Dhawura Ngilan Business And Investor Guides

Photographer: Benjamin Bayliss


The Dhawura Ngilan Business and Investor Guides are the only First Nations-Led Guides on the Protection of First Nations Cultural Heritage in our region.

They have been developed at a time when businesses and investors, are seeking to learn, and put into practice, actions and policies that contribute to the protection of First Nations Cultural Heritage, led by First Nations views. Dhawura Ngilan (Remembering Country) is a vision that embodies the long-held aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples for their heritage. It aims to collectively work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to identify, protect, conserve, present and transmit for future generations the unique heritage of Australia. This is a growth area, both in terms of knowledge and the relationships, resources and supporting infrastructure needed to put into practice the objective of the Dhawura Ngilan Business and Investor Initiative – that is, Free, Prior and Informed Consent becomes “business-as-usual”.

Overarching Principles

The overarching Dhawura Ngilan Principles are a set of twenty standards which collectively illustrate the expectations of First Nations peoples for how the private sector will interact with First Nations Cultural Heritage. These Principles are intertwined and should be read holistically. Together, they signify leading practice in First Nations cultural heritage management by businesses and for prospective investments. In order to demonstrate alignment with the Dhawura Ngilan Vision, businesses and investors must implement all of the Principles.

By aligning their business operations and strategy with the Dhawura Ngilan Principles, businesses with operations in Australia are demonstrating a positive intent and commitment to supporting First Nations-led standards for cultural heritage management in Australia.

It is recognised that some Principles will be more relevant to some sectors than others, but others can be implemented by actors in any field. Where a Principle touches the value chain of a business, that business has a responsibility to ensure that it is not doing harm. It is a core element of these Principles that good practice does not offset bad practice. Adherence to ten, or twelve, or fifteen principles does not excuse negligence of the remainder.

Business and Investor Guide

The Business and Investor Guide provides detailed guidance on how to operationalise the Dhawura Ngilan Principles.

Recognising that different types of business operations can impact human rights in different ways, each of the six sections in the Business and Investor Guide outlines a series of Key Actions associated with each Dhawura Ngilan Principle for different types of businesses.

The Guide also provides tailored guidance to assist investors to integrate cultural heritage considerations into decision-making, including during due diligence, assessing disclosures, corporate engagement, and stewardship.