Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, and traditional owners in the remote Northern Territory community of Gunbalanya have reached a significant milestone in negotiations for a 99 year township lease, with the signing of an Agreement in Principle.
The Agreement in Principle acknowledges that agreement has been reached on key terms of the proposed township lease.
Minister Scullion said the signing of the Agreement in Principle is an important step forward for the town of Gunbalanya.
“Township leasing strikes a balance between preserving traditional ownership of Aboriginal land, while making it possible for people to obtain long term individual property rights in order to obtain a loan for a home or business,” Minister Scullion said.
“By streamlining the leasing process, a township lease can make it easier for Indigenous people to use Aboriginal land for economic means.
“The terms agreed to in principle will support economic development opportunities for the community. These include a lease term of 99 years, an Economic Development Fund which will be used for projects that deliver long-term community benefits, an Advance Payment of anticipated rent to traditional owners and a town lease boundary.
“It has also been agreed that any money paid under the Housing Precinct Lease as a result of the township lease will be used to support better housing outcomes in Gunbalanya.”
Traditional owners and others will have a key role in the administration of the township lease through a Consultative Forum, which will advise the Executive Director of Township Leasing on land use.
Advanced negotiations on the detail of the proposed township lease will continue and the Northern Land Council must complete statutory consultation processes before a final agreement can be signed.
“Community members will have the opportunity to be involved in consultations about the township lease and its finalisation,” Minister Scullion said.
Township leasing is an existing provision available to traditional owners under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.
Download media release:
2014-08-18 SCULLION MR – Gunbalanya Township Lease.pdf