Welcome to Country and Acknowledgment of Country

Aboriginal people are the traditional owners and custodians of this land and it is important that this special position is recognised and incorporated into official activities. This enables the wider community to pay their respects to Aboriginal people, share in Aboriginal culture and build respect and better relationships.

When organising a meeting, event or conference, it is respectful and good practice to recognise the traditional owners and original custodians of the land in which you are meeting on by arranging a Welcome to Country and/or Acknowledgement of Country.


A Welcome to Country ceremony is performed by an Aboriginal Elder, leader or person who is a descendant of the nation of the community in which you are meeting.

A Welcome to Country is usually organised through a Local Aboriginal Land Council. Visit the NSW Aboriginal Land Council website to find out about the Land Council for your area.

An Aboriginal person or group delivering a Welcome to Country or giving a cultural performance for an event must be remunerated accordingly.

Please ensure you have viewed your agencies Welcome to Country Policy.

An Acknowledgment of Country is a way that non-Aboriginal people can show respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and the ongoing relationship of traditional owners with the land.

It is a way to show respect for Aboriginal cultural heritage and the ongoing relationship of traditional custodians of the land and may be performed by any local Aboriginal person who need not be descended from that country. Additionally, a Chair or Speaker can begin the meeting or function by acknowledging that it is taking place in the country of the traditional owners and custodians.

A Chair, Speaker or senior leader should begin the meeting by acknowledging that the meeting is taking place in the country of the traditional custodians. Guidance on the wording of an Acknowledgement of Country statement is set out in your agency's Welcome to Country policy. To avoid causing offence where there is a potential or actual dispute around who the traditional owners and custodians are, those who acknowledge country can “acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of this land” without naming the nation or people. When in doubt regarding who the traditional owners and custodians of the land are, please contact the local Aboriginal Land Council in your area.


Include an Acknowledgement of Country in your email signature

Transport for NSW encourage all staff to include an Acknowledgement of Country in their email signature.

To create your email signature and include an Acknowledgement of Country, use the How to update your email signature guide located on the Transport for NSW templates Intranet pagepadlock.


For more information about Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country, refer to:

Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country guidelines and protocols (PDF, 183KB) padlock - Roads and Maritime Service
A guide to Aboriginal cultural protocols for NSW government sector events (PDF, 3.8MB) - NSW Public Service Commission

Aboriginal people are the traditional owners and custodians of this land and it is important that this special position is recognised and incorporated into official activities. This enables the wider community to pay their respects to Aboriginal people, share in Aboriginal culture and build respect and better relationships.

When organising a meeting, event or conference, it is respectful and good practice to recognise the traditional owners and original custodians of the land in which you are meeting on by arranging a Welcome to Country and/or Acknowledgement of Country.


A Welcome to Country ceremony is performed by an Aboriginal Elder, leader or person who is a descendant of the nation of the community in which you are meeting.

A Welcome to Country is usually organised through a Local Aboriginal Land Council. Visit the NSW Aboriginal Land Council website to find out about the Land Council for your area.

An Aboriginal person or group delivering a Welcome to Country or giving a cultural performance for an event must be remunerated accordingly.

Please ensure you have viewed your agencies Welcome to Country Policy.

An Acknowledgment of Country is a way that non-Aboriginal people can show respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and the ongoing relationship of traditional owners with the land.

It is a way to show respect for Aboriginal cultural heritage and the ongoing relationship of traditional custodians of the land and may be performed by any local Aboriginal person who need not be descended from that country. Additionally, a Chair or Speaker can begin the meeting or function by acknowledging that it is taking place in the country of the traditional owners and custodians.

A Chair, Speaker or senior leader should begin the meeting by acknowledging that the meeting is taking place in the country of the traditional custodians. Guidance on the wording of an Acknowledgement of Country statement is set out in your agency's Welcome to Country policy. To avoid causing offence where there is a potential or actual dispute around who the traditional owners and custodians are, those who acknowledge country can “acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of this land” without naming the nation or people. When in doubt regarding who the traditional owners and custodians of the land are, please contact the local Aboriginal Land Council in your area.


Include an Acknowledgement of Country in your email signature

Transport for NSW encourage all staff to include an Acknowledgement of Country in their email signature.

To create your email signature and include an Acknowledgement of Country, use the How to update your email signature guide located on the Transport for NSW templates Intranet pagepadlock.


For more information about Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country, refer to:

Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country guidelines and protocols (PDF, 183KB) padlock - Roads and Maritime Service
A guide to Aboriginal cultural protocols for NSW government sector events (PDF, 3.8MB) - NSW Public Service Commission

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Page last updated: 25 May 2018, 14:51