Country is a term used by Aboriginal peoples to refer to the land to which they belong and their place of Dreaming.
Country can be used effectively as the basis of planning and management approaches for lands and waters, known as country-based planning and management. These approaches enable Aboriginal groups to express their own vision, values, strategies and actions for their country, irrespective of the various legislation, land ownership and other constraints imposed since European arrival. It can be a powerful tool to engage with government, land holders and others to build partnerships to achieve this vision (see examples below).
Evidence demonstrates that the ability to own, access and undertake practices on country is essential to sustaining and improving the wellbeing of Aboriginal peoples and delivering the benefits that cultural practices bring to the land. This is now recognised in Closing the Gap targets to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s legal rights or interests to their lands and waters.
The Commission promotes country-based planning and management approaches to enable greater Aboriginal rights and interests in ways that protect Aboriginal people's cultural and intellectual property.
Artwork (strip): Sharon Smith. Changing of the Land. Acrylic on Canvas. 92 x 46 cm. Photographed by Sharon Hickey and
under lease agreement by the NSW Natural Resources Commission