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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Land rights reforms introduced to Parliament to empower Aboriginal Territorians

Land rights reforms introduced to Parliament to empower Aboriginal Territorians

Indigenous Affairs Economic Development Grants and Funding Land and Housing
Friday, 27 August 2021

National Indigenous Australians Agency

Legislation introduced for new Aboriginal-controlled Investment Body in the NT

On 25 August 2021, almost 55 years to the day after the Wave Hill walk-off paved the way for Aboriginal land rights in the Northern Territory, the Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP has introduced a new set of reforms into the parliament.

Known as the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment (Economic Empowerment) Bill 2021, the reforms have been developed in partnership with the four Northern Territory Land Councils over three years.

Consistent with the Government’s Closing the Gap commitments, these reforms establish a new, Aboriginal-controlled body called the Northern Territory Aboriginal Investment Corporation (NTAIC). This investment body will strategically invest money from the Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) into projects that maximise the economic future of Aboriginal families and communities in the Northern Territory, for generations to come.

The NTAIC 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 the first three years and ongoing funding for other payments to support local needs, like youth programs and community art centres, which will replace the current ABA grants program.

The reforms also modernise and streamline the provisions relating to exploration and mining on Aboriginal land while maintaining the rights of Traditional Owners, and support improved land administration and local decision making.

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

Find out more about the Bill on the Parliament House website and in Minister Wyatt's media release.