Applying for a lease or license on Aboriginal land

The CLC supports the ‘formalisation’ of land tenure arrangements in Aboriginal communities situated on Aboriginal land because it properly recognises the rights of Aboriginal land owners.

Formalisation of land tenure in Aboriginal communities will involve those occupying or in control of built assets on Aboriginal land obtaining a lease licence or other interest in the land on which their assets are located.  Leases are far more common than licences or other interests in land.

If you would like to apply for a lease on Aboriginal land, please complete the application form and return it to the CLC.   However, please read the information on this page prior to making an application as it is not possible for Aboriginal landowners to grant  leases and licences over some forms of Aboriginal land.

If you would like to discuss your application before submitting it, please contact the CLC.

Address                                                              

The Central Land Council                                                     
27 Stuart Highway                                                                                            
Alice Springs NT 0870                                                     

Postal address
Leasing
The Central Land Council   
PO Box 3321
Alice Springs NT 0871                  

Phone number 08 89516211

Emailleasing@clc.org.au

The Intervention, secure tenure, and FaHCSIA’s ‘administrative permissions’

The ‘Intervention’ was a series of government initiatives related to, among other things, alcohol, social security reform, pornography and access to land.

The CLC has consistently opposed the provisions of the Intervention related to access to land and the Commonwealth’s compulsory acquisition of five year leases over the larger communities. 

The CLC is therefore pleased that the current Australian Government is now committed to voluntary leasing on Aboriginal land.

Throughout the Intervention, the Commonwealth held ‘exclusive possession’ to the major Aboriginal communities throughout the Northern Territory (subject to any pre-existing interests in land held by others and excluding all leases and licences granted pursuant to the Land Rights Act). The Commonwealth, through the Five Year Lease Team, FaHCSIA, has been granting administrative interests to individuals, organisations etc operating in the large Aboriginal communities, in relation to specific lots or parcels of land.  All of the administrative interests granted, will expire at the end of the Intervention on 17 August 2012, at the latest.

Both the Australian Government and the Northern Territory Government are now committed to a ‘secure tenure’ policy, which stipulates that those operating on Aboriginal land should hold a formal legal interest (eg. a lease, licence or other formal interest) in the land on which their assets are located (or will be located). 

If you have assets located on Aboriginal land, or are planning to build assets on Aboriginal land, you should apply for a lease or licence over that land as soon as possible.

 

Aboriginal land

‘Aboriginal land’ in the Northern Territory can mean different things.  The term is most generally used to describe freehold land granted under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (see map).  But it can also mean freehold land granted to Aboriginal Associations or Corporations under a number of different Northern Territory laws (eg. community living areas excised from pastoral leases).  There are also other less common types of Aboriginal land.  Another way of saying that there are different types of Aboriginal land is to say that there are different ‘tenures’ or different ‘titles’.

Native title rights differ from Aboriginal land rights because native title rights are not ‘granted’ by governments or courts, but rather they are customary rights to land that are ‘recognised’ as being held by native title holders.  In some instances, the CLC will have a role in representing native title holders when third parties wish to obtain access to crown land or pastoral leases.

In terms of applying for leases or licences in Aboriginal communities, it is important to understand that:

  • different communities are situated on different types of Aboriginal land; and
  • different laws apply to different types of Aboriginal land.

Major communities in the CLC region

Most applications for leases and licences are in relation to Aboriginal land within Aboriginal communities.  The major Aboriginal communities in the CLC region are listed below along with the type of Aboriginal land on which the community is situated and an indication of whether or not you are able to apply for leases, licences or other interests in that community.

Ali Curung

ALRA

Alpurrurulam

CLA

Ammoonguna

ALRA

Ampilatwatja

ALRA

Apatula (Finke)

Not Aboriginal land

Areyonga

ALRA

Atitjere

CLA

Canteen Creek

UC

Daguragu

ALRA

Engawala

CLA

Haasts Bluff

ALRA

Hermannsburg (Ntaria)

ALRA

Imangara

CLA

Imanpa 

CLA

Kalkaringi

Not Aboriginal land

Kaltukatjara (Docker River)

ALRA

Kintore

ALRA

Lajamanu

ALRA

Laramba

CLA

Mt Liebig

ALRA

Nturiya

ALRA

Papunya

ALRA

Pmara Jutunta

ALRA

Santa Teresa

ALRA

Titjikala

CLA

Wallace Rockhole

ALRA

Wilora

CLA

Wutunugurra

CLA

Yuelamu

ALRA

Yuendumu

ALRA

ALRA = Aboriginal freehold, Aboriginal Land Rights Act     CLA = freehold, various Northern Territory laws     UC = Under Claim

A map of Aboriginal land can be found in  the 2010-11 CLC Annual Report, available on the CLC website.

There is also some Aboriginal land immediately surrounding towns such as Tennant Creek, Ti Tree, Kalkaringi and Alice Springs. 

If your are seeking leases in other, smaller communities then please contact the CLC and we will advise you of the underlying title of the land and whether it is possible to submit a leas application.

Aboriginal land (ALRA) -

Aboriginal land owners who hold ALRA title land are able to consent to the grant of leases, licences or other interests in land subject to the Land Rights Act.  Applications for leases, licences or other interests on Aboriginal land (ALRA) must be submitted to the CLC in writing.  An application form can be found on the CLC website.  More information on Aboriginal land (ALRA), the Land Rights Act and the manner in which the CLC processes leases and licences can be found on the CLC website.

Aboriginal land (CLA) -

Not all Aboriginal land owners are able to grant leases, licences or other interests in their land.  Most notably, Aboriginal associations and corporations that hold title to community living areas are unable to grant leases or licences except in a very small number of circumstances.  This is because there are Northern Territory laws in place which prohibit such grants. The CLC is advocating for effective and comprehensive reform of these prohibitive Northern Territory laws.

Non-Aboriginal land 

- In some instances, the CLC will have a role in representing native title holders when third parties wish to obtain access to crown land or pastoral leases.

Protection of sacred sites in the CLC region

Sacred site protection is one of the key concerns of traditional owners in the CLC region. The CLC conducts its own sacred site clearances and issues its own CLC sacred site clearance certificates. If you want to undertake works (eg. build, change the footprint of an existing building; disturb the ground, or remove trees) on Aboriginal land then you must firstly obtain a sacred site clearance certificate from the CLC.  An application form can be found on this website

Provided a CLC sacred site clearance certificate has been issued in relation to particular works, and any conditions have been complied with, the holder of the certificate will not be in breach of the Sacred Sites Act (NT) for carrying out those works.