The Office of Aboriginal Affairs is the primary resource for advice to Government on policy issues affecting Aboriginal communities in Tasmania.

Like the Australian Government, the Tasmanian Government uses a three part test to determine eligibility for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and services.

  • The three part test requires a person to:
  1. have Aboriginal ancestry, and
  2. self-identify as an Aboriginal person, and
  3. be recognised as an Aboriginal person by the Aboriginal community in which they live or have lived.

People found to be eligible under the previous Tasmanian Government Policy on Eligibility for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specific programs and services are not required to complete the eligibility form to access programs and services.

Applicants need to complete an ELIGIBILITY FORM For Tasmanian Government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs and services.


  • Tasmanian Government programs and services which only require self-identification will continue to only require self-identification.

Tasmanian Information and Research Service (TIRS) is the contact point for people needing assistance to research their family history.

Contact TIRS via email on or phone (03) 6165 5538

What is a Welcome to Country?

A Welcome to Country is given by Aboriginal people, welcoming visitors to their Land. Only Tasmanian Aboriginal people can give a Welcome to Country in Tasmania. It is highly disrespectful for anyone else to do so.

A Welcome to Country might involve:

  • A speech from a Tasmanian Aboriginal Elder or Community representative
  • Short history of the people and the area
  • Story telling
  • Singing and dancing
  • Ceremony

This depends on who is giving the Welcome to Country, and to whom it will be given.

What is Country?

Tasmanian Aboriginal people have a distinctive and age-old connection with their ancestral lands and waters. They are custodians with particular responsibilities. When an Aboriginal person talks of ‘Country’; this encompasses not only the land and water but also culture, knowledge, and the environment.

When should a Welcome to Country be given?

A Welcome to Country may be given at an event, conference, meeting or exhibition regardless of whether there is an Aboriginal focus or if there are Aboriginal people present.

How do I organise a Welcome to Country?

The Office of Aboriginal Affairs is able to assist with information and direction regarding a Welcome to Country, or an Acknowledgment of Country.

What is an Acknowledgement of Country?

An Acknowledgement of Country is respect and recognition of Tasmanian Aboriginal peoples’ survival and continual connection with the land spanning more than 40,000 years. An Acknowledgement of Country pays respect to Aboriginal people present.

When should an Acknowledgement of Country be given?

An Acknowledgment of Country can be given at an official opening, meeting, concert, school assembly, or other event. Any person can give an Acknowledgement of Country.

In the absence of a Welcome to country, an Acknowledgment of Country may be given; and it should be the first item on the agenda. Speakers also often acknowledge Country as they speak for the first time (even though a Welcome to Country or Acknowledgement of Country may have already been given).

Types of Acknowledgement

  • I acknowledge and pay respect to the elders that are here today, I acknowledge those who have passed before us and acknowledge Tasmanian Aboriginal people who are attending this event.

If no Aboriginal people are at the event, the following wording could be used:

  • I acknowledge and pay respect to the Tasmanian Aboriginal people as the traditional and original owners, and continuing custodians of this land on which we gather today and acknowledge Elders – past and present.

A combination of these acknowledgments may also be used.

  • (for Hobart) I pay respect to the traditional and original owners of this land the muwinina (mou wee nee nar) people, - to pay respect to those that have passed before us and to acknowledge today’s Tasmanian Aboriginal people who are the custodians of this land.


Guide for Acknowledgement and Welcome to Country

The Guide for Acknowledgement of Aboriginal People and Country and Welcome to Country (the Guide) has been designed as a tool for State Service agencies to develop consistent whole-of-Government practices that support all employees to know when, how and why they should consider an Acknowledgement of Aboriginal People and Country or a Welcome to Country ceremony.

For any additional information or assistance contact the Office of Aboriginal Affairs.

Office of Aboriginal Affairs

Phone: 03 6165 8366

Community grants are available from the Department of Communities Tasmania. Contact to be notified of grants available to community organisations.

The importance of maintaining Tasmanian Aboriginal cultural activities such as mutton birding is recognised and supported by the Tasmanian Government by issuing permits to Aboriginal people to undertake cultural mutton birding.

The Aboriginal community has undertaken cultural mutton birding annually at Fort Direction, South Arm since 1999 through the permit system.

The Nature Conservation Act allows cultural activities on Aboriginal land without a permit or licence. Various permits are issued under the Act for cultural practices on other land.

Special permits under the Wildlife (General) Regulations 2010 of the Nature Conservation Act are issued by Department of Natural Resources Environment Tasmania 's Natural and Cultural Heritage Division.

Contact: Wildlife Clerk, phone 03 6165 4305 or email: