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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Commonwealth Rights and Interests in Indigenous Property Fact Sheet

Indigenous AffairsLand and HousingCommonwealth Caveated Property
Wednesday, 11 November 2020
Publication author(s):
National Indigenous Australians Agency
Publication abstract:

The Australian Government has funded the purchase of many properties for Indigenous organisations over the past 40 years, through grants processes. The Government does not hold continuing interests over most of these properties.

The Australian Government has funded the purchase of many properties for Indigenous organisations over the past 40 years, through grants processes. The Government does not hold continuing interests over most of these properties.

Caveats over Indigenous property

  • As at 1 July 20191 the Australian Government held caveats over 2800 grant-funded freehold property titles owned by 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations. Most of these properties were funded before 2005. Half are owned by 40 Aboriginal organisations.

A map of Australia showing locations of properties with Commonwealth Interests

  • 2400 properties are Indigenous community housing owned by 284 organisations.
  • The remaining 400 properties enable service delivery or provide staff housing in areas such as health, legal aid, training and administration, or provide economic benefit e.g. farms or properties housing businesses.
  • A small proportion of the properties are located in cities (12%)—most are in regional (64%) or remote (23%) areas.

1As the caveat removal process progresses, these numbers will reduce.

New South Wales

  • 164 organisations own 1031 caveated properties in New South Wales, including 87% community housing owned by 117 organisations.
  • 59 Local Aboriginal Land Councils own 324 caveated properties.

Queensland

  • 92 organisations own 840 caveated properties in Queensland, including 95% community housing owned by 71 organisations.

Victoria

  • 27 organisations own 455 caveated properties in Victoria, including 90% community housing owned by 21 organisations.

Tasmania

  • 10 organisations own 140 caveated properties in Tasmania, including 95% community housing owned by 7 organisations.

Western Australia

  • 76 organisations own 316 caveated properties in Western Australia, including 73% community housing owned by 43 organisations.
  • 16% of properties owned by 24 organisations were funded to support training and commercial activities, mostly under the former Community Development Employment Projects programme (CDEP).

South Australia and Northern Territory

  • There are very few caveated properties in South Australia and the Northern Territory, as most capital grants have been made on Indigenous-owned land.
  • 33 organisations own 110 caveated properties in South Australia.
  • 13 organisations own 25 caveated properties in the Northern Territory.
  • These properties include community service facilities (including health, legal aid, youth, education, training, staff housing), buildings operating commercial activities, and a small number of community houses.

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