Statement on the Aboriginal Land Commissioner’s Report on Review of Detriment

Release Date: 
21 February 2019
Media release

Today the Aboriginal Land Commissioner’s Report on review of detriment – Aboriginal land claims recommended for grant but not yet finalised was tabled in the Parliament.
 
The report provides advice on 16 longstanding Aboriginal land claims, from as early as 1981, in the Northern Territory and the impact of any future grant of Aboriginal land.
 
The Coalition Government made a commitment to resolve outstanding land claims to ensure the appropriate recognition of Aboriginal land for traditional owners and certainty for all stakeholders, including important Territory industries.
 
I am committed to working with all Territorians to consider in practical and reasonable ways, how the recognition of Aboriginal land can be progressed in a way that manages detriment issues with people, businesses and communities that live on or use the land or water.
 
All parties with an interest in the land claims reported on by the Commissioner will be given the opportunity to comment on the report before I make any decision about whether to proceed with the recommendations for grants of land under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.
 
It is critical that this many years into the process we do all we can to help settle outstanding claims to provide certainty and opportunity to all Territorians. I also maintain my commitment to work with all stakeholders to ensure that detriment issues are resolved.
 
My commitment to the resolution of outstanding land claims has been supported by additional investment in the Aboriginal Land Commissioner, Northern Territory Land Councils and other stakeholders.
 
It is critical that all stakeholders are able to participate in this important process if we are going to be able to resolve outstanding land claims that have been unresolved for decades.
 
The issues outlined in the Commissioner’s Report predominantly relate to potential impacts on recreational and commercial access to waterways in land claim areas, particularly in relation to fishing, pastoral and tourism activities.
 
The Aboriginal Land Commissioner, the Hon John Mansfield AM QC, is an independent statutory office holder responsible for undertaking inquiries into traditional land claims in the Northern Territory.
 
A copy of the Report is available at: https://www.pmc.gov.au/indigenous-affairs/land/aboriginal-land-commissioner