Draft Guiding Principles

We are pleased to announce that our Great Ocean Road Living Culture project now has a set of draft guiding principles. Over the next few weeks we will be interviewing people and holding community roundtables to see what you think about these principles:


Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism Limited acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owner groups and Aboriginal[1] people who occupy the area known as the Great Ocean Road region (the Region). Implicit in this acknowledgement is the understanding that as Traditional Owners[2], they have pre-existing and continuing inherent rights and interests.



The Guiding Principles provide the best practice standards to guide the successful implementation of the Aboriginal Tourism Strategy for the Great Ocean Road (the Strategy).

The Guiding Principles are agreed to by Traditional Owners and other stakeholders for the development of culturally-sensitive and sustainable Aboriginal tourism experiences in the Great Ocean Road region, and to guide the respectful interaction between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal tourism businesses and stakeholders.



Key foundations identified as being critical to underpinning the Guiding Principles:

·      Be informed and led by Traditional Owners and Aboriginal people;

·      Inclusive of and open to all stakeholders involved in Tourism within the Great Ocean Road region;

·      Voluntary and non-legally binding; encouraging active consent from stakeholders.



For Aboriginal people the Great Ocean Road region is a living cultural landscape. They have ongoing connections with the region which has been managed in accordance with Aboriginal Lores and customs since time immemorial. As a consequence Aboriginal people have complex knowledge systems and important heritage values associated with the region. Aboriginal people are the Traditional Owners of the region and are the experts and primary source of information on their heritage values and how these values are best expressed and managed.

Aboriginal heritage is dynamic. It includes tangible and intangible expressions of culture that link generations of Aboriginal people over time. Aboriginal people express their cultural heritage through ‘the person’, their relationships with country, people, beliefs, knowledge, law, language, symbols, ways of living, sea, land and objects all of which arise from Aboriginal spirituality[3].

A unique opportunity exists to provide exceptional Aboriginal Tourism opportunities across the region that respectfully promote the deep repository of Aboriginal stories, history and heritage. By actively subscribing to these Guiding Principles, tourism stakeholders and operators can drive sustainable Aboriginal tourism outcomes within the Great Ocean Road region.


Guiding Principles

Aboriginal Tourism Opportunities in the Region are built from a basis of Respect and Recognition

1.     Aboriginal people are the first peoples of Australia and are the Traditional Owners of the Region.

2.     Aboriginal people are the experts and owners of their diverse, rich and ongoing heritage, knowledge and cultures. Aboriginal knowledge may be shared but its ownership and decisions on its use must remain with Aboriginal people.

3.     Aboriginal people have rights and interests over the Region and cultural responsibilities under their Lores and customs to protect and manage their country.

Engagement is Culturally Appropriate and Creates Positive Impacts

4.     Engagement with Aboriginal people is premised on:

§  Integrity: openness and honesty about the scope and purpose of engagement;

§  Inclusion: opportunity for a diverse range of values and perspectives to be freely and fairly expressed and heard;

§  Deliberation: sufficient and credible information for dialogue, choice and decisions, and space to weigh options, develop common understandings and to appreciate respective roles and responsibilities; and

§  Influence: people have input in designing how they participate, when policies and services reflect their involvement and when the people’s impact is apparent.

5.     The principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent are used when seeking Aboriginal peoples information or input into Tourism activities across the region:

§  Free: from coercion, intimidation or manipulation;

§  Prior: consent has been sought sufficiently in advance of any authorisation or commencement of activities and respects time requirements of Indigenous peoples’ engagement timeframes and decision making processes;

§  Informed: information is provided about the full purpose, nature and scope of the activity;

§  Consent: good faith engagement requiring full and effective participation in the consent process.

Aboriginal Tourism Opportunities are Sustainable

6.     Aboriginal self-determination, cultural protection and security; and economic empowerment are the cornerstones of sustainable Aboriginal Tourism opportunities across the Region.

7.     Tourism collaboration, including the sharing of Aboriginal culture, must result in fair and mutually beneficial[4] outcomes for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.


[1] A person of Aboriginal descent who identifies as Aboriginal and is accepted as such by the community in which he or she lives.

[2] Traditional Owners are Aboriginal people who, through membership in a descent group or clan, have rights and responsibilities for caring for particular country – its lands and waters. Traditional Owners are authorised to speak for country and its heritage. Authorisation to speak for country and heritage may be as a senior Traditional Owner, Elder or Knowledge Holder. In more recent times it might also include those people who are part of a registered or determined native title claim.

[3] Ask First: A Guide to Respecting Indigenous heritage places and values.

[4] Mutual benefits should be tangible; have full consideration of the risks; and be formalised by agreement. Benefits may be financial and / or non-financial as agreed by the parties.