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The challenge

New opportunities for Indigenous land and sea managers

Data and digital technologies have become part of people's everyday lives, all around the world.

Daluk (women) Traditional Owners in Kakadu National Park using a co-designed interactive data dashboard to explore changes to weed coverage and important species after management. Credit: Cathy Robinson.

There are many opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to take advantage of data and digital technologies.

Indigenous led partnerships and pathways can empower Indigenous people in this space. One area highly aligned to these opportunities is the Indigenous land and sea management domain.

This conversation on how Indigenous people can access future opportunities is set to continue.

Our response

Bringing key organisations together to talk about digital futures

In April 2022, we helped to convene 'The Digital Futures Roadmap for Northern Australia’s Indigenous Land and Sea Managers' workshop with The North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA), Microsoft, Telstra Foundation, National Environmental Science Program's Resilient Landscapes Hub of the Australian Government's National Environmental Science Program and ThinkPlace.

The workshop sought to identify opportunities where Northern Australian Indigenous land and sea managers and enterprises can become high value participants in the digital economy, and consider a roadmap that would achieve this over the next 2 - 5 years.

Participants shared their thinking with us to help shape a vision for the future of a digitally enabled Indigenous land and sea management economy in Northern Australia.

The results

The first 'Digital Futures Roadmap for Northern Australia's Indigenous Land and Sea Managers'

At the end of the workshop, we had all helped to create the first 'Digital Futures Roadmap for Northern Australia's Indigenous Land and Sea Managers'.

The vision is to empower local Indigenous people to use data, AI and digital technologies to adaptively manage country.

The roadmap includes themes, potential ideas that would have impact, and next steps. Importantly, consultation with Indigenous land and sea managers highlight five priorities to guide development of a Indigenous land sea management digital economy.

  1. Kin-country design - Locally defined economic, cultural, environmental outcomes is core to Indigenous engagement with digital technology
  2. Support by appropriate digital infrastructure and governance - Includes sufficient technical and data support and protocols for data collection, curation, and benefit – including protecting data sovereignty and ensuring informed and ongoing consent
  3. Reflecting local skills & community readiness - Requires collaborative assessment of governance, digital skills and local community interest in data and digital technology to help care for country
  4. Negotiated digital partnerships for impact - Co-designed with partners who are committed to long-term relationships that focus on sharing skills and knowledge that deliver local and negotiated impact
  5. Empowering dialogue between data and Indigenous Knowledge - Data and digital technology partnerships need to be accessible and functional for local Indigenous communities, and compliment local knowledge and Indigenous land management practices

What's next? The workshop discussed how a roadmap, and the ideas and aspirations expressed during the conversation, could be taken forward.

Download the 'Digital futures roadmap for Northern Australia's Indigenous land and sea managers. Workshop report' today.

For any insights or questions about this Roadmap and the Healthy Country AI and digital training program please contact Cathy Robinson – or Justin Perry –

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