Wurrumiyanga Township lease review fact sheet

Indigenous AffairsLandTownship Leasing
Monday, September 14, 2015
Publication author(s):
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Publication abstract:

The township lease was finalised at Wurrumiyanga in 2007. Wurrumiyanga was the first community to agree to a township lease.

Township Leasing

A section 19A township lease is a voluntary, long-term lease from the Land Trust to the Executive Director of Township Leasing (Executive Director). These leases are an alternative to the existing leasing scheme under section 19 of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Land Rights Act) and provide a platform for supporting economic development on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory.

The township lease was finalised at Wurrumiyanga in 2007. Wurrumiyanga was the first community to agree to a township lease.

Consultative Forum

An important part of the township lease model is the Consultative Forum, which is comprised of Traditional Owners and other members nominated by Traditional Owners and the Executive Director.

The Consultative Forum meets regularly to discuss how the township lease is running. The Consultative Forum works with the Executive Director to consider requests by land users and discusses local economic development opportunities. The Consultative Forum also participates in periodic reviews of the township lease.

Township Lease Review 

All existing township leases have a review mechanism which enables the members of the Consultative Forum and the Executive Director to review the operation of the township lease periodically over the 99 year term. Led by the Consultative Forum and Executive Director the reviews also include the relevant Land Council and the Australian Government.
These reviews ensure that the township lease reflects any new or changed Northern Territory laws and current Traditional Owner and community values.
As part of the review process, amendments can be made to the lease to strengthen the operation of the township lease by incorporating improvements which make the lease more efficient and effective.

Outcomes of the Review 

A number of beneficial amendments to the lease were considered and recommended by the Consultative Forum and Executive Director. All parties agreed to the amendments and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs provided approval under the Land Rights Act for the Tiwi Land Council to vary the lease.
Key outcomes of the review include:

  • Improvements to the financial administration of the lease including waiving the operating costs of the Executive Director for up to 15 years;
  • Updates to make the lease consistent with Northern Territory planning legislation;
  • Enhanced role of the Consultative Forum in changes to sublease terms;
  • Updates to the lease to make it consistent with the lease at Milikapiti and Wurankuwu.

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