NT takes action to resolve all land claims

The Northern Territory has proposed a partnership with the Commonwealth, traditional owners, land councils and other stakeholders aimed at resolving all outstanding land claims.

The NT Aboriginal Land and Sea Action Plan was unveiled in Alice Springs on April 11 by Aboriginal affairs minister Selena Uibo, who said the plan would deliver on the economic and social aspirations of Aboriginal Territorians by supporting land and sea ownership.

Selena Uibo

“We have consulted widely in the development of this plan, not just with land owners and land councils, but with key stakeholder groups, representing pastoralists, tourism operators, miners and fishers,” she said.

“While everyone has their own priorities and views, taking a partnership approach where possible on these big issues will not just benefit Aboriginal Territorians, but all Territorians.”

Most of NT set to become subject to native title

Currently 48 per cent of the NT and 80 per cent of its coastline has been granted as Aboriginal land under the Land Rights Act. Most of the remaining land is, or is likely to become, subject to native title, the government says.

Of 249 land claim applications submitted under the Land Rights Act, 41 remain unresolved.

Under the Native Title Act, there have been 106 determinations of native title in the NT. As of January there were 55 active applications.

“The commonwealth has indicated that the resolution of all outstanding land claims is a high priority, and the NT government has developed a detailed work plan towards resolving all outstanding land claims with assistance from the land councils,” the report says.

A spokeswoman told Government News there is no time frame for finalising the outstanding claims.

A ten-point-plan

The ten-point action plan also includes developing a whole-of-government native title policy framework and developing a “strategic approach” to the post-mining future of the towns of Jabiru, Nhulunbuy and Alyangula, which will eventually revert to or become Aboriginal land.

The government will also work with land councils to develop long-term leasing options and community development on Aboriginal land.

Plans to reinvigorate joint management of National Parks, fund land and sea management projects and improve opportunities for carbon abatement on Aboriginal land are also included, as well as developing an Aboriginal contracting framework.

The NT government will also introduce legislation to recognise the role of Aboriginal Rangers and give them greater power over Aboriginal country, under the plan.

The Action Plan is part of the NT Government’s revamped Aboriginal Affairs Strategy, which also covers housing and homelands policies.

The plan is available here.

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