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Garuwanga: Forming a Competent Authority to Protect Indigenous Knowledge

Funding: 2016: $55,000
2017: $96,000
2018: $93,000

Project Member(s): Stoianoff, N., Mowbray, A.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Australian Research Council (ARC Linkage Projects)

Start year: 2016

Summary: Australia has grappled with the issue of protecting Indigenous knowledge and culture for more than 40 years. The legislative solution proposed by the White Paper, Recognising and Protecting Aboriginal Knowledge associated with Natural Resource Management, prepared for the Office of Environment and Heritage NSW in 2014, establishes a competent authority to provide governance and administer such a regime. Community consultation raised concerns about the form such an authority would take, its independence from government, how it would be funded and wound up, local Aboriginal representation and engagement. This project addresses these concerns engaging Aboriginal Communities in an action research methodology with an Indigenous research paradigm.


Martin, F, Cahill, A, Wright, E & Stoianoff, N 2019, 'An international approach to establishing a Competent Authority to manage and protect traditional knowledge', Alternative Law Journal, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 48-55.
View/Download from: Publisher's site

Stoianoff, NP 2019, 'Indigenous Knowledge Governance: Developments from the Garuwanga Project', Intellectual Property Forum, no. 117, pp. 9-23.

Stoianoff, N 2017, 'A Governance Framework for Indigenous Ecological Knowledge Protection and Use' in Levy, R, O'Brien, M, Rice, S, Ridge, P & Thornton, M (eds), New Directions for Law in Australia Essays In Contemporary Law Reform, ANU Press, Canberra, pp. 231-241.

FOR Codes: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law, Environmental and Natural Resources Law, Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Development and Welfare, Institutional Arrangements for Environmental Protection