The National Native Title Council (NNTC) fully supports NTSCORP in their stance against the proposed amendment to NSW Fisheries Management Bill, slamming the prejudiced proposal criminalising Aboriginal people’s cultural rights to fish.
The new bill seeks to expand search powers and the definition of a premise to include a beach, trail, track, rock platform, and riverbank.
Says Kado Muir, Chair of NNTC and Co-Chair of First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance “This conversation must always be based on the reality that First Nations are exemplars of sustainable hunting and fishing, as demonstrated over millennia.
it is just not the physical acting of fishing or hunting, but the cultural significance of the way we do it and the cultural sharing to our family and community. This not only carries health benefits and ensures community cohesion, but also reinforces culture in terms of maintenance and the passing down of cultural practices to future generations.”
The NNTC points out that the right to hunt and fish are recognised native title rights preserved under the Native Title Act. It also notes that whilst state governments have the right to ownership of natural resources, it can only do so providing it does not extinguish native title rights.
“The NSW legislation signifies to regulate not extinguish, but when that regulation disproportionately affects particular rights-holders it becomes discriminatory,” continues Mr Muir. “The strong implication of the proposed NSW laws is the likely ‘net widening’ effect it has bringing First Nations into greater contact with the criminal justice system – a system where First Nations Peoples are already grossly over-represented. It also fails the Federal Government’s own Closing the Gap target in relation to practicing culture.
In offering a solution to the proposed changes for NSW Fisheries Management, Kado Muir states “It is quite simple – don’t proceed with the NSW legislation or if so, exempt First Nations Peoples.”
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