Up to $250,000 is available for projects that support the identification, conservation, and promotion of heritage places.
About the Indigenous Heritage Program
The Indigenous Heritage Program (IHP) is an ongoing competitive annual grants program which provides $3.645 million to support the identification, conservation, and promotion of heritage places important to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Since 2004, the program has provided over $25 million to support more than 450 Indigenous heritage projects across Australia.
This program forms part of the whole of government delivery of services to Indigenous Australians, and contributes to the Australian Government’s initiative of Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage. As well as delivering strong heritage outcomes, the Indigenous Heritage Program delivers broader social, health and economic benefits which progress the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Closing the Gap targets. The program supports projects which provide Indigenous people with education, training, employment and business opportunities, and which foster Indigenous peoples’ aspirations to care for and reconnect with country and maintain their cultural traditions.
Making a difference
The quality and success of the program has been acknowledged nationally and internationally. The Indigenous Heritage Program was identified as one of the ‘things that work’ in the Productivity Commission’s report ‘Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2011.’ Many of the participants in Indigenous Heritage Program projects have gained short-term employment, as well as marketable skills which contribute to greater economic participation through training in site survey and recording techniques, database management and fencing skills. Some organisations have reported using the cultural knowledge captured through Indigenous Heritage Program identification projects to contribute to the creation of successful cultural heritage tourism businesses.
IHP projects have contributed to safe and supportive communities and community cohesion through enhanced respect for the cultural knowledge of Elders, and reinvigorated pride in culture. By assisting Indigenous people to access traditional lands to undertake cultural heritage activities IHP projects have also delivered improved health outcomes and healthier lifestyles for participants.
Indigenous Heritage Program projects have been highlighted in numerous academic journals and through papers presented overseas by heritage professionals involved in Indigenous Heritage Program projects. In 2011 the spectacular Gabarnmung rock art gallery in the Northern Territory, one of over four thousand rock art sites which the Jawoyn people have rediscovered through support of the Indigenous Heritage Program, received international media attention. It was featured on Oprah Winfrey’s ‘Ultimate Adventure in Australia’.
Projects funded through the Indigenous Heritage Program in 2011-12 include conservation works at heritage sites such as rock art sites and mission buildings identification surveys, production of conservation management plans for Indigenous heritage places, installation of interpretive signage, recording traditional knowledge of sites using video, audio and GPS technology, establishing a keeping place for sacred objects, database establishment, and educational museum displays.
Who can apply?
Incorporated organisations can apply for projects up to $100,000 (GST exclusive). Individual applicants will generally be eligible for funding up to $10,000. Applications for larger amounts may be considered where the applicant demonstrates special circumstances or a genuine requirement for additional funds. Eligible organisations may also apply for triennial funding up to $250,000 (GST exclusive) through one application, but with annual reporting on outcomes. The Indigenous Heritage Program Guide for Applicants provides details on funding conditions.
The IHP may also help identify places likely to have outstanding Indigenous heritage value to Australia suitable for inclusion on the National Heritage List. If you are interested in National Heritage Listing please call the department’s Heritage Division freecall number on 1800 982 280 before completing your submission to discuss thresholds, processes and implications for listing.