'Stronger Together' Position Statement on Biodiversity, Rights and Interests of Indigenous Peoples & Tourism

The ‘Stronger Together’ partners believe that:

  1. Nature, underpinned by biodiversity, provides a wealth of services, which are fundamental to economic, environmental, recreational, and cultural wellbeing.
  2. These ecosystem services are multifaceted and include the production of food and medicines, fibre and water; regulation of climate; control of diseases; nutrient cycling and crop pollination; and provision of spiritual and cultural benefits.
  3. Biodiversity loss is a critical issue facing Australia and it must be urgently addressed. The pressures are pervasive and chronic in many places.
  4. The major drivers of biodiversity loss in the Daintree Lowlands are habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change and introduced species.
  5. Biodiversity should be conserved in situ across all levels and scales; examples of all ecological communities should be adequately managed for conservation; ecological communities should be managed to support and enhance viable species populations and ecological functions.
  6. In view of complexities in ecosystem processes, economic development pressures and the regulatory framework that applies to the Daintree Lowlands, improved stakeholder awareness and increased education and consultation is necessary to slow and ultimately reverse the loss of biodiversity in the region.
  7. Local communities play an important role in the custodianship of biodiversity through the maintenance and enhancement of ecological communities and ecosystem processes.
  8. Adding freehold property to Queensland’s Protected Area Estate and protecting it under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qldt) will provide long term socio-cultural and economic benefit for the community and future generations.
  9. Landholders have a legitimate right to sell their land on the open market and to be adequately and fairly compensated.

Acknowledging and valuing the rights and interests of Indigenous Peoples, the ‘Stronger Together’ partners:

  1. Recognise the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, to which the Australian government is a signatory, as framing the context of Indigenous Peoples’ rights and interests.
  2. Accept the invitation from the Uluru Statement from the Heart to support fair and practical reform that will enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to fully participate in Australian society.
  3. Recognise the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people as the Traditional Owners of the Daintree.
  4. Recognise and embrace the aspirations of the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people to return to live on Country.
  5. Recognise the important contribution Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge and values make to achieving effective environmental management practices.
  6. Seek to foster and support an inclusive environmental professional sector that provides opportunities for Indigenous Peoples to share their knowledge.
  7. Support the remuneration of Indigenous Peoples for services relating to the provision of traditional knowledge about places and natural resources.
  8. Seek to foster and support an environment profession that participates in culturally appropriate and competent ways of working with Indigenous Peoples in personal and professional multicultural settings.
  9. Advocate, in the protection of environmental values and mitigation of harms, the adoption of a multiple evidence approach that draws on science and the knowledge, values and perspectives of Indigenous Peoples.

Fostering the development of regenerative, authentic and engaging tourism experiences, ‘Stronger Together’ partners:

  1. Support the development of visitor experiences that respect First Nations cultures, knowledge and connection to Country, underpinned by the principles of the 2012 Larrakia Declaration.
  2. Recognise that appropriate planning and management of tourist areas and their use is necessary to prevent encroachment from incompatible land uses, to protect the amenity, environmental, landscape and cultural heritage values of the Daintree.
  3. Encourage low impact, high yield nature based, regenerative tourism experiences that recognise and complement the Daintree’s unique and sensitive natural environment and cultural heritage values.
  4. Promote the development of educational and interpretive programs that inspire and inform visitors about the biodiversity and cultural heritage values of the Daintree.


Biodiversity is the term used to encompass the variety of all living organisms on Earth, including their genetic diversity, species diversity and the diversity of marine, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, together with their associated evolutionary and ecological processes.

Due to separation from other land masses for long periods, Australia has unique biodiversity and is one of 17 mega-diverse countries, with over 80 per cent of its mammals, flowering plants, reptiles, frogs, fungi, molluscs and insects known to exist only in Australia.

Twelve of the world's 19 primitive plant families are found in the Daintree National Park and surrounding area. The endangered Noahdendron nicholasii is confined to a small area on the banks of a few narrow creeks. Many of these ancient plants provide an insight into the evolution of flowering plants, which began about 120 million years ago.

Biodiversity is now declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history. The 2019 UN Report on the Sustainable Development goals found that around one million species of plants and animals are threatened with extinction. The average abundance of native species in most major land-based habitats has fallen by at least 20 per cent, mostly since 1900. The UN report identifies the major direct causes as: changes in land and sea use; direct exploitation of organisms; climate change; pollution; and alien invasive species. Australia has lost more mammal and plant species over the past 200 years than any other country. Over 500 animals and 1,385 plant species are listed as threatened in Australia. Extinctions now total over 100 species and counting.

As of November 2021, the Lowland tropical rainforest of the Wet Tropics is listed in the Endangered category of the threatened ecological communities list under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwlth)(EPBC Act).

The Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qldt) provides the legislative basis for the conservation of nature through the dedication, declaration and management of protected areas and the protection of native wildlife and its habitat in Queensland. Adding freehold property to Queensland’s Protected Area Estate and protecting it under this legislation will provide long term socio-cultural and economic benefit for the community and future generations.


The ‘Stronger Together’ partners acknowledge and value the rights and interests of Indigenous Peoples. In doing so we recognise First Nations Peoples’ long prior history of occupation, knowledge of, and connection to place, natural resources, and the cosmos.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples sets out a universal understanding of the scope and nature of the rights and interests of Indigenous Peoples. The ‘Stronger Together’ partners recognise that there has been a history of dispossession and exploitation of Indigenous Peoples in Australia, with disregard for their rights and interests, that must be understood and reconciled through genuine engagement, truth telling, and collaborative decision making and governance.

The Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people are the Traditional Owners of this area. For the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people many natural features of the landscape have spiritual significance including Wundu (Thornton Peak), Manjal Dimbi (Mount Demi), Wurrmbu (The Bluff) and Kulki (Cape Tribulation).

We seek to foster and support an inclusive environmental professional sector by setting the expectation that environmental practitioners will understand the importance of including First Nations Peoples’ diversity, culture, knowledge, history, and protocols in environmental practice and engage in culturally appropriate and competent ways in personal and professional intercultural settings. The environment sector shares an affinity with the ideals of ‘caring for Country’, that in Australia is associated with protecting environmental values and maintaining culture.

Environmental practitioners care for and mitigate past and contemporary harms to the environment. To be effective they must draw from multiple sources of evidence including science and the rich body of knowledge stemming from Indigenous Peoples’ connection to places and natural resources, their cycles and values.


Regenerative tourism has a positive impact on a destination. It goes beyond "not damaging" the environment by actively revitalising and regenerating it, resulting in a lasting positive impact on local communities and economies. 

The ‘Stronger Together’ partnership actively supports Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation to develop authentic, low impact, high yield, regenerative tourism experiences and supports the Queensland Government’s vision of a world class protected area system and a vibrant and sustainable nature-based tourism industry.

Indigenous-led conservation, cultural and regenerative tourism experiences complement and boost the entire local tourism economy and are aligned with the conservation values of all ‘Stronger Together’ partners.

Recognised as one of Australia’s and the world’s most biodiverse hotspots, the Daintree presents an array of nature and adventure based activities to engage visitors. Pristine landscapes connect visitors to the environment, invoking a sense of value for its conservation and motivating preservation and restoration.