Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion and the Executive Director of the Office of Township Leasing, Greg Roche look on as Trustee of the Tiwi Aboriginal Lands Trust, Kim Puruntatameri, signs a township lease covering Pirlangimpi.
When the 99-year township lease for Gunyangara was signed over to the Ngarrariyal Aboriginal Corporation, it represented years of collaboration between the Gumatj Corporation, the Northern Land Council and the Government.
The first Commonwealth-approved community entity under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, Ngarrariyal Aboriginal Corporation is to hold and administer a township lease.
The idea for local control was first proposed by Dr Galarrwuy Yunupingu in 2007, and the community entity model was developed at the request of local Traditional Owners.
The Gunyangara lease provides the first example of how a sustainable, local Aboriginal corporation can hold and administer a township lease to strengthen local decision-making and enable Traditional Owners to leverage their land assets for economic and community benefit.
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, approved the community entity and consented to the lease. The Ngarrariyal Aboriginal Corporation, Northern Land Council and Arnhem Land Aboriginal Land Trust have executed it.
Transitional township leasing models covering Mutitjulu and Pirlangimpi were also executed in 2017. Control of these leases can be transferred to local Aboriginal organisations when they are ready to take over.
The leases covering Gunyangara, Mutitjulu and Pirlangimpi all increase local decision-making and open up economic opportunities for the local community.