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NSW Department of Planning and Environment launch trailblazing ICIP Protocol

Updated: Jun 14, 2023


TJC congratulate the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (the DPE) who launched their Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property Protocol (‘the Protocol’) on May 16, 2023.


Solicitor Director Dr. Terri Janke spoke on the panel for the launch of the Department of Planning and Environment NSW's Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property Protocol. The Protocol was great team effort, with DPE team members collaborating closely with solicitors Terri Janke, Elizabeth Mason and Rhiannon Auld. The ground breaking piece of work builds on earlier foundations that will guide the DPE in their inevitable interactions with Indigenous knowledge, land and culture.


Much of the work that the DPE does impacts Country, Aboriginal people and communities across NSW. This work requires the DPE to engage with Aboriginal people’s knowledge and culture – their Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP). The DPE recognise their responsibility to support the principles of self-determination and co-design and engaged TJC to help them to develop an Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property Protocol to address their commitment to protecting ICIP.


What is Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP)?

ICIP encompasses the elements that Indigenous people require to practice and continue their culture. It includes inherited practices such as stories, art, design, languages, songs, and knowledge of the land, sea, and sky, ranging from fire management to bushfoods and medicines. It also includes lived experiences, including historical connections to homes and sadly, sites of massacre. Aboriginal people are the custodians of their ICIP. They are responsible for its interpretation, preservation, and for passing it on to future generations for thousands of years.


In 2020, the DPE’s Our Place Our Country Aboriginal Outcomes Strategy (OPOC Strategy) was launched. This strategy aimed to embed self-determination and co-design principles into the DPE’s core practice.


The DPE has now established the Protocol as a standard practice across its operations and influence to ensure they use ICIP respectfully. The DPE engages with ICIP when making decisions on land and water management, consulting with Aboriginal people regarding places, the environment, and significant species. It involves filming Aboriginal individuals as they share their stories and knowledge, commissioning artwork and engaging performers, and using language to name locations or rooms in buildings. The DPE recognises the importance of Indigenous data sovereignty, acknowledging that Aboriginal people have the right to own and control data collected about and for them.


We are thrilled to see this piece of work now finalised and launched. The document is not yet public and is available internally only. For more information contact Craig Aspinall, [Manager, Community Partnerships, Aboriginal Outcomes].




The launch of The Protocol (L to R): ): to Darren Murray (Director Aboriginal Water,) Melanie Hawyes (Dep Sec Crown Lands), Patricia Adjei CF, Craig Aspinall (Manager Community Partnerships), Somerset Hoy (General Counsel), Micah Starkis (Director - Data and Information, DPE Water), and TJC Solicitor Director Dr. Terri Janke.

Terri speaking at the launch of The Protocol.




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