Northern Territory land councils are funded on a cash basis, with annual estimates of revenue less expenditure forecasts approved on a ‘break-even’ basis. The actual surplus for the financial year ended 30 June 2020 was $6.283 million, compared to a surplus of $0.503 million in the previous year. Operational sources of revenue are portrayed in figure 1. The significant improvement was solely attributable to COVID-19, largely as a result of the receipt of an additional $4 million approved by the minister to support remote communities. As at 30 June, the overwhelming majority of the projects had been committed and in progress. However, by the end of the financial year, most projects were incomplete and payments had not been made. The program will be fully-expended in 2020–21. The other major delay was the implementation of a number of infrastructure projects (staff housing and office accommodation), partly because of COVID-19 restrictions preventing working in remote communities, but also obtaining building approvals. For example, major projects in Mutitjulu were delayed because of utility service approvals. All building projects will proceed in 2020–21.
Expenditure of $11.0 million, or 25% of total expenditure for 2019–20, classified under natural resource management output group, was the largest of the output groups and was less than the expenditure level of the previous year ($11.2 million, 27%). As well as achieving land management objectives, significant program elements relate to employment, education and training (Output 3.2). Funding for the ranger program is only approved until 2021, but the Minister for Indigenous Australians has approved the funding until 2028 (consultation on the funding agreement occurring in 2020–21).
The next largest output group for expenditure was economic development and commercial services, $9.8 million (22% of total expenditure), incorporating expenditure related to land use agreements; employment, education and training; mining; and commercial assistance. This output group includes statutory mining and land use agreement assistance functions, applications for consent to explore on Aboriginal land, employment unit costs, tourism development, and pastoral development projects.
Advocacy and community development expenditure was $9.0 million, or 20%. There continues to be an unmet and increasing demand for community development resources. Further details of work performed within the output groups is described in this report (see OUTPUT 4.4. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT).
Cost-recovery opportunities are actively identified to lessen the effect of any reduction in the level or quality of service delivery. Productivity improvements, which have been proposed during the enterprise bargaining process, are being progressively implemented and will improve organisational effectiveness.
The financial statements adhere to Australian accounting standards. Annual funding is not provided for non-financial asset depreciation, nor leave liabilities accrued. The commitments detailed in the financial statements are the obligations against recognised revenue, which will be met in future years. Net comprehensive income is attributable to the Australian Government.
Figure 2. Sources of revenue chart, 2015–20
Table 2. Annual performance statement: actual v target
Key performance indicators – description
Strategy Ref. (4)
Successful communication of CLC's 'Rights and Interests' advocacy activities to Aboriginal constituents and key stakeholders.
Number of external publications produced
CLC web page access rate (visits) – by constituents and stakeholders (000)
ALRA land claims & native title claims - recognition of Aboriginal constituents' interests in land by successfully (in compliance with ALRA and Native Title legislation) negotiating & obtaining land rights and native title determinations.
Land claims finalised (ALRA) (Note 1)
Ownership (square km) achieved
CLC – total region size (square km)
Native title meetings and consultations – post determination
Anthropological advice issued – determines relevant traditional owners (claims and interests)
Native title claims finalised – consent determination handed down
Post land & native title claim negotiation & administration - administering ALRA permit access to Aboriginal land & negotiating post claim 'use-of-land' outcomes (leasing consents, mining consents, other future acts requests).
Total permits Issued – access to Aboriginal land
Leasing – consents obtained – all
Leasing – current leases and licences – all
Native title non-mining ILUA (Note 2) – negotiated and registered
Mining/non mining – future act meetings – NT holder identification field trips
Activities protecting Aboriginal land & culturally significant sites & to maintain Aboriginal cultural heritage & languages by supporting traditional Aboriginal ceremony & funeral customs & development of heritage management plans.
Sacred site clearance certificates / other advice issued
Cultural heritage management plans /projects completed, progressed, supported