Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Reforming community living area land in the Northern Territory

Joint Media Release with:

  • Warren Snowdon MP
    Minister for Indigenous Health
    Member for Lingiari

The Australian Government is proposing reforms to support more economic development opportunities for Aboriginal people living in community living areas in the Northern Territory.

A community living area is a small portion of land granted out of a pastoral lease and granted as conditional freehold to an Aboriginal community or family for residential purposes. There are more than 100 Aboriginal communities on community living area land in the Northern Territory.

As part of our $3.4 billion, 10-year commitment under Stronger Futures, the Government is working with communities to extend opportunities for voluntary leasing to increase economic development in Aboriginal communities.

Under current Northern Territory legislation there are restrictions on how community living area land can be used, even when the land owner agrees they want to put it to a different use.

Currently, leases are not able to be granted by community living area land owners for commercial development, private home ownership and some government services.

For example, community living area land owners cannot lease their land for a childcare centre or a community store, or for certain government infrastructure such as police stations.

The Community Living Area Land Reform in the Northern Territory Outcomes Paper, released by the Government today, details the feedback received from Aboriginal people, land councils, the Northern Territory Government and the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s association during discussions held earlier this year.

The feedback from Aboriginal people was clear, consistent and widespread. People want to be able to pursue economic development opportunities on community living area land.

The Outcomes Paper explains proposed reforms including allowing community living area land owners to grant leases for a broader range of purposes, including for commercial, infrastructure and public purposes.

Other reforms include reducing red tape by relaxing the requirements for Northern Territory Ministerial consent for leases.

The Outcomes Paper includes draft regulations to implement some of the proposed reforms. Written feedback on the draft regulations closes on 5 July 2013.

Submissions are also open on broader issues raised in the Outcomes Paper, particularly on longer term reform options, which close on 30 September 2013.

The Government will hold further consultations on community living area land reform options after considering the feedback received from the Outcomes Paper.

The Outcomes Paper and draft regulations are available at