Progressing land claims to unlock economic opportunity

Release Date: 
20 December 2019
Media release

The Morrison Government has agreed to fund the Northern Land Council with an additional $3.95 million from the Aboriginals Benefit Account to progress 41 unresolved land claims and secure new economic opportunities in the Northern Territory.

The funding will employ lawyers to work full-time on the claims and cover operating costs associated with the work.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, said finalising land claims in the Northern Territory is important for all parties involved.

“Securing land is securing economic opportunities for Indigenous Australians supports community development and prosperity,” Minister Wyatt said.

“It means generations of Traditional Owners can benefit from the land and help maintain the ongoing cultural connection with the land.”

“I appreciate that land claims are complex and need to be settled comprehensively which is why this funding is critical.”

“It will allow the Northern Land Council to progress negotiations with stakeholders and undertake consultations with the claimant groups about a range of matters related to granting the claims, including the identification of sacred sites that may impact on future access.”

“The Northern Land Council’s work will provide certainty around those public and commercial access arrangements and support related survey work to be undertaken by the Australian Government so the land claims can progress.”

“This body of work will go a long way towards resolving the 41 land claims that remain outstanding across the Northern Territory.”

“I look forward to continuing to work through the issues with the Northern Territory Government and with the Northern Land Council to settle longstanding claims and I’m confident all stakeholders will work together in good faith to see these claims finalised.”

This operational funding is in addition to a $7.5 million grant provided in 2017 for initiatives that enabled the claimants to participate in commercial fisheries and marine resource management opportunities associated with many of the claims.”