Australia is on the cusp of a new era.
It's post Mabo, post-Native Title determinations, treaty negotiations, truth-telling processes, constitutional reform and a new partnership agreement on Closing the Gap.
But alarm bells are still ringing on an issue vital to the future of Indigenous Australians; our lack of economic sovereignty.
We must urgently heed its call.
Frustratingly, the approach of successive Australian governments to address the massive economic inequality of Indigenous Australians has remained unchanged for the past 40 years.
As a nation, we are perpetuating the same approaches - focused mainly on rolling out mandated training, employment and business programs for First Nations people to participate in the mainstream economy - but expecting a different result.
No doubt they were created with the intention of generating economic opportunity, but the evidence is they have effectively created a form of economic apartheid.
At a fundamental structural level, Indigenous Australians have less opportunity to determine and control their economic destiny than other Australians, and many outside the mainstream economy have limited avenues to pursue economic development.
Self-determination, including economic self-determination, is a fundamental right of all peoples, and is recognised by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and several other international conventions to which Australia is a party.
Evidence, particularly in English settler states like Australia, suggests economic self-determination should become the driving principle for responding to this massive challenge.
In addition, Australia remains the only Commonwealth country to have never signed a treaty with its Indigenous people, which indisputably correlates to the fact the Australian First Nations economy is much smaller than those in comparable nations.
Unless this changes, Indigenous Australians will continue to be second-class citizens in their own country, destined to manage a portfolio of rights and assets that are the subject of deliberate development constraints, working only in the mainstream economy in mainly conventional jobs for which, in most circumstances, they are not the ultimate or main beneficiary.
With that in mind, First Nations leaders are calling for governments and industry to work with us to build new and better policies that address the economic gap facing Indigenous Australians.
The call to action comes in the form of our Marramarra Murru (Creating Pathways) communique - the product of landmark events at the ANU in late June.
Included in our blueprint is the creation of a new national forum with a specific focus on economic development and wealth creation for First Nations peoples.
For too long our people have been shackled by poor policy design and its negative outcomes. It's time to smash those shackles.
The new economic policies must complement and build on the implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
And these policies must be negotiated and agreed between First Nations representatives and governments.
As our communique notes, there are a number of fertile areas that will deliver the economic sovereignty for First Nations Australians.
This includes a growing First Nations business sector, creating better access to international trade and building a First Nations workforce for the 21st century.
Another key opportunity is intellectual property.
The intellectual property of First Nations peoples is critically important to their economic development.
Its protection will provide a competitive economic advantage for First Nations peoples.
Current legislation to protect intellectual property is inadequate, confusing and not widely understood by First Nations communities.
It puts them at significant risk of sharing traditional knowledge and losing control and ability to gain benefits from it. New policies should instead support the development and recognition of Indigenous protocols.
And new legislation must authenticate Indigenous products and knowledge, protects cultural and intellectual property, is adaptable to local and regional contexts and is relevant to the nuances of Indigenous knowledge as a form of intellectual property
Now is the time for us to create and lead change that results in a more economically productive and socially adept society. A self-determined Australian First Nations economy will help get us there.
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