ABPL90134 Planning Theory And History : Essay Fountain


1. ‘The planning profession cannot wait to simply comply with legal decisions, but must begin a process of fundamental change’. How might the planning profession better respond to Indigenous calls for justice? Draw on two examples to make your argument.




The Aboriginal people and Torres Strait have been marginalized and disposed of in the shoddier parts of Australian urban conurbations. Most of these cities and urban settlements exist on Aboriginal traditional lands. Australian planning does not recognize the Autochthonous presence, tenure, and governance in Australian territory.  The urban planning profession should respond to indigenous calls for justice through the understanding of initial provision modus operandi in the theft of land from the Indigenous people and Native title claims.

Understanding of modus operandi in theft of land

The planning profession should respond by understanding the history of land theft from the Aboriginal people. This is through the course of Australian history how the planning process to marginalize the indigenous people. Through consideration, they will have a say in urban policy and planning that impacts their lives deeply. “Theologically, reconciliation brings public relationships into what Hally (1998) calls ‘the Christ narrative of passion, death and resurrection’ in which the perpetrators of injustice repent and seek forgiveness” (O Sullivan 2017).This reconciliation will allow for professionals practicing planners to have interaction with the Autochthonous people on issues of urban planning.

Understanding that “ indigeneity is a developing theory of justice and political strategy used by indigenous people to craft their own terms of belonging to the nation state as first peoples” (O Sullivan 2017). This will allow for the planning profession to disallow the perception that indigenous people have no authentic land in urban areas. This allows them to cognize the theft of land from Aborigine people and the land injustices to respond to indigenous calls. They should fathom the prior existence of the ongoing stewardship of Australian lands and waters are not taken into consent by the planning profession.

Modus operandi theft of land from the aboriginal people led to development of cities and urban settlements for immigrants. This cities and urban settlements were used to marginalize and oppress indigenous people the Australian. This will show “that indigenous poverty differs from other Australian poverty in both the extent of financial stress and the nature of poverty and disadvantage experienced” (Boyd &Nicholas 2012). The Australian planning profession should consider that indigenous people need to have better housing projects that are affordable to them. This will be a proper method to respond to native calls for justice.  

Native titles:

To respond to calls of justice from indigenous people the planning profession should recognize native land titles. This through recognizing that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have civil liberties and welfares to land and waters per the traditional laws and customs of Australia. This means that indigenous people are citizens of Australia since “it is an ideological and power laden concept which can exacerbate, exaggerate or mediate tensions over distribution of power and authority” (O Sullivan 2017).  It shows that the law should recognize Indigenous people and Torres Strait islanders having civil rights and benefits in land and water despite their settlement.

“The closing the gaps agenda is the latest manifestation of the desire to understand indigenous disadvantage in terms of clear, well defined and measurable outcomes that can inform and, in some sense , is amenable to policy actions.”(Boyd & Nicholas 2012). This means that the indigenous people are to be understood in the urban planning profession under Australian legal systems. Planning professionals should recognize native titles claims to land should be through negotiation and consent rather than litigation.  In responding to native titles it will help build a climate that is respectful and conducive to indigenous people for recovering terra nullius.

Australia is a liberal country where “Citizenship defines the terms of belonging to the modern state” (O Sullivan 2017). This means that the planning profession should recognize that indigenous citizens are “not always affirm indigenous human dignity, equality or personal sovereignty” (O Sullivan 2017). There are unscrupulous people also in the planning profession that swindle indigenous people out of their native titles such as long court battles and court orders. This hinders native Australians from claiming their native lands thus the planning profession should respond to such injustices.  


The response from the planning profession towards the indigenous calls for justice is by recognizing the Aboriginal people and Torres Islanders to hold native titles. Due to their marginalization and segregation through land injustices, planning professionals should show a just way of planning. Though there is little success for native land recognition and early planning techniques of theft of land through legislative land grants should be recognized. Planning in Australia should not be silent on all these issues and should aptly to these calls of injustice.



Hunter, B., & Biddle, N. (2012). Survey Analysis for Indigenous Policy in Australia: Social Sciences Perspectives. Australia: ANU Press.

O’Sullivan, Dominic.(2017) Indigeneity: a Politics of Potential: Australia, Fiji and New Zealand. 1st ed., Bristol: Bristol University Press, Policy Press

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