Celebrations have been held on the Tiwi Islands today to mark the execution of a township lease over Pirlangimpi and the success of the township lease covering Wurrumiyanga.
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, joined with Pirlangimpi community members and the Munupi traditional owners to celebrate the township lease over their community.
“The lease covering the Pirlangimpi community will put in place long-term tenure arrangements, providing the necessary security to support economic development, home ownership as well as critical community infrastructure,” Minister Scullion said.
“This township lease will also underpin more than $15 million in housing investment under the Remote Housing Strategy, a new subdivision for future development and a $2 million economic development fund to support commercial development opportunities in Pirlangimpi.
“This is the first time the administration of a lease on Tiwi Islands can be transferred to the traditional owners and community members. This means that traditional owners and community members will be directly responsible for making decisions about what they want from their land.
“The Executive Director of Township Leasing will hold the township lease to ensure that Pirlangimpi can start receiving the benefits of the leasing immediately.
“Munupi traditional owners and Pirlangimpi community members told us they want to work toward local control when it comes to land decisions in their communities. We have listened and the Coalition Government looks forward to working together towards the establishment of an Aboriginal corporation to hold and administer the Pirlangimpi township lease.”
Minister Scullion also visited Wurrumiyanga to celebrate with Mantiyupwi traditional owners the great outcomes created by the township lease that covers their community. Rental income generated by subleases has now repaid the initial advance payment that was made to the traditional owners of Wurrumiyanga for its township lease.
Traditional owners will now receive annual rental income that can be used to invest in business or community development activities in Wurrumiyanga to achieve further economic or social dividends.”
Minister Scullion also met with the first two Wurrumiyanga residents to purchase their own home under the Northern Territory Government’s Remote Home Ownership Programme.
“The long-term tradeable tenure provided by township leasing has enabled both Mr Stanley Tipiloura and Ms Vivianna Wanambi to achieve their goal of home ownership, and importantly, use their investment to build their economic independence as many other Australians do.
“I am pleased that this is an opportunity now available to all Tiwi Islanders who are living in public housing in Wurrumiyanga, Pirlangimpi and Milikapiti.
“The Coalition Government is absolutely committed to working in partnership with Indigenous land owners to pursue land tenure reform that works for local communities, to ensure land rights is the basis for commercial development and home ownership that it should be.
“The Coalition Government established township leasing to ensure traditional owners had similar opportunities to develop their communities, and I am pleased we have been able to re-energise the Commonwealth’s land reform agenda in partnership with our First Australians.”