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Land rights reform includes new Aboriginal-controlled NT investment body

Land rights reform includes new Aboriginal-controlled NT investment body

Indigenous Affairs Economic Development Grants and Funding Land and Housing
Wednesday, 16 June 2021

National Indigenous Australians Agency

Land rights reform includes new Aboriginal-controlled NT investment body

During his attendance at the yearly Barunga Festival, Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, announced a series of reforms to Northern Territory Aboriginal land rights including the establishment of a new Aboriginal-controlled NT investment body.

Aboriginal people in the NT through their Land Councils have asked for and been partners in these reforms, which have been the subject of over 3 years of co-design.

Funded by the Aboriginal Benefit Account (ABA), the new body will empower Aboriginal people to invest in their communities and pass on these investments to their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to come.

The new body will receive an initial $500 million endowment to invest in Aboriginal businesses, community infrastructure and commercial projects in the NT. There will also be around $60 million per year for other payments to support local needs, like youth programs and community art centres, which will replace the current ABA grants program.

The establishment of this new body is consistent with the Government’s Closing the Gap commitments for shared decision making and aims to maximise the economic future of Aboriginal people, families and communities for generations to come.

Alongside the new body, there are also changes to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 including:

  • amendments to strengthen community entity township leasing, which is increasingly favoured by Aboriginal Territorians
  • activation of Aboriginal land potential by streamlining arrangements for exploration and mining licenses, while maintaining strong controls for Traditional Owners.

The Government will move to introduce legislation for these reforms in 2021.

More information on the changes, including a series of factsheets, is available on the Land and Housing webpage.