Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Strategy

We believe that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the Australian Institute of Marine Science have a strong and productive shared future in marine science.

We recognise that natural synergies exist between AIMS’ research interests and the management and protection of sea country interests of Traditional Owners on the coasts and continental shelf of northern Australia – from Exmouth to the southern Great Barrier Reef.

We believe in the importance of working hand-in-hand with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to develop a better understanding of each other and our marine environments.

We have benefited first-hand from the mutual learning that comes from working closely with Traditional Owners and are committed to building further meaningful relationships based on trust and respect and achieving mutually beneficial outcomes from sharing experience and knowledge.

Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Strategy is our commitment to this outcome. The Strategy sets out a 5-year plan for increasing AIMS’ engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the areas where we work.

Our goals and objectives are ambitious, but are aligned with our strong belief in the importance of working hand-in-hand with Indigenous Australians – in a partnership that will foster better land and sea management based on rich traditions, excellent science, and local ecological knowledge.

Vision

Our vision is to meaningfully engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in order to build reciprocal capacity – through mutually beneficial research – that will support the sustainable management of land and sea country for future generations.

Goals

Our vision will be realised through achieving the following goals over the next five years: 2017-2021.

Incorporate Indigenous perspectives into the way AIMS does business - and ensure ongoing commitment to the implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Strategy

To achieve this goal we will:

  • Ensure recommendations to the Minister for Industry Innovation and Science for new AIMS Council members highlight where candidates identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

  • Include discussion of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Strategy as a standing item at Senior Leadership Team meetings and AIMS Council meetings

  • Ensure adequate capacity and resourcing to implement the Strategy across AIMS

  • Incorporate reporting against achievement of the Strategy in AIMS corporate reports

 

Improve the cultural awareness of AIMS staff through opportunities to better understand Indigenous culture – and demonstrate respect and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their culture when working with them

To achieve this goal we will:

  • Support AIMS staff to develop a deeper awareness of the culture of Indigenous Australian people

  • Acknowledge significant cultural dates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

  • Acknowledge Traditional Owners in AIMS’ public spaces

  • Include an acknowledgement of country in AIMS official corporate publications and at appropriate events

 

Establish and foster strong mutually beneficial working relationships with Traditional Owners and key representative organisations – appropriate to AIMS’ work

To achieve this goal we will:

  • Build on established relationships to develop, where appropriate, fit-for-purpose arrangements  with Traditional Owner and/or representational groups, and to identify and pursue opportunities for new working relationships with other groups

  • Ensure Traditional Owners, ranger groups and representative organisations are always welcome at AIMS sites

  • Cultivate and demonstrate effective two-way communication in these relationships by participating in appropriate forums and events, and producing customised communication tools and products

  • Create opportunities for direct engagement with Traditional Owners and other key groups whenever AIMS staff work in the field on Country

  • Promote and communicate progress and activities under the Strategy to AIMS staff and the external community

 

Improve the marine science outcomes for AIMS, and Indigenous Land and Sea Managers, through stronger partnerships that incorporate the extraordinary contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

To achieve this goal – where there is an alignment with the AIMS Strategic Plan – we will:

  • Incorporate Traditional Owner and Land and Sea Country management aspirations, priorities and protocols into AIMS research at the planning and proposal development stage – through  the development of AIMS internal workflows

  • Lead a discussion to identify marine science needs, aspirations and priorities of Traditional Owners and Land and Sea Management groups, identify synergies with the AIMS Strategic Plan, and create opportunities to work together for mutual benefit

  • Conduct joint projects and produce outputs together

  • Develop the capacity of Indigenous Land and Sea Managers in scientific research methods

 

Contribute to the training and development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in marine science – leading to career pathways at AIMS and other organisations

To achieve this goal we will:

  • Provide pathways to employment by creating continuing Indigenous identified positions at AIMS

  • Support Indigenous students in attaining professional qualifications in marine science related careers

  • Support a pipeline for young Indigenous people choosing marine science related careers

  • Support the success of Indigenous students and staff through a mentor network of AIMS staff

 

At AIMS, we believe our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Strategy is everyone’s business. Our Strategy is implemented, and its achievement is assessed, against a detailed plan of action with identified tasks, responsibilities and timelines.