Implications of Indigenous Land Tenure Changes for Accessing Indigenous Genetic Resources from Northern Australia
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Genetic resources contain DNA and other genetic material necessary to sustain biodiversity and ecosystem services. Australia’s biodiversity legislation regulates access to, and sharing the benefits of using, genetic resources. The Commonwealth government is considering its options for complying with obligations under the UN’s Nagoya Protocol, including to allow for indigenous communities’ prior informed consent for third parties accessing genetic resources over which they have “an established right to grant access”. Meanwhile, it is pursuing its policy to “reform” indigenous land tenure to attract more intense development in northern Australia – the home to the majority of Australia’s biodiversity. Using a Kakadu Plum example, and highlighting recent proposals for reform, this article analyses the connection between access and benefit sharing (ABS) and land tenure laws. It concludes that policymakers must consider the effects of land tenure “reform” on ABS frameworks to avoid undermining indigenous communities’ current and future rights of consent for accessing and using biological and genetic resources from their land and waters.
Environmental and Planning Law Journal
© 2017 Thomson Reuters. This article was first published by Thomson Reuters in the Environmental and Planning Law Journal and should be cited as Humphries et al, Implications of Northern Land Tenure Changes for Accessing Indigenous Genetic Resources, (2017) EPLJ 560. For all subscription inquiries please phone, from Australia: 1300 304 195, from Overseas: +61 2 8587 7980 or online at legal.thomsonreuters.com.au/search. The official PDF version of this article can also be purchased separately from Thomson Reuters at http://sites.thomsonreuters.com.au/journals/subscribe-or-purchase.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law