A prominent Aboriginal archaeologist has called for the establishment of a national Aboriginal heritage commission to oversee the preservation of Indigenous history.
But the federal government has no plans to act on the suggestion, saying the Australian Heritage Council already has Indigenous members and performs the necessary functions.
Archaeologist Dave Johnston said a national Aboriginal heritage commission was needed to stop Australia's cultural heritage, which he described as its greatest unrealised asset, being lost.
He said there was a lot of negative public discourse about Aboriginal heritage's impact on economic opportunities including mining, but properly managing and protecting the country's history would attract tourists, bring the nation together and create jobs for Aboriginal elders.
"It's all Australians' history and heritage, and we should be proud of it," Mr Johnston said.
"I think learning about it, respecting it and sharing it will bring us together as a nation like never before. I think it's the key to our future in reconciliation.
"There's a lot of economic opportunity as well. The world will come to see us."
Mr Johnston said Aboriginal elders could be employed to run tours of significant sites, in partnership with landholders where those sites were on private property, with money raised from the visits reinvested in Aboriginal communities and projects.
He said the destruction of ancient rock art on Western Australia's Burrup Peninsula, where 349 Aboriginal sites were destroyed to make way for development, was proof a national Aboriginal heritage commission was necessary.
"It's an international disgrace," Mr Johnston said of the destruction.
"We've just had Budj Bim in Victoria listed as a world heritage site for its aquaculture, which is fantastic, but we should have had that for the Burrup Peninsula with those ancient rock etchings."
Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt was contacted for comment but referred the request to the federal government's new National Indigenous Australians Agency.
An agency spokesman said the government was not considering a national Aboriginal heritage commission.
"The Australian Heritage Council's existing responsibility includes Indigenous heritage," he said.
"[Council] rules dictate at least two council members must be Indigenous persons with substantial experience or expertise in Indigenous heritage, and at least one must represent the interests of Indigenous people."
An ACT government spokesman said the government was "open to opportunities for further protecting and conserving our Aboriginal heritage".
The spokesman said all Aboriginal places and objects belonged to Ngunnawal country in the ACT, and were protected under the Heritage Act 2004.
"The ACT's whole of government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Agreement is a commitment to support traditional custodians in the development of businesses, including cultural tourism," he said.
"This initiative is supported by Visit Canberra to help build marketing opportunities in the international market to further increase their business opportunities.
"The community and visitor programs unit of the ACT Parks and Conservation Service have worked with a Ngunnawal traditional custodian in recent years to enable vehicle access to specific areas for cultural interpretation, such as the heritage site at Yankee Hat rock shelter.
"The traditional custodians caring for country committee has been established for the purposes of managing country including land, fire, air and water and will provide guidance and direction to better manage Ngunnawal country in accordance with traditional custodians' aspirations. This includes guidance for cultural tourism."