Traditional knowledge code for biodiscovery one step closer

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon

Queensland has taken the next step in ensuring its biodiscovery industry meets international standards with the Palaszczuk Government opening consultation on a code of practice and guidelines for traditional knowledge in biodiscovery.

Minister for Environment and Science Meaghan Scanlon said the consultation was part of reforming the Biodiscovery Act 2004, to better protect the knowledge of First Nations peoples’ while supporting the growth of Queensland’s biodiscovery industry.

“First Nations peoples’ are Australia’s earliest scientists, with detailed knowledge of this continent from its ancient past to the present,” Ms Scanlon said.

“The Palaszczuk Government is investing close to $1 billion to protect our environment and create jobs, and Queensland’s immense biodiversity holds potential for the discovery of plants and other organisms that can be used in pharmaceuticals, bioplastics, insecticides and other applications.

“This is about growing the industry in line with international standards for use of traditional knowledge.

“We hope to see more projects like the exciting work being done by the University of Queensland in partnership with the Indjalandji-Dhidhanu People, extracting nanofibres from spinifex, for use as an additive in latex products such as gloves.

“While recognising biodiscovery is valuable to our economy, science and our future, we also support and recognise First Nations peoples’ science, self-determination and protection of traditional knowledge,” Ms Scanlon said.

“Queensland was the first state to introduce biodiscovery legislation, and in 2020 the Biodiscovery Act was reformed to better protect First Nations peoples’ traditional knowledge.

“Through the Act, backed by the code and guidelines, Queensland can continue to be a leader in scientific discovery, fostering international collaborations and access to markets, opening up job opportunities, and, crucially, support First Nations peoples to benefit in the process.”

Submissions on the code and guidelines close on 28 May 2021.

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