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City of Sydney's new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander busking policy

Updated: Dec 18, 2019

The City of Sydney has released a new policy for Busking and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Practice that no longer requires Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have a permit for busking. It states that while the practice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures outdoors and in public places can be both entertainment and an economic activity, it is primarily the practice of a cultural right that is articulated in Article 11 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP):

Indigenous peoples have the right to practise and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artefacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.

The new policy honours this intrinsic right to practice culture, stating that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples do not require a busking permit to practice culture in public and on community land. Terri Janke and Company advised on the development of the policy and the Protocols for the practice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in public spaces, that is similarly underpinned by Article 11 of the UNDRIP. The Protocols include key principles such as Respect, Self-Determination, Interpretation, Integrity, Authenticity and Continuing Cultures.

Both documents recognise the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of Sydney, while welcoming and valuing practitioners of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage in the region with the appropriate acknowledgement to the Gadigal people, including the observation of local cultural protocols.

These positive developments break new ground in recognising Indigenous rights to practice culture in the City of Sydney region, supporting expressions of the world’s longest continuing cultures.

See the City of Sydney's media release for more information.

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