Scoping Study on Stand-alone Legislation for Indigenous Knowledge

Closed 9 Nov 2022

Opened 5 Oct 2022


A Final Report on a scoping study into stand-alone legislation to protect Indigenous Knowledge is now available. The scoping study documents can all be downloaded here

This Final Report completes a scoping study overseen by the cross-department Indigenous Knowledge Working Group (IKWG) on potential elements of stand-alone legislation that would support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to protect and commercialise their Indigenous Knowledge (IK). The scoping study was undertaken by consultancy Ninti One in consultation with the IKWG, and an Indigenous Expert Reference Group working with IP Australia.

The Final Report identifies a need for increased IK protections and stand-alone legislation. It captures key concerns from stakeholders that inform this need, including:

  • The importance of IK being accessed or used with proper free, prior, and informed consent, and recognition of the appropriate custodians.
  • Current remedies in legislation don’t go far enough, or are not fit for the purpose for fully protecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples‘ IK.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should receive benefits or renumeration when their IK is used.

Findings and recommendations in the Final Report will help inform future work on stand-alone legislation. Further conversations and engagement will be needed in considering the recommendations.

Next Steps

In January 2023 the Australian Government committed to introduce stand-alone legislation to protect First Nations knowledge and cultural expressions in the National Cultural Policy - Revive.

Developing stand-alone legislation is complex as Indigenous Knowledge is rich, deep, connected to Country and expressed in various forms, from art works to bush foods, land management practices and everything in between. For these reasons, First Nations voices must guide the development and implementation of new legislation.

The Final Report does not reflect Australian Government decisions about how stand-alone legislation should look, but its findings will be considered as the legislation is developed. Deeper engagement and collaboration; consultation and genuine partnerships between First Nations People and Government must be formed as part of determining the content of new legislation. More information about how this will happen will be released in the coming months.

This consultation is now closed. Join our mail list to receive further updates.

About the Scoping Study Process

The scoping study was a commenced following the 2020 Government Response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs Report on the impact of inauthentic art and craft in the style of First Nations peoples. The scoping study was intended as a step to support further engagement and consultation on new legislation. 

The process for the scoping study included:

  • An Interim Report which looked at possible elements for increased IK protections
  • A fact sheet on the study, designed to explain options being looked at in short form.
  • Targeted consultations seeking feedback on the Interim Report through conversations, written submissions or online survey feedback.
  • A Final Report, which captures feedback and identifies areas for further work. 

The Interim Report, Fact Sheet, and Final Report can be downloaded here

Submissions Received

The following non-confidential submissions were received during our Interim Report scoping study consultations: 

Acknowledgement of Country:

IP Australia acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
of Australia. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on
which our agency is located and where we conduct our business.

We pay our respects to ancestors and Elders, past, present and emerging.
IP Australia acknowledges Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
peoples’ unique cultural and spiritual relationships to the land, waters and
seas and their rich contribution to society.

Privacy Statement:

Any personal information captured in this consultation will be stored and used in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 and the IP Australia Privacy Policy. The information collected by IP Australia in this consultation is for the purposes of undertaking policy work with our consultants NintiOne into potential stand-alone legislation to protect Indigenous Knowledge.

The IP Australia Privacy Policy contains information about how you can access or correct the information collected or how to make a privacy breach complaint. Unless required or authorised by law, information collected in this survey will not be disclosed to other recipients outside the Australian Government, including any overseas recipients.


Cover image: “Yuliyin Marradhal Yandhul” meaning Past, Present and Future; this is a combination of the Ngunnawal and Wiradjuri peoples language groups; Dalmarri Pty LTD, image ©



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