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Developing a Cultural and Conservation Economy for Northern Australia

The project examined the suitability of Canada’s Ecotrust ‘conservation economy’ model for enhancing sustainable development in rural and remote Indigenous communities in Australia.

Three community case studies and a broad regional case study were undertaken to ensure the research was grounded in remote Indigenous peoples’ experiences.

What is a Cultural and Conservation Economy?

A cultural and conservation economy supports long-term, sustainable solutions for maintaining country and culture in Indigenous communities. This emerging economy is being driven by strong community leadership.

The approach draws on the Canadian ‘conservation economy’ model, Ecotrust, and has been adapted for the Australian context through collaboration with Indigenous organisations. The model applies a ‘quadruple-bottom line’ approach to economic development, which balances economic, environmental, social and cultural needs.

Research Organisation

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) initiated the collaborative research project, funded by Land & Water Australia. Project partners included:

Kimberley Land Council
Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation
Bendigo Bank
Community Sector Banking
The Christensen Fund

Balkanu Cape York Development Corp
Arnold Bloch Leibler
Poola Foundation (Tom Kantor Fund)
Australian Tropical Forest Institute
The Wilderness Society.


Land & Water Australia

Social and Institutional Research Program
GPO Box 2182 Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: (02) 6263 6000

Dr Rosemary Hill

CSIRO, Sustainable Ecosystems
Phone: 07 4042 1252

Ms Jann Crase

Australian Conservation Foundation
Northern Australia Program
Phone: 07 4051

Publications and Resources

None listed


Land & Water Australia. 2009. Developing a Cultural and Conservation Economy for Northern Australia . [Online] (Updated April 7th, 2009)
Available at: [Accessed Thursday 24th of October 2013 12:18:17 PM ].

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Project Code:


State & NRM Region(s)

Related Topics

id: 3089 / created: 07 April, 2009 / last updated: 07 April, 2009