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Media Release by The Hon Mal Brough MP

New Aboriginal land deal for Galiwin’ku

A plan to turn the isolated Aboriginal settlement of Galiwin’ku in the Northern Territory into a normal Australian town has been unveiled by Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough.

Around fifty houses will be built and real jobs provided, if the community is safe and signs up to full school attendance, a no-drugs no-violence policy and agree to a 99 year lease to support home ownership and business development opportunities.

"The Commonwealth commitment is dependent on the Northern Territory Government being prepared to provide police, good teachers and classrooms and decent health services – territory government responsibilities," Mr Brough said.

Galiwin’ku was the first Aboriginal community that Mr Brough visited when he became Minister for Indigenous Affairs. He returned last weekend, as promised, to present a comprehensive plan for discussion with the community. He was accompanied by the Chairman and CEO of the Northern Land Council and AFL legend, Michael Long.

"There was a lot of interest and people were genuinely excited. These people have spent too long without any opportunities – no one can own a house or a business.

"Signing up to a 99 year lease in the township is not giving up rights. Most of the people living in Galiwin’ku, are in fact, not traditional owners. But they recognise that their other citizens should have rights also. The traditional owners would be able to set the conditions that would apply to leases in the township. They would receive fair rental for their land and they would still hold the underlying title.

"This is all about choice. The people of Galiwin’ku can either keep going on the same old path with a few houses every year where people have little chance of improving their lot or start off on a new future for their children and their children’s children."

Mr Brough said his department, the Northern Land Council and Indigenous Business Australia will be discussing the proposals and answering questions with the community.

"I will come back in two months to hear their decision."

Galiwin’ku plan – Responsibilities

The Australian Government will –

  • Provide for around fifty houses;
  • Train local people and pay them to build new houses and fix broken houses;
  • Provide more money through CDEP and no more sit-down money;
  • Pay for more land and sea rangers and more people with NORFORCE;
  • Assist business and provide paid jobs; and
  • Assist people to purchase houses.

We have asked the Northern Territory Government to –

  • Make it a safe community, including the provision of police;
  • Provide enough good teachers, classrooms and equipment at the school; and
  • Provide decent health services.

We have asked the Galiwin’ku people to –

  • Make children attend school each day and help them with their homework;
  • Say no to drugs and violence; and
  • Support traditional owners who lease their land to local people.