The Australian Conservation Foundation acknowledges that First Nations Peoples of Australia hold unique knowledge and rights inherited from their ancestors and Country and have cared for this country since time immemorial.
We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded, and that colonisation was unjust, often violent and continues to adversely impact on First Nations Peoples today.
As Australia’s national environment organisation, we understand we have a responsibility to help right this historical wrong.
We pay our respect to First Nations Peoples of Australia, past, present and future. We respect their leadership in caring for Country and support their rights to continue to do so.
We support their authority to speak for Country, right to self-determination and recognise that rightful recognition of and genuine reconciliation with First Nations Peoples is fundamental to protecting nature in Australia.
Principles for engaging with First Nations Peoples
ACF acknowledges the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent.
We commit to nurturing openness, goodwill and constructive relationships with First Nations Peoples as we strive towards meeting these guiding principles.
ACF will engage with First Nations Peoples with integrity, inclusion, deliberation and self-determination.
- Support the rights of First Nations Peoples and actions that uphold these rights and strive for self-determination.
- Support First Nations-led campaigns that protect Country and seek win-win outcomes for our environment and for the rights, wellbeing and advancement of First Nations Peoples.
- Ensure our campaigns are informed by the perspectives of First Nations Peoples through listening and active engagement.
- Advance approaches that promote alignment between economic opportunity and environmental and cultural protection, while upholding our environmental goal that all development should be ecologically sustainable.
- Use traditional place and species names alongside common names in our publications or share relevant dreamtime stories.
- Reform our organisation to create a safe space for First Nations Peoples as staff, volunteers and our broader community, and allocate resources to First Nations-led campaigns.
- Support and not burden First Nations Peoples through recognition and remuneration of services, knowledge and expertise.
ACF will not:
- Speak for First Nations Peoples nor advocate on their behalf unless explicitly asked to do so.
- Engage in internal processes or disagreements between First Nations Peoples or organisations in regard to custodianship, representation, recognition or positions, instead supporting a self-determined view from First Nations Peoples.
Walking the talk: