provided a key means of asserting not only what they regard as fundamental differences between Aboriginal life-worlds and those social and cultural fields to which these external agencies are fundamentally orientated; but also the necessary primacy of Aboriginal cosmologies and linked forms of social organisation in determining the character of local ‘governance’ projects and ‘natural resource management.”

Firstly, he sufficiently provides an overview of the governance of Cape York Peninsula by providing a historical analysis of the township and ties in an analysis of Indigenous ‘conceptualisation of the innate’. Next, his overview of the development of Indigenous involvement in natural resource management demonstrates the problems associated with negotiating within this framework. He proficiently articulates the views and concerns of his participants and provides evidence that they were not happy with outside organisations based in Cairns working on their business as they felt that their ownership was taken away from them. He writes “the sense of localisation insists on the necessity if Aboriginal people representing themselves and the country with which they have personal ties. It further discriminates between forms of knowledge, decision making and practice held to be indigenous to a particular area and the people tied to that area under ‘Murri [Aboriginal] law’, and those forms regarded as exogenous.”

To achieve his overall objective Smith ties in the work and structure of Chuulangu Aboriginal Corporation situated on the Wenlock River and run by David Claudie who has been very successful in incorporating both Indigenous and Western approaches to cultural and natural resource management as evidenced on their web page: This document is very relevant to BWAC as aspirations and difficulties experienced with outside organisations are very similar to Chuulangu Aboriginal Corporation. Smith’s account of governance in Cape York Peninsula is a very plausible and relevant document that policy makers, politicians and researchers should read to grasp an understanding to guide socio-ecological methodologies for better social dimensions and social responsibility in delivering projects. The Cape York experiences shares similarities with other Indigenous organisations wanting to achieve the same goals, however, their issues and problems are uniquely different outside this region. Case Study and Recommendations: Binthi Wambal Aboriginal Corporation (BWAC)


Binthi Wambal Aboriginal Corporation (Indigenous Corporation Number ICN 4055) is an Indigenous Organisation that is registered with the Office of the Register of Indigenous Organisations as prescribed by the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act). As outlined in the Rule Book the objectives the corporation aims to achieve are:

Return to their traditional land;

Re-establish their spiritual connection with the land;

Work their land in both the ancient way of the Aboriginal, and in the modern way of cattle and crops; Facilitate the training and education of the corporation members and their families; and Establish self-sufficiency towards the future for the next generation.

Binthi country is situated approximately 40 kilometres north of Cooktown on the McIvor River and comprises mixed tenure arrangements within the Guugu Yimithirr Nation (Appendix B). This corporation also manages the protection of the cultural sites within their territory and is aspiring towards self-sufficiency to develop their outstation. They are also very interested in participating in cultural tourism business to share and showcase their culture and country.

Aspects or Issues and Problems

Operating as a small organisation in a remote region, BWAC is under-resourced and does not receive an income to manage the issues and problems that are affecting their objectives to achieve their aims. Binthi people would like to develop strategies and management plans to protect their cultural and natural values that are increasingly affected by mining and pastoralism. With the associated problems of the current economic climate BWAC are keen to address these problems to assist them with funding opportunities and compliancy with the CATSI Act. In 1994 the Indigenous Land Corporation purchased Mt Baird Station for Binthi Traditional Owners and this did not include further support to develop or maintain the property. The rates to the Cook Shire Council are an issue as BWAC cannot afford to pay and Hope Vale Aboriginal Council have paid the outstanding amounts and are currently leasing the property for a 10 year period. BWAC also hold lease titles within the Deeds of Grants in Trust (DOGIT) land which is currently managed by a defunct organisation called the Congress of Clans set up and operated by the Cape York Land Council (CYLC) and Balkanu.

The government transferred the title to this organisation in 2012 including over $7 million dollars in ex-gratia money of frozen royalty funds from Cape Flattery Silica Mines and which has been misappropriated by CYLC and Balkanu. This is currently a very controversial issue and a major concern to all the Traditional Owner Groups within this boundary, as it impinges upon their rights and access to their country. An illegal and fraudulent process occurred whereby the traditional owners were not negotiated with and the rightful owners of Cape Flattery did not receive their monies. As the signatures were obtained fraudulently the protection of cultural and natural heritage for all involved is at stake.

Finally, the community has two tiers of bureaucracy to deal with, including Local Government Authorities and the welfare reform imposed without free and prior informed consent. Partnerships and Cape York Institute that promote this are associated with Cape York Land Council and Balkanu and whose members and affiliates have been the perpetrators of violence that members of BWAC and the community have tolerated for many years. Ironically, they receive millions of dollars of funding from the government to roll out this program with Local Commissioners who all have criminal histories and no qualifications.


Issue 1: Governance and strategic business planning

It is a priority that viable strategic business plans are developed to raise BWAC to a level to be competitive and eligible for funding opportunities to improve administration and governance matters. Regular meetings and reporting are required for compliancy with the CATSI Act and audit purposes. Funding opportunities to employ a Project Officer to oversee this is a positive outcome that will alleviate the pressures of these issues at hand. These are to be developed initially to then set in place recommendations to be implemented. In doing so, it is important that the business drivers be refined to enhance product quality, cost image and passion to make a difference. The vision and objectives may have to be revisited, so that it is short and realistic in an ever changing environment. The current position will also have to be reconsidered and bought into context, so that gap analysis can be undertake to develop strategies are developed in an action plan for every strategy for implementation and review so that they can be improved. Binthi Wambal, Chuulangu and Dingaal Warra are all working towards the same vision and to do so will also involve exposing Balkanu and Cape York Land Council for corruption and fraud.

It is recommended that these organisations and others support each other and it is expected that the strategic business planning process to take one year to thoroughly complete. Issue 2: Rates for freehold property and tenure associated to Deeds of Grant in Trust lands To overcome the issue to generate income BWAC must develop employment and training strategies in conjunction with viable crop and harvest economy, or other suggested ideas. In addition, partnerships with other stakeholders, such as Indigenous organisations, Local Government and government agencies, are recommended as the most practical way for support and to further advance financial problems. It is also recommended that legal advice be obtained on the tenure related problems for counteraction to High Court proceedings and the Human Rights Commission and the International United Nations Committees for breaches of human rights issues.

The same applies to challenging the Welfare Reform Policies currently in place. Financial assistance for initiation start-up of $250, 000 is required to undertake this task and strategies developed to ensure that these outcomes are achievable. Approximately $10, 000 per annum is required for rate payments. The rates will be an ongoing issue and it is expected that the tenure issue can take approximately 1- 2 years to resolve. In the interim, whilst Hope Vale Council is managing the property BWAC can provide support. Within eight years BWAC can be resourced to be able to manage the property.

Issue 3: Mining Threats

It is necessary that BWAC develop a Cultural Heritage Management Plan as prescribed by the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (Appendix C) and exercise their right to negotiate with mining companies, as specified in section 29 of the Native Title Act 1993. This is beneficial so that agreements can be reached for the protection of cultural sites. Extensive mapping of the sites have occurred and entered onto the state database, however, as the Native Title are a mess BWAC have lost their right to Balkanu and Cape York Land Council to negotiate any matters to their cultural heritage or funding opportunities for land and sea planning matters.

These three pressing issues are affecting BWAC ability to function and the implication of the problems impinges on the development of their aspirations and poses perceived threats that require a gap analysis to devise strategies for an Action Plan for implementation and review. In addition to these dilemmas there are advantages to including IEK into socio-logical framework for sustainable landscape planning equation contributing towards a holistic and inclusive approach for improved social dimensions and social responsibility without Cape York Land Council involvement.


In consideration of these issues and recommendation it is envisioned that BWAC can overcome these issues to implement their plans to achieve outcomes with the following objectives: Take a leading role in the community on issues such as climate change and sustainability. Ensure that strategic objectives of BWAC are relevant to the local, state and national business community and government. To raise the character and status and advance the interests of BWAC and those engaged therein. Establish and maintain a focused portfolio of activities of activities including research, provision of training, government and executive development programs, consultancy and other entrepreneurial initiatives. Ensure that BWAC delivers quality in all of its endeavours.

Establish an agreed and acceptable system of performance review. Maintain a comprehensive knowledge of the external resources to optimise ongoing and future funding. Ensure that BWAC uses an appropriate and regular system of external and internal communication To maintain contact and communicate with the governments of the Commonwealth of Australia and of its States and Territories and with local and municipal governing bodies and other public and private organisations on matters of concern to BWAC and to the wider community. To increase the confidence of the community in the development of BWAC projects and to ensure transparent accountability. To promote honourable practice and integrity to ensure the success of future projects.

From our review of governance issues and indicators of knowledge integration across the types, we support that Indigenous governance and Indigenous-driven co-governance are important factors towards the integration of IEK and western science for sustainability of social-ecological systems. Distinct Indigenous cultural purposes underpinning IEK, and benefits knowledge integration can be sustained by supporting Indigenous governance without, or with only a limited requirement for power sharing. We conclude by promoting the reports reviewed be regarded as authoritative on the topic to test its general effectiveness in guiding practitioners and researchers to develop robust governance for Indigenous knowledge integration of periphery groups in environmental management.


Altman, J.C. (2001), ‘Sustainable Development Options on Aboriginal Land: The Hybrid Economy in the Twenty-First Century’. CAEPR Discussion Paper No. 226, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR), Australian National University, Canberra [Online], Available: Bohnet, I.C. (2009), Integrating Social and Ecological Knowledge for Planning Sustainable Land and Sea Scapes: Experiences from the Great Barrier Reef Region, Australia. Research Article, Landscape Ecology, DOI 10.1007/s10980-010-9504-z, Available: Hill, R. (2006), The Effectiveness of Agreements and Protocols to Bridge Between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Toolboxes for Protected Area Management: As Case Study from the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Society & Natural Resources, 19:7, 577-599, Available: Smith, B. (2003), A Complex Balance: Mediating Sustainable Development Cape York Peninsula. The Drawing Board: An Australian Review of Public Affairs, Volume 4, Number 2: November 2003, 99-115, School of Economics and Political Science, University of Sydney. Available: Smith, B. (2005), ‘We Got Our Own Management’: Local Knowledge, Government and Development in Cape York Peninsula. Australian Aboriginal Studies, 2005/2, Australian National University, Canberra. Szabo, S. & Smyth, D. (2003), Indigenous Protected Areas in Australia. In, Jaireth, H. and D. Smyth (Eds), Innovative Governance: Indigenous Peoples, Local Communities and Protected Areas, pp 145-164. IUCN-sponsored by publication, published by Ane Books,
New Delhi. Available:

Appendix A: Hill’s Conceptual framework for bridging two management toolboxes Kuku Yalangi versus Wet Tropics World Heritage Area

Appendix B: Guugu Yimithirr Map

Appendix C: Cultural Heritage Study & Cultural Heritage Management Flow Chart

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