Traditional Owners central to the development of the Northern Territory

Issue date: Monday, 9 December 2019

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As part of a Federal Parliament inquiry into economic engagement with Traditional Owners, Members of Parliament are travelling to Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs.

The Northern Australia Committee is holding public hearings in the Northern Territory this week, and will hear evidence from Land Councils, Native Title holders, Indigenous business leaders, local councils and other stakeholders.

Committee Chair Warren Entsch says that Indigenous Australians represent a major social, cultural and economic asset.

‘Traditional Owners are major landholders in Northern Australia. How we tap into that land resource is the key to promoting the economic development of Indigenous communities and the development of Northern Australia,’ he said.

In its submission, the Northern Territory Government notes that ‘approximately 30% of the NT’s population is Aboriginal’, and that ‘Aboriginal Territorians own or have rights and interests in a substantial portion of the Territory’s land mass and a large majority of its coastline. This made ‘Aboriginal Territorians key drivers and partners in the NT’s economic future’.

The Central Land Council emphasises that Aboriginal people were not lacking enterprise or endeavour, but ‘need to be supported and resourced to engage with the mainstream economy and capitalise on their significant social, cultural and land assets’. Critically, it noted that ‘this support must align with peoples’ aspirations and cultural traditions and practices’.

The Committee will hold public hearings in Darwin, Katherine and Alice Springs. Programs are available on the Committee’s website.

Public hearing details

Date: Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Time: 9:00am to 3:00pm
Location: Ballroom B, Hilton Hotel, Mitchell St, Darwin

Witnesses include:
Northern Territory Government
Northern Land Council
Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation
Yingiya Mark Guyula MLA
Northern Territory Indigenous Business Network
Aboriginal Investment Group
Mr Kevin Stephens
Arafura Resources Limited

Date: Wednesday, 11 December 2019
Time: 9:30am to 1:15pm
Location: Roper Gulf Regional Council, Crawford St, Katherine

Witnesses include:
Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation
Savanna Solutions
NT Cattlemen’s Association
Roper Gulf Regional Council

Date: Thursday, 12 December 2019
Time: 10:30am to 3:00pm
Location: Ballroom C, DoubleTree by Hilton, Barrett Dr, Alice Springs

Witnesses include:
Central Land Council
Aboriginal Carbon Foundation
Central Desert Regional Council
MacDonnell Regional Council
Mr Dennis Kunoth

The hearings will be broadcast live at

Further details of the inquiry, including expanded terms of reference, can be found on the Committee’s website.

Media inquiries

Hon Warren Entsch MP, Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Northern Australia
02 6277 4803

For background information
Committee Secretariat
02 6277 4162

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