Cultural Protocols: Payments and Gifts

What are the Cultural Protocols surrounding Payments and Gifts that you should be aware of?

What are Cultural Protocols?

In our Cultural Awareness Training we cover some of the important Cultural Protocols to be aware of when working alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The important thing to know about Cultural Protocols is they are all about showing respect. It’s also important to remember that the Indigenous community is diverse and care should be taken not to to generalise. Whenever you are unsure about how to proceed, the best strategy is always to ask.

The focus of this article is the Cultural Protocols surrounding Payments and Gifts.


Just as you would expect to pay your accountant for their tax expertise, or lawyer for their legal expertise, you should expect to pay Indigenous people for their cultural expertise.

In providing cultural services such as Welcome to Country, artistic performances and ceremonies, and advice, it is important to acknowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are using their IP (Intellectual Property). As such, people should be appropriately reimbursed for their services. Fees should cover travel costs for Elders and their support persons as they may require special assistance to get to events.


While gifts are a lovely gesture they should never be given in lieu of payment for services. Gift giving plays an important role in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and in some cases their are complex cultural protocols around this practice. It is best to seek advice from the local community.

Do you have any questions about the Cultural Protocols surrounding Gifts and Payments, or any other aspect of working alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people? Now you can Ask Aunty.

Curious about how we can help ignite your Reconciliation Action Plan and create a more culturally aware and inclusive workplace? Contact us today and let’s explore what we can do together.

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