Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Historic Heads of Agreement signed for Kenbi Land Claim

Joint Media Release with:

  • Julia Gillard, MP
    Warren Snowdon, MP
    Paul Henderson, MLA

The Australian and the Northern Territory Governments and the Northern Land Council today signed an historic agreement that paves the way for the resolution of the Kenbi (Cox Peninsula) Land Claim.

The Kenbi Land Claim, lodged in 1979, is one of the longest running land claims under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.

The Heads of Agreement outlines the transfer to the Northern Territory Government of certain Commonwealth properties in the northern portion of the area subject to the Claim, by 30 September 2011.

Most of this land will subsequently be transferred, as Northern Territory freehold land, for development by the Larrakia Development Corporation.

This is in line with the innovative framework agreed between the Northern Territory Government and the Northern Land Council in 2009.

Other land in the northern portion of the claim area will be transferred to an Aboriginal land trust to be established under Northern Territory legislation.

This is a historic day for the Larrakia people and a milestone in the history of Aboriginal land rights in Australia.

This Agreement will allow Larrakia traditional owners greater opportunities for economic development including those linked to future expansion of Darwin on the Cox Peninsula.

A section of land on the western side of the Cox Peninsula requiring significant remediation will continue to be held by the Australian Government pending assessment and further consultations.

Following the finalisation of surveying and associated processes, the southern portion of land will be considered by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, for grant as Aboriginal land under the Land Rights Act.

The Heads of Agreement provides for the negotiation of leaseback arrangements to the Australian Government, ensuring the ongoing operation of essential Commonwealth facilities and enabling remediation work to continue.

This announcement follows many years of negotiation.

In 2000, the Aboriginal Land Commissioner recommended that a substantial area of the land under Claim be granted as Aboriginal land.

In 2009, the Northern Territory Government and Northern Land Council announced an In Principle Agreement.

The Australian Government congratulated parties on reaching a negotiated outcome and undertook to finalise outstanding issues in relation to the Claim.

The Australian Government acknowledges the significance of this historic outcome for the Larrakia people who have fought long and hard for recognition of their traditional lands.