NSWALC Submission – NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the commencement of the Fisheries Management Amendment Act 2009
CATEGORY: Land and Water

NSWALC, the network of Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs), and Aboriginal peoples of NSW are key stakeholders in relation to land, sea, water and fisheries resources and are holders of specific Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Traditional Fishing Knowledge accumulated over millennia. Aboriginal peoples are not merely one stakeholder among others, we possess inherent and pre-eminent rights, values and interests in the lands and waters on account of our status as Australia’s First Peoples.

NSWALC welcomes the Inquiry. We seek the urgent commencement of s.21AA (without regulations), and the cessation of the abhorrent and unjust prosecutions of Aboriginal people for undertaking cultural practices and providing for our communities. NSWALC calls on the NSW Government to:

  • 1. End the criminalisation of cultural practices1 and support Aboriginal people’s cultural fishing rights.
  • 2. Place an immediate prohibition on prosecuting Aboriginal cultural fishers and ensure Aboriginal cultural fishers are protected from prosecution
  • 3. Remove restrictions on Aboriginal cultural fishers and cultural fishing activity
  • 4. Immediately commence section 21AA of the FMA

Furthermore, any future actions regarding the FMA, in particular s.21AA, must ensure the following:

  • Acknowledge Aboriginal peoples’ inherent rights to water, specifically, so we can maintain our culture through the sharing of oral histories regarding Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Traditional Fishing Knowledge
  • Include strong safeguards and actions to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage, Aboriginal fishers, and the environment.
  • Foster partnerships with all Aboriginal peoples and communities including NSWALC and LALCs in the implementation of the FMA.


We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as across the lands we travel through. We also acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging.

Artwork Credit: Craig Cromelin, from a painting he did titled, "4 favourite fishing holes". It is a snippet of his growing years on the Lachlan River, featuring yabby, turtle, fish and family.