Statement on Indigenous Economic Self-Determination Australia Canada Leadership Forum

The Australia-Canada Indigenous Economic Partnership, launched at the AusCan Forum in Melbourne in 2020, reaffirms our commitment to improving the economic position of Indigenous peoples in Australia and Canada. We recognize the significance of this Partnership and its potential to create business opportunities, foster wealth creation, and enhance trade between our nations.

We acknowledge the historical similarities between Australia and Canada in terms of colonialism and the dispossession of First Nations peoples from their traditional lands and waters. Both countries inherited the English Common law, which recognizes the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples. Additionally, we have embarked on journeys of national reckoning through Royal Commissions, Reconciliation processes, apologies, and truth-telling to address the legacies of dispossession and colonialism.

Based on these shared experiences, we recommit ourselves to advancing First Nations economic self-determination by collaborating on the following fronts:

1. Cultural Preservation: We acknowledge the fundamental importance of First Nations cultures and traditions in shaping our nations’ identities. We commit to supporting the preservation and promotion of Indigenous cultures, languages, and heritage, recognizing their positive impact on economic development and community well-being. In our economic initiatives, we will strive to integrate cultural values and First Nations knowledge to ensure sustainability and respect for their ways of life.

2. Wealth Creation: We recognize that sustainable economic development within First Nations communities requires wealth creation. By encouraging First Nations-led enterprises and industries, we aim to generate long-term prosperity and empower individuals and communities. We commit to exploring mechanisms that facilitate wealth creation, such as economic development strategies, financial literacy programs, procurement, and access to appropriate funding sources.

3. Business Opportunities: We understand the importance of creating an enabling environment that supports First Nations entrepreneurship, fosters innovation, and facilitates access to markets and capital. We will promote business opportunities through mentoring programs, capacity building initiatives, and partnerships between First Nations-owned businesses and established enterprises.

4. Trade and Investment: We acknowledge the significance of trade and investment in driving economic growth. We will explore opportunities to enhance bilateral trade relations, with a particular focus on First Nations-owned enterprises. Collaboratively, we will identify and remove barriers, facilitate knowledge sharing, and promote First Nations-led trade missions and business delegations.

5. Knowledge Exchange: Recognizing the value of sharing best practices and knowledge, we commit to fostering dialogue and collaboration between First Nations communities, policymakers, and industry leaders. We will facilitate the exchange of experiences, lessons learned, and success stories to inform policy development and decision-making processes.

Joint research initiatives and capacity-building programs will also be explored to strengthen the economic position of First Nations peoples.

In conclusion, the Australia Canada Leadership Forum affirms its commitment to advancing First Nations economic self-determination as an integral part of the Australia-Canada Indigenous Economic Partnership. By working together, we can create a future where Indigenous peoples in Australia and Canada thrive economically, preserving their rich cultural heritage and contributing to the prosperity of our nations.