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National First Nations Bushfoods body to rebalance the books

First Nations Bush Foods and Botanical Alliance Australia will officially launch on International Day of Indigenous Peoples to lead national conversations and change across the bush foods and botanicals space where only 2% of its peoples are represented despite the industry’s reliance on their cultural knowledge. The Alliance was established as a result of a national conversation of 120 First Nations people who made their way from across Australia to attend the inaugural National Indigenous Bushfood Symposium in Sydney, November 2019. According to Chair, Tim McCartney, the ‘Peak Body’ will bring leadership to the native foods and botanical Industry and the Alliance is committed to righting the wrongs of the past. “The Alliance has been established with a clear mandate from the Symposium as a voice and a vehicle to lead national conversations and change across the bush foods and botanicals space, “ Tim said. "We are changing the narrative in protecting our intellectual and cultural property by pursuing a national approach that supports investment in Indigenous businesses and communities.”  "The industry has been unregulated for too long, and seen a lack of any real economic benefit and First Nations ownership of this industry. The wealth of the industry is built off our cultural connection and intellectual property, this has alway and will forever belong with  First Nations people of this land. “We encourage all stakeholders to support the Alliance to accelerate First Nation economic growth into a multi-million dollar Industry, “Tim said. “Our solutions to this matter will be First Nations-led and we will expect to be at the front end of the Industry, not the back” Northern Territory Alliance Director, Rayleen Brown and Owner of Kunga’s Can Cook, spent the last 20 years running her own bush foods business in Alice Springs as well as advocating for the women wild harvesting in the Central Desert Area. “I have worked for many years with a range of stakeholders in the industry to develop ethical guidelines for the bush foods industry and I am yet to see a meaningful return for our people” Rayleen said. "We are ready to pursue First Nations economic interest and solutions wholeheartedly led by our people”.  “The time is now ripe to do this as the market is demanding authentic, First Nations lead products from the Industry”. Contact person:  Tim McCartney, Chairperson, 0429 839 343

A National Indigenous Bushfood Statement was issued at the end of the National Indigenous Bushfood Symposium held in November last year which had a number of actions including forming this national First Nations lead industry body.The Alliance will be working to deliver the key action items coming out of the Symposium which are:

  1. Implementing protocols to set national standards on how to work with First Nations people in the industry: 

  2. Provenance and authenticity: to protect First Nation producers, respect our protocols and recognise our custodianship.

  3. Changes to the law: to respect and protect First Nations knowledge in bushfoods and bush products should be protected by the laws of this land and business practice. This includes intellectual property; penalties for misappropriation and implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing.

  4. Education and Awareness: promote respect for our First Nations Knowledge values and protocols.

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