The CLC has statutory functions to help traditional owners manage their land and to negotiate, on their behalf, with people wanting to use Aboriginal land.
LAND USE AGREEMENTS
The CLC dedicates significant effort to the processing of lease applications on Aboriginal land. It consults on and responds to requests for variations, assignments, subleases and surrenders in connection with leased premises.
It prepared 23 traditional owner or native title holder identifications to ensure the right people were consulted about activities relating to land use agreements and continued to consult with and implement the instructions of traditional owners about the application of rent from leases.The identifications related to the following activities: grazing licences on the Alkwert, Ahakeye, Wakaya and Warumungu Aboriginal land trusts; leasing at Standley Chasm, Amoonguna farm, the Wutunugurra, Arlparra, Ltynetye Apurte (Santa Teresa), Amengernterneah, Willowra, Yuendumu, Yuelamu, Pmara Jutunta and Amoonguna communities; horticultural leases on the Ahakey, Ilyarne, Warrabri and Karlantijpa North Aboriginal land trusts; a lease for a roadwork camp on the Yuendumu Aboriginal Land Trust; and advice on the traditional ownership of a road on the Karlantijpa South Aboriginal Land Trust and Stirling and Neutral Junction stations.
Its community development program works with traditional owners who decide to use leasing income to plan and implement community-driven projects. When instructed to distribute money to traditional owners, the CLC’s Aboriginal Associations Management Centre (AAMC) manages the distribution.
The CLC’s land use trust account receives money from rental payments to 10 Aboriginal corporations and associations that hold community living area titles. It provided them with planning and legal assistance to ensure that funds are used for the benefit of the communities, according to the Aboriginal corporations’ rules.
The Australian Government holds leases over 1,180 lots on Aboriginal land and 368 lots on community living areas in the CLC region. It obtained consents for leases over 124 lots.
The CLC is participating in reviews conducted by the Australian Government into township leasing and leasing on Aboriginal land generally.
The NT Government holds leases over 535 lots on Aboriginal land and 90 lots on community living areas. It obtained consent for leases over 207 lots during the year. Applications were received and progressed relating to variations to the NT Government subleases over community housing in seven communities.
The CLC continued to negotiate with the NT Government to finalise the leasing of reticulated services in communities and to ensure the ongoing management and compliance with existing leases.
The impasse between the NT and Australian governments about the provision of improved housing to the five communities in the CLC region that were not currently subject to a community housing lease was resolved. In April 2019 the NT Government advised that it would apply for five-year housing leases in these communities. These applications were received in August 2019. Traditional owners in Amoonguna, Yuelamu, Daguragu and Haasts Bluff gave instructions to consent to these leases, which were all finalised by January 2020. One community still does not have a housing lease as traditional owners are waiting for more information from the NT Government.
The Central Desert, MacDonnell, Barkly and Victoria Daly regional councils are responsible for local government services in communities of the CLC region.
They collectively hold land use agreements, including leases and licences, over 274 lots in communities on Aboriginal land in the CLC region and 98 lots on community living areas. The CLC continues to consult traditional owners, communities and residents of community living areas about new and outstanding land use applications and negotiates with the councils about the ongoing management of land use agreements. The CLC has discussed with the regional councils their refusal to pay rent for some leases and continues to seek the resolution of this issue.
Non-government organisations operating in communities – mostly Aboriginal organisations, such as art centres and stores – currently hold leases over 284 lots on Aboriginal land and 15 lots on community living areas. These organisations demonstrate a commitment to secure tenure over assets on Aboriginal land by negotiating land use agreements. The CLC continues to receive lease and licence applications from organisations operating on Aboriginal land and community living areas. Tables 11 to 14 summarise the number of lease and licence applications; the number of consultations regarding these applications, and the management of lease and licence agreements; the number of leases and licences issued; and the number of all leases and licences currently issued.
The CLC supports traditional owners in negotiations with proponents seeking grazing licences over Aboriginal land and monitors licence conditions.
It ensures that proponents create training and employment opportunities for traditional owners and residents of remote communities, adhere to grazing levels compatible with cultural and natural values, and develop pastoral infrastructure that continues to benefit traditional owners.
Grazing licences are typically issued for five years, with the option of a further five years or longer. The CLC also issues grazing licences or subleases to Aboriginal pastoral companies to enable them to operate commercially on Aboriginal land.
The CLC continued to monitor 18 grazing licences and subleases, with eight more under negotiation. Traditional owners rejected four grazing licences, two of them new. The CLC consulted about new and monitored existing grazing licences with traditional owners of the Arletherre, Haasts Bluff, Ahakeye, Petermann, Mungkarta, Mangkururrpa, Warumungu, Ngalurrtju, Pmere Nyente, Pwanye, Atnetye, Thakaperte, Uruna, Roulpmaulpma, Santa Teresa and Daguragu Aboriginal land trusts and the Angas Downs pastoral lease. It also responded to two incidents of neighbouring pastoralists illegally grazing their cattle on Aboriginal land. Negotiations in relation to these incursions and new proposed grazing licences are ongoing. The CLC executed a land use agreement for the Ngaanyatjarra Camel Company to remove camels from the western side of the Petermann Aboriginal Land Trust.
Table 11. Applications received, 2019–20
Community living areas
Table 12. Consents obtained, 2019–20
Community living areas
Table 13. Consultations conducted, 2019–20
Community living areas
Table 14. Leases and licences at 30 June 2020
Community living areas
The CLC works with proponents to maximise job and business opportunities for remote community residents and traditional owners. Its guidance can improve the prospects of proposals during consultations and negotiations of land use agreements. Significant long-term proposals for jointly managed national parks demonstrate the benefits of this approach.
In 2018, the NT Government proposed investing in two jointly managed parks to stimulate the region’s economy. The CLC has facilitated the participation of the traditional owners of the Tjoritja/West MacDonnell and Watarrka national parks in the discussions.
Red Centre Adventure Ride
Following a presentation of the government’s multi-million- dollar proposal for an adventure bike trail in the Tjoritja/ West MacDonnell National Park, the CLC negotiated with the government about the economic opportunities local Aboriginal people want to realise and the protection of their culture and country.
It has continued to plan and develop the project with traditional owners and public servants, for example by looking for commercial operators and private sector co-investment for the trail. It has supported local Aboriginal people’s involvement in training and capability-building activities, such as workshops about trail design, governance, business development, tourism marketing, and ongoing design of the trail. It has continued to negotiate improved procurement practices that create opportunities for local Aboriginal employment and business development.
Watarrka National Park
The CLC continued its support for traditional owners involved in negotiating employment and business opportunities from the government’s tourism proposal. It worked with a traditional owner planning committee and the government to support the aspirations of Aboriginal people and build their capacity to take part in the proposed development. The committee helped develop a process to engage with prospective commercial partners and investors in early 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic slowed progress.