Pirlangimpi, on the Tiwi Islands, has reached a significant agreement with the Australian Government to recommence negotiations for a 99-year township lease, opening up economic and home ownership opportunities in the community.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, today visited Pirlangimpi to speak with the Tiwi Land Council and traditional owners about the agreement.
“Township leasing is an effective way of achieving greater opportunities for new business, new jobs and home ownership leading to better economic and commercial development in the community,” Minister Scullion said.
“Signatories to the agreement in Pirlangimpi have agreed to work towards finalising a 99-year lease by 30 November 2014.
“This is the third statement we have signed to negotiate a township lease since we came to Government, demonstrating our commitment to support traditional owner aspirations for economic development on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory.”
Minister Scullion today also attended a meeting of the Wurrumiyanga Consultative Forum, established as part of the township lease, which recently finalised their first five year review of the operation of the lease.
The review considered a number of amendments which will improve the ongoing operation of the lease and is a real strength of the township lease model, which demonstrates how the lease can adapt and evolve over time.
“The subsequent amendments improve the lease for the Traditional Owners by strengthening the role of the Consultative Forum and delaying the payment of operating costs,” Minister Scullion said.
“In 2007, under the Howard Government, Wurrumiyanga on the Tiwi Islands signed the first Township lease and an agreement with Pirlangimpi would see all communities across the Tiwi Islands with township leasing agreements.
“Since then a successful supermarket has opened, four small retail outlets, and 15 families in the community are buying their own home.
“This is the first time we have seen local ownership of businesses and homes on this scale in a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory.
“Township leasing gives Aboriginal people the same opportunities as other Australians, to own their own homes, and leverage their land assets to generate wealth for the benefit of themselves, their families and their community.”
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2014-03-14 Tiwi Islands.pdf