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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Commonwealth Caveated Property

The Australian Government has released new policy and guidelines on how it deals with Commonwealth caveats over Indigenous owned grant funded property.

Policy Statement

The new policy balances greater autonomy and economic empowerment with protecting service continuity and assets of significance. It allows the Government to consider removing caveats from Indigenous owned property purchased using grants made by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and its predecessor organisations.

Applications for caveat removal are assessed on a case by case basis. Further information on eligibility and assessment criteria is available in the Caveat Removal Guidelines.

Organisations can now apply online. There is an alternative hard copy of the Application Form DOCX 158KB available.

If you have questions about the process or documents, please email

Governance of the Project

A governance committee has overseen the development and implementation of the project. The committee includes consenting authorities and invited Indigenous representatives:

  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, now the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA)
  • Department of Health
  • Attorney-General’s Department
  • Department of Communications and the Arts
  • Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation
  • Indigenous Business Australia
  • Invited representatives from Aboriginal Housing Victoria, NSWALC and National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

With the guidance of the Governance Committee, the Department conducted a comprehensive consultation process to inform the new policy and guidelines. The new policy commits the Australian Government to three clear principles: 

  1. Supporting self-determination by maximising choice, flexibility, autonomy and economic independence for Indigenous organisations.
  2. Supporting the sustainability of assets for community benefit, to ensure the activation of cultural, legal, health, environmental, social and economic outcomes.
  3. Ensuring no organisation is disadvantaged through a new policy to deal with grant-funded properties.

The Agency thanks all members of the Governance Committee for their invaluable assistance, especially the independent representatives who gave generously of their time and expertise throughout the project.

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