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Northern Australia Indigenous Reference Group

Enhancing the economic prosperity of Indigenous Australians in the north in accordance with Indigenous aspirations will ensure the full benefits of northern development are realised now and into the future.

The Australian Government recognises that northern development can only be achieved if it benefits all people in the north, including Indigenous Australians. The National Agreement on Closing the Gap commits all levels of governments to change how they work with Indigenous Australians. It recognises that achieving the aspirations of Indigenous Australians can only occur through genuine partnership and shared decision-making on policies and programs. The Government is committed to working with Indigenous Australians, as demonstrated through the IRG and other initiatives.

The Australian Government has announced a refreshed IRG, including a revised Terms of Reference. The IRG will advise the Australian Government on northern development, maximising benefits and implementation outcomes for Indigenous Australians. The IRG will engage directly with, and provide policy advice to the Minister for Northern Australia and the Minister for Indigenous Australians on practical actions to enhance the economic prosperity of Indigenous Australians and unlock the Indigenous Estate in Northern Australia, ensuring genuine partnership and shared decision-making on policies and programs.

Drawing on their business acumen and experience in economic development in the north, the members of the IRG will provide insights and advice to better understand the needs and opportunities of the northern Indigenous business sector, including in agriculture, native foods, land management, sustainable development, and tourism.

The work of the IRG will align with the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and the National Roadmap for Indigenous Skills, Jobs and Wealth Creation that focuses on traditional, expanding and emerging industries, increasing Indigenous workforce participation, and providing more Indigenous business support.

In December 2019, the Australian Government and northern jurisdictions also endorsed the Northern Australia Indigenous Development Accord, an intergovernmental agreement that provides an authorising framework for jurisdictions to work together and individually to advance Indigenous economic development in Northern Australia.

Northern Australia Indigenous Reference Group Communiqué – February 2022 PDF: 462KB