The National Native Title Council is very pleased to invite you to


at the Darwin Convention Centre, Stokes Hill Road, Darwin, NT

on 6th - 7th November 2023

Join us at a landmark meeting of the National Sea Country Alliance. The Alliance, of all representative Traditional Owner groups with responsibility for Sea Country, must discuss how to exercise our rights and uphold our responsibilities for Sea Country in the face of increased offshore energy proposals.

© Patjosse

Why has the Summit been called?

Our responsibilities to look after Sea Country are just as important as those to look after land and waters. For a long time, it has been hard for us to get legal recognition of our rights and responsibilities to Sea Country, particularly where this is some distance from the coastline.

Recently the decision of the Full Federal Court in Santos NA Barossa Pty Ltd v Tipakalippa, went some way to recognising our rights in Sea Country. That decision overturned a government approval of an operational Environment Plan that had been submitted by Santos, in relation to some of its offshore petroleum activities in the Timor Sea north of the Tiwi Islands. Since that time, the offshore energy industry has had to rethink its approach to working with Traditional Owners.

This situation creates both opportunities and challenges. It is important that we, as Traditional Owners of Sea Country and our organisations, are aware of the implications of this decision and how to respond to it.

Following the Federal Court decision, the National Native Title Council (NNTC) and the other Traditional Owner organisations have had discussions with government and industry. As a result of this, the NNTC will be hosting NSCAS to provide an opportunity for Traditional Owners to coordinate a response.

© Environmental Defenders Office

What are the principles for a way forward?

Traditional Owners must have genuine decision-making authority in any processes that may affect their sea and coastal country as well as their cultural heritage and traditional and contemporary activities in these areas.

Indigenous governance structures must be respected through understanding the processes through which decisions are made and who holds the cultural authority to speak for Country.

Representative and inclusive Traditional Owner groups must be supported to dispense their responsibilities to care and speak for Sea Country.

© Andrea Izzotti

Who can attend?

Two people from approximately 90 affected Sea Country Traditional Owner representative entities can attend, with additional seats available if required. Those entities will include PBCs, Native Title Representative Bodies and Service Providers, Victorian Registered Aboriginal Parties and other Traditional Owner organisations such as the (Tasmanian) Aboriginal Land Council. 

These organisations have been contacted about attending. If you have not been contacted and are such an entity with Sea Country responsibilities, please email

Summit Venue

Darwin Convention Centre
Stokes Hill Road
Darwin, NT 0800

Presented by:

We acknowledge the Larrakia People are the Traditional Owners of the Country now known as Darwin.