Activating the Indigenous Estate – Baseline Study of Agricultural Capacity

The First Nations Portfolio and Fenner School of Environment & Society have completed a landmark baseline study that is a preliminary examination and delineation of the agricultural capacity of the Indigenous Estate.

First Nations people have legal interests to greater than 57% of Australia’s land mass yet their participation in primary industries is minimal. The purpose of the study is to attain a better understanding of the relationship between First Nations primary production enterprises and larger Australian primary industries, focusing primarily on agriculture. The study identifies that:

  • While a significant amount of primary production occurs on the First Nations Estate, a significant majority of this is not undertaken by First Nations primary production enterprises;
  • There is still a relatively small, but emerging and unique First Nations primary production industry that is diverse, increasingly financially sustainable, and delivering significant cultural, environmental and social benefits to local First Nations communities; and
  • There is opportunity to grow the First Nations primary production industry so that it makes a significant and unique contribution to the growth targets of Australian primary industries – beyond what the agricultural industry or the Australian Government have contemplated.

To achieve this mutually beneficial outcome for Australia’s First Nations people and their agricultural industry, a concerted effort needs to be made to better understand: the nature and extent of agricultural production that takes place on the Indigenous Estate; the nature and extent of the First Nations primary production industry; opportunities to accelerate First Nations agricultural capability development; and, attraction of social impact and other Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) oriented investment to the emerging sector. This effort needs to be overseen and driven by a multi-stakeholder, mission-oriented industry development governance framework.




Baseline Study: Agricultural Capacity of the Indigenous Estate

Case Studies Report: Baseline Study – Agricultural Capacity of the Indigenous Estate

Power BI Dashboard Visualisation

System of Environmental-Economic Accounting package


Agricultural Situational Analysis of the Indigenous Estate webinar (watch here)


This study was co-funded by the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) and the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC) and undertaken in partnership with the Commonwealth Department for Agriculture, Water and the Environment.