The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, has welcomed the historic approval of a township sublease covering Mutitjulu, a community located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory.
Minister Scullion said the sublease would deliver better land administration, local decision making and opportunities for economic development.
“The Mutitjulu community told us they want land tenure options that work for them. We have listened and supported the community to develop this model of leasing that works for them,” Minister Scullion said.
“The township sublease means traditional owners and community members now have the opportunity to invest in commercial developments or own their own home in the community, as the lease can be used to support the significant economic development opportunities that exist in Mutitjulu.
“It also provides certainty for existing land users and security of tenure to enable governments to invest in critical infrastructure – like the $10 million commitment the Turnbull Coalition has made to build new, and improve existing, houses in Mutitjulu.
“Negotiations for better land administration arrangements at Mutitjulu have been ongoing for many years with little progress by previous governments.
“This agreement has only been possible because of the approach of the Commonwealth, Central Land Council, traditional owners and the community to work together.
“Like the Gunyangara township lease approved by the Northern Land Council a few weeks ago, this is another example of the Turnbull Coalition’s commitment to doing things with our First Australians by ensuring that traditional owners and communities are empowered to achieve what they want from their land.”
Mutitjulu is a community on Aboriginal land under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 that is part of the lease of the Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park to the Commonwealth Director of National Parks. Current land tenure arrangements do not support the granting of long-term leases that are needed for more effective land administration and economic development.
The Commonwealth and the Central Land Council will work with the Mutitjulu community to establish an Aboriginal corporation representative of traditional owners and community members to hold and administer the sublease. This will include responsibility for granting interests, such as underleases and licences to people and organisations wishing to use land in the Mutitjulu community.
The township sublease will initially be held by the Executive Director of Township Leasing to ensure the Mutitjulu community can start receiving the benefits of leasing immediately.
“I congratulate the Mutitjulu community and traditional owners on this significant milestone, a result of many years of hard work and collaboration and look forward to working in partnership with them into the future,” Minister Scullion said.