Historic township sublease over Mutitjulu

Release Date: 
16 March 2017
Media release

Anangu people living in the central Australian community of Mutitjulu will enjoy greater economic opportunities, localised decision-making and investment in housing, thanks to new township leasing arrangements finalised today.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, joined traditional owners and local residents in Mutitjulu today to celebrate the execution of a sublease that will deliver long-term, tradeable tenure arrangements for the community.

Mutitjulu is a community on Aboriginal land under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 that is part of the lease of the Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park to the Commonwealth Director of National Parks.

“The finalisation of this sublease means local Anangu residents will now be responsible for running their own community – not the Commonwealth Director of National Parks,” Minister Scullion said.

“This sublease will also promote economic and community development in Mutitjulu. Income from the sublease will flow back to the community to be used to support new business ventures, for instance in tourism, and invest in community infrastructure.

“The Coalition Government is committed to ensuring that traditional owners and communities are empowered to achieve what they want from their land.

“The Mutitjulu community told us they wanted localised decision-making to ensure more effective land administration. We have listened and will continue to work together to achieve this through the community-held township sublease.”

Minister Scullion said the execution of the sublease meant the Australian and Northern Territory governments were now in a position to proceed with a $10 million investment in housing in Mutitjulu. How this investment will be used will be decided in partnership with the community.

“Long-term tradeable tenure arrangement in Mutitjulu are needed to enable this investment and I am delighted this Government has been able to deliver a township sublease that works for the community so we can invest in much-needed housing infrastructure,” Minister Scullion said.

In addition, the Commonwealth is providing a $2 million Economic Development Fund to the community that will support the establishment of a community and business hub in Mutitjulu.

“Residents of Mutitjulu should have similar opportunities to start their own businesses and I am pleased to be able to support this initiative that will deliver jobs for the residents of this community,” Minister Scullion said.

Until now, Mutitjulu has been subject to unique tenure arrangements due to its location in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. This has meant that Mutitjulu has been unable to benefit from leasing arrangements in the same way that other communities in the Northern Territory have.

The Coalition Government and the Central Land Council will work with the community and traditional owners of Mutitjulu to establish an Aboriginal corporation to hold and administer the Mutitjulu sublease.

Initially, the Executive Director of Township Leasing will hold the sublease to ensure that Mutitjulu can start receiving the benefits of leasing immediately.

“This outcome is the result of many years of hard work and collaboration between the Mutitjulu community, traditional owners, the Central Land Council and the Coalition Government,” Minister Scullion said.

“It is another example of the Coalition delivering on its commitment to doing things with Indigenous communities to improve outcomes and work with traditional owners to deliver land reform that works for their community.

“I congratulate the Mutitjulu community and traditional owners on this historic achievement.”