Aboriginal heritage & engagement

Our relationship with Aboriginal people seeks to respect and recognise the heritage values of the Perth Airport estate and to make a positive contribution to the Aboriginal community of Western Australia.

Our relationship with Aboriginal people seeks to respect and recognise the heritage values of the Perth Airport estate and to make a positive contribution to the Aboriginal community of Western Australia. The land on which Perth Airport is located forms part of the traditional network of communication routes, meeting places and camping sites of the Noongar people. As the Traditional Custodians of the land, the Noongar people maintain a strong interest in the Perth Airport estate and its management.

Reconciliation Action Plan

Perth Airport acknowledges the strong cultural and spiritual connection that the Whadjuk people and other members of the Noongar Nation have to the airport estate. Reconciliation is about connections and our vision for our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is to connect with the First Nations peoples of Australia in genuine and meaningful ways.

Perth Airport’s Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan 2021 – 2023 is available here.

Heritage management

A number of archaeological and ethnographic sites have been identified on the estate and are registered on the Western Australian Department of Aboriginal Affairs’ Register of Aboriginal Sites.

The Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (AH Act) protects places and objects that may be of significance to people of Aboriginal descent in Western Australia. All Aboriginal heritage sites that meet Section 5 of the Act on the airport estate are protected, whether or not they are included in the Register of Aboriginal Sites.

Partnership Agreement

The strong connection between members of the Noongar community and the land on which Perth Airport is situated is recognised in a Partnership Agreement that was reached in 2009 between Perth Airport, the Traditional Custodians and other Aboriginal community members.

The Partnership Agreement was reached in a spirit of cooperation and commitment to fostering cultural heritage, as our development progresses.

Parties to the Agreement meet regularly to discuss airport planning, cultural awareness activities, cultural history, and Aboriginal sponsorship and tertiary scholarship opportunities.

WAITOC Membership

The Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council (WAITOC) is the peak representative for Aboriginal tours and experiences in Western Australia, promoting authentic cultural experiences at a State, national and international level. Perth Airport is proudly an Associate Member of WAITOC.

Indigenous Art Code

Perth Airport became a Supporter Member of the Indigenous Art Code Limited (IartC) in August 2022.  Through this membership, Perth Airport is committed to promoting fair trade in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artwork, particularly art products targeting the tourist market.  Perth Airport has engaged with its retail partners to encourage alignment to the Code in order to provide our customers confidence that the products available for sale in the airport are fairly and ethically sourced.

Dual Naming Gates

In November 2021, Perth Airport became the first major airport in Australia to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of destinations across Australia, by showing both the commonly used name of the destination, along with the name of the Traditional Custodians of that place.

Displayed on the Flight Information screens at each boarding gate, the initiative was rolled out across Terminal 1 Domestic, Terminal 3 and Terminal 4.

The list used to identify the place names identifies the names of language groups for Traditional Custodians rather than Cultural Blocks or actual place names. The list was determined using the AITSIS map of Indigenous Australia and information published by the National Native Title Tribunal.

Terminal 2 was not included in the roll out as there are no screens at the Gates within the walkways.

Terminal 1 International features a Welcome to Country for Arrivals but all destination ports from this terminal are international.

NAIDOC Week celebrations

Each year, we celebrate NAIDOC Week (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) across the airport estate with a unique display of Aboriginal art and a range of other activities for the enjoyment of passengers, visitors and staff. NAIDOC Week is recognised nationally as an occasion to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Indigenous Australians.

Edith Cowan University Scholarship Program

In partnership with Edith Cowan University (ECU), Perth Airport annually awards two scholarships to first year Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students undertaking studies at ECU at a special ceremony during NAIDOC Week.