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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

More information on ABA Grants

Indigenous AffairsGrants and Funding
Wednesday, 15 January 2020
Publication author(s):
National Indigenous Australians Agency
Publication abstract:

Information on the Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) grant funding application process.

Applications are now closed.

More information on ABA

The ABA is a Special Account that benefits Aboriginal people living in the NT, established as part of the arrangements under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, also known as the Land Rights Act.

The ABA receives monies from the Commonwealth based on the value of royalties generated from mining on Aboriginal land in the NT.

The ABA fund various activities with the most notable being the operations of the NT lands councils and ABA beneficial grants.  

The ABA beneficial grants are often referred to as ABA grants or simply ABA.

The ABA has been around in various formats for over 60 years and is well known for the support it has given to Aboriginal people in the NT.

All applications are reviewed by the ABA Advisory Committee (ABAAC).

ABAAC consider applications based on the benefit for Aboriginal people in the NT and then provide advice to the Minister. Members of the ABAAC are representatives from across the NT and are nominated by their respective land council.

ABA is delivered by funding rounds. Rounds are generally open for two months with a round at the start of the year and another in the middle of the year.

See Specific Advice for in-depth steps on ABA Grants.

Applicants can begin to prepare their proposal at any time, however it is recommended they contact the ABA team, once they have read the guidelines and application kit, on 1800 354 612 or prior to starting their online application.

Who can apply?

The preference is for ABA to be delivered by Indigenous owned or controlled organisations.

Indigenous individuals (sole traders) based in the NT are also encouraged to apply.

Applicants must have:

  • an ABN and be registered for GST
  • ‘full legal capacity’ to enter into an agreement with the Commonwealth

Applicants must not be:

Advice for State and NT government, non-Indigenous and/or interstate applicants

The preference is for non-Indigenous and/or non-NT based organisations to partner with NT based Indigenous organisations with the NT-Indigenous organisation submitting and managing the application. Whenever possible, it is preferred that partnership involves a skills transfer to the NT based Indigenous applicant.

 It is important to note that the preference is for:

  • Funding not to be requested for costs relating to non-Indigenous employment or non-Indigenous consultancy. If these costs are essential, then the preference is for these costs to be covered by the applicant either through financial co-contribution or in-kind contribution.
  • The application to identify any interstate or international travel in the budget. These will be considered by the delegate.
What projects are eligible?
  • Projects that have a start and end date. ABA funding is not for ongoing programmes.
  • Projects that will be delivered in the NT
  • Projects that are for the benefit of Aboriginal people
  • Projects that support the participation of Indigenous controlled organisations.
  • Projects that promote employment of Indigenous Australians.
  • Projects that demonstrate they are not the responsibility of mainstream funding.
  • Business projects that IBA consider are viable PDF | DOCX.
  • Land acquisition or agriculture projects that the ILSC consider are viable PDF | DOCX.
  • Projects that align with one of the four following categories:
    • Supporting Enterprises.
    • Supporting Community.
    • Supporting Culture, Language and Leadership.
    • Supporting Land, Sea and Waters Management and Use.
How to apply

Step 1

Read the information under the 'Who can Apply' expandable menu above.

Step 2

Read the 'specific advice' related to your type of project in the expandable menus above.

Step 3

Contact the ABA team on any business day of the year to talk through you proposal prior to starting your application.

Step 4

Read the ABA Application Kit PDF | DOCX before starting your application form. The application kit is based on the ABA Guidelines.

Note: if there is a discrepancy in the information provided, the ABA Grant Guidelines should be referred to as the primary source of information.

Step 5

Prepare your proposed budget for the life of the project using the proposed budget template XLS | PDF. Note: Formal quotes less than 12 months old will be required and attached to the application.

Step 6

Prepare your attachments:

  • Business Plan (for business applications over $250,000).
  • Project Management Plan (for non-business applications over $250,000).
  • IBA response to your proposal form PDF | DOCX (for business applicants).
  • ILSC response to your proposal form PDF | DOCX (for land acquisition and agriculture applicants).
  • Quotes less than 12 months old.
  • Letters of support from stakeholders.
  • Letters from partners (for joint or consortium applications).
  • Documents to support land tenure, use or access (for land dependant applications).

Step 7

Complete the application form.

Step 8

Allow a minimum of 14 weeks for your application to be considered and be aware the Agency will contact the primary person nominated in the application form.

Need assistance: Contact the ABA team on 1800 354 612 or

Note: If you do not have internet access, call the ABA Team for assistance.

How are applications assessed?
  • The Agency assesses every compliant application received by the closing date.
  • The Agency provides its assessment to the ABAAC for their consideration. The ABAAC reviews the proposal and provides advice to the Minister.
  • The Minister uses this information when deciding which applications will proceed to the negotiation of a funding agreement.
  • The assessment period takes approximately 14 weeks from the round closing.
  • Successful applicants will be notified in writing. If successful, you will be required to enter into a funding agreement with the Agency. You will need to meet the conditions included in your agreement. The Grant Agreement template PDF | DOCX is an example of the general conditions.
  • Unsuccessful applicants will also be notified in writing. Applicants will be able to request feedback in writing, via telephone or by meeting with the ABA team.
  • Note: you will need to be incorporated under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 or the Corporations Act 2001 if you:
    1. are an organisation, and
    2. receive more than $499,999 of Commonwealth funding in a financial year.
  • Successful proposals will also be posted to this webpage under the outcome of previous rounds and ABAAC communique tab.
Outcome of previous round and ABAAC Communique

A list of organisations recommended for funding in previous funding rounds is available:

ABAAC communiques

At the end of each meeting ABAAC develop a communique, which is also called the ABAAC message.

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