Skip navigation

The “Future Made in Australia Act” must include First Nations

The “Future Made in Australia Act” provides an unmissable opportunity to embed First Nations outcomes.

The First Nations Clean Energy Network welcomes Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s plans for a “Future Made in Australia Act”, but cautions this must not be at the expense of, nor take for granted, First Nations consent.

As the First Nations Clean Energy Network has noted, the United States’ ambitious Inflation Reduction Act has set a precedent not only for being the largest investment in climate and energy in history, but also for its recognition of the key role that First Nations play in clean energy and economic transition efforts. 

Canada likewise, in its response to the United States’ Inflation Reduction Act, has similarly realised that establishing and incentivising the right partnerships with First Nations is an investment decision. 

Australia’s energy transition - the bedrock of the vision in the Future Made in Australia Act and the economy based on clean energy and manufacturing - will only happen at the pace and scale required with First Nations as partners in the development and planning. 

Similarly, the infrastructure, raw materials, minerals and other resources to support a reinvigorated manufacturing sector and economy will inevitably need to be sourced from or traverse First Nations land and waters.  

“We want to see economic and policy systems that include and embed First Nations culture, rights and interests, and priorities. We don't want to see a repeat of the mistakes of the past” say Karrina Nolan and Chris Croker, co-chairs of the First Nations Clean Energy Network. 

“Principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent are critical and must be embedded in the Future Made in Australia Act. 

“As we’ve seen internationally, where Traditional Owners, Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities are engaged as genuine partners, projects develop faster, creating better value for investors and decreasing risk.

“Incentivising First Nations outcomes must be at the centre of the Future Made in Australia Act.

“There are numerous ways the government can look to do this. For example, the First Nations Clean Energy Network’s recent submission on the Government’s Expanded Capacity Investment Scheme includes a range of options for incentivising the right outcomes in policy design including First Nations ownership, jobs, business opportunities and critically, protection of valuable cultural heritage and the environment. 

“Similarly, the First Nations Clean Energy Network has shared lessons and examples about how nations like the United States and Canada have invested in First Nations outcomes and embedded principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent into policies and law.

“With many First Nations communities on the frontline of climate change, we must not miss this opportunity to recognise the significant mutual benefits to embedding First Nations outcomes in policies and laws so we can build a cleaner, more globally competitive future.” 



Thanks for use of the photo by Gustavo Quepón