2648

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Submission Number
2648
Participant
Intrepid Travel
Submission date
Main Submission Automated Transcript

Who we are

Intrepid Travel is a majority Australian-owned global tour operator and certified B Corp. Responsible business
– a commitment to purpose, people, and planet – is at the core of everything we do. It has been for the over
30 years we’ve been operating, with a vision to change the way people see the world.

We believe in the power of travel to make a real difference. That’s why we invest in local communities,
support human rights initiatives and wildlife conservation projects, and work to protect the environment. We
were the first global tour operator to ban elephant rides, have been carbon neutral since 2010, and in 2020
became the first global tour operator with verifiable science-based climate action targets through the
Science Based Targets initiative.

But we believe we can and need to do more.

Our commitment

Intrepid works to bring the stories and experiences of local and indigenous cultures to the front of tourism
experiences across the globe. As an Australian-owned business there is nothing more important to us than
giving agency to our own First Nation peoples over their stories and culturally significant sites. Australia has a
rich and deep cultural history that is globally recognised as the oldest on earth. We must give traditional
owners the direct involvement in structuring policy and legislation that effects their connections to land and
protection of culture. First and foremost for the benefit of all indigenous communities, but also for all those
who wish to experience and learn.

Our Australian head office is based in Melbourne, on the custodial lands of the Wurundjeri and Boon
Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation, and our Australian tours cross a great number of Aboriginal nations
across Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been here for over 65,000 years. Their
culture, knowledge, way of life and rich history is the foundation of our nation and deserves to be celebrated
and respected.

Intrepid is committed to reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-
Indigenous peoples, and in 2020 we embarked on our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), stage 2 of
our 4-stage commitment.

We acknowledge the devasting and lasting effects that colonialism, land dispossession and racism has had on
First Nations peoples of Australia, and we support the Uluru Statement from the Heart which calls for a First
Nations Voice to Parliament, enshrined in the Constitution, and a Markarrata Commission for “agreement
making and truth telling”. Voice, Truth, Treaty.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples have suffered a long history of dispossession, disparity, and
exclusion from Australian democracy at the hands of colonisation. Indeed, it’s been almost 30 years since the
1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, and yet in March and April of 2021 alone there
have been 7 First Nations deaths in custody. Further, the First Peoples of Australia are proportionally the
most incarcerated in the world.

Level 7, 567 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia | www.intrepidtravel.com
Intrepid is a proud member of the Intrepid Group, the global leader in delivering sustainable experience-rich travel.
The confronting reality is that there is a fundamental social, economic and political gap that remains
between our First Nations people and non-Indigenous Australians and to address this we need structural
changes to the systems that oppress First Nations people.

A Voice to Parliament

The Uluru Statement from the Heart provides us with a clear step toward reconciliation between First
Nations people and non-Indigenous people, calling for a First Nations Voice to Parliament, enshrined in the
Constitution. It is the result of over ten years of work between First Nations peoples and to date, is the most
cohesive representation of the wishes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In Australia’s recent history Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices have largely been absent from the
decision-making processes that govern their lives, to their detriment and to the detriment of the wider
Australian society and the environment.

The world is in a place where we can learn so much about living in harmonious connection to land, water and
culture in our country. A Voice to Parliament will provide a platform for these conversations, and a process
for all Australians to benefit from knowledge that the custodians of country have.

Our recommendation support

To this end, we support the following recommendations:

1. Constitutional recognition:

Having a Voice to Parliament enshrined in the constitution is essential if we are to come together as equals,
and if we are to uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), which
includes the right to self-determination.

The design of the Australian constitution was so that it purposely excluded First Nations peoples and their
rights. We must ensure that the way forward is a protected Voice for Australia’s first nations peoples and not
merely symbolic.

A law passed in constitution is the only way to safely ensure that:

1. These acts are the Voice of the Australian people

2. They can only be changed or undone by the collective agreement of the Australian people.

Without constitutional enshrinement the Voice will not have legitimacy and will not be protected from
Parliamentary abolishment.

Level 7, 567 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia | www.intrepidtravel.com
Intrepid is a proud member of the Intrepid Group, the global leader in delivering sustainable experience-rich travel.
2. Referendum

A referendum to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament should only be held once sufficient public
education has occurred to ensure a ‘yes’ vote, and once the model for the Voice is agreed in a manner
acceptable to Indigenous stakeholders.

3. Representation

The membership model should ensure that the National Voice is representative of First Nations Peoples,
including previously unheard voices and emerging leaders alongside the voices of established leadership
figures – elders to align with traditional cultural protocols and the principle of ‘cultural leadership’.

We believe we all have a role to actively support the voices and actions of First Nations Peoples. We cannot
be a proud Australia until we recognise and give voice to all Australians.

James Thornton
Chief Executive Officer, Intrepid Travel

Level 7, 567 Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia | www.intrepidtravel.com
Intrepid is a proud member of the Intrepid Group, the global leader in delivering sustainable experience-rich travel.