Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Supporting jobs, protecting the environment on Tiwi

Expanded environmental management projects and employment for the people of Tiwi Islands will be funded through a $6 million grant from the Aboriginal Benefits Account (ABA) in the Northern Territory.

The Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC), which is already involved in land management on the Tiwi Islands, has been asked by the Government to administer the grant which will fund activities over four years.

Supporting around 15 full-time jobs, Tiwi Islanders will be employed as rangers on land and sea management projects.

Their work will include:

  • weed and feral animal control;
  • nursery propagation of plants for the revegetation of old mineral sand and gravel mining sites;
  • propagation of plants for food;
  • control of coastal erosion;
  • monitoring of water quality and biodiversity; and
  • fencing and site protection for threatened species including the red goshawk.

These projects are vital to protect and conserve the local environment, at the same time opening up economic opportunities for the people of the Tiwi Islands.

With the funding being provided by the Government, the ILC will work with traditional owners through the Tiwi Land Council to identify and then implement land management projects.

Already the ILC is supporting a plant propagation nursery at Milikapiti where nine local people are employed full time while receiving horticulture training through Charles Darwin University.

Today’s announcement will ensure that jobs are supported and importantly, that the significant environmental assets on the Islands are managed and protected.

The Government has decided against funding the commercial operations of Tiwi Plantations Corporation Pty Ltd (TPC).

The TPC had applied for funding from the Aboriginals Benefit Account to maintain the Tiwi forestry operations while they sought investors to take up a stake in the forestry enterprise.

Following the collapse of Great Southern, the Tiwi Land Council terminated the leases held by Great Southern and transferred the forestry operations to the TPC.

The commercial risks involved in the forestry project are substantial and best left to the private sector to assess and manage.