A ground-breaking national strategy for Indigenous land and water

6 Jun 2023

Today, the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) launched a ground-breaking new national strategy that will shape the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia.

The National Indigenous Land and Sea Strategy (NILSS) 2023-28 was officially unveiled by Joe Morrison, ILSC Group Chief Executive Officer, along with ILSC Group Chair, Ian Hamm, and ILSC Group Director Gail Reynolds-Adamson at the 2023 Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) Summit.

The launch of this strategy reaffirms the ILSC’s key role as the lead national agency responsible for returning and managing Country and sets a clear agenda over the coming years in delivering on the agency’s vision.

The new NILSS is the culmination of the ILSC’s largest ever nation-wide consultation over many months, that was genuine, inspiring and particularly invaluable for centring the priorities and perspectives of Traditional Owners. Over 1000 hours was spent on ground, listening, and speaking to hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in dozens of communities across Australia, about their aspirations for Country and role of the ILSC.

Addressing delegates to the AIATSIS Summit, including First Nations peoples, academics, native title stakeholders, legal experts, community, cultural sectors, and government officials, Joe Morrison and his ILSC colleagues committed the agency to deliver on the key priorities identified in the new strategy.

Mr Morrison told delegates, “at the heart of this strategy are the goals to increase traditional ownership by providing better support for First Nations peoples to manage Country their way, strengthen Indigenous leadership across current and emerging sectors and ultimately, expand and diversify the Indigenous economy.”

Under the new NILSS, the ILSC will:

  • act as a strategic funder and facilitator, supporting Indigenous people to access, use, and Care for Country on their own terms to achieve their aspirations
  • support Indigenous people to leverage, and continue to grow their assets, rights to land and water gained over the past 60 years of the land rights movement and recognition through native title and other schemes
  • extend beyond grant-making and enable Indigenous groups to take advantage of opportunities that optimise the use and Care of Country now and into the future
  • improve services to Indigenous people and continue to return power and control to Indigenous communities by divesting our operating businesses and landholdings.

Ian Hamm, ILSC Chair, said the NILSS and its guiding principles provides the means for the ILSC to work alongside Indigenous peoples, to meet their needs and ensure that the return of Country offers the social, economic and cultural benefits that rightfully belong to them.

“I too am proud to have launched the NILSS today and share the voices of First Nations peoples with the world,” said Mr Hamm.

“This is far more than just a document. It redefines the ILSC’s connection with the community and our partners, in turn, works to improve their access and management of Country.”

Following the launch of the NILSS, ILSC GCEO Joe Morrison also spoke of the significance of the strategy being shaped by the people the organisation serves and stressed the importance of collaboration with First Nations partners to achieve mutual goals.

“Our intention from day one of our community consultation almost 12-months ago was to develop a strategy that is guided by the voices of First Nations peoples around the country,” said Mr Morrison.

“Fast forward to today, and we are proud to finally provide a window into the future of the ILSC and explain what it means for our partners.

“This is the voice of Australia’s First Nations peoples and it is their strategy”.

Following the launch of the NILSS, the ILSC will know turn its attention to developing Regional Indigenous Land and Sea Strategies (RILSS) by the end of 2023. This will continue the ILSC’s engagement and research to define on ground delivery across national regions. With a direct line of sight to the NILSS, each regional strategy will form a discrete roadmap for the agency’s three divisions to deliver on year by year.

Community members who were involved in the NILSS consultation will receive a digital link to the document and are welcome to take part in the development of the RILSS over the coming months. More details on the upcoming RILSS consultation process and opportunities for providing input will be provided shortly.

The NILSS document and further information can be accessed by visiting

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