What we do

The CLC works in some of the most remote areas of Australia

The Central Land Council represents and provides services to Aboriginal traditional owners and residents of Central Australia.

Aboriginal people collectively own more than 417,000 square kilometres of inalienable freehold land across the southern half of the Northern Territory.

The CLC supports them by

  • advocating with them and on their behalf;
  • helping them to claim back their country and manage it;
  • assisting them with the economic development of their land;
  • promoting community development and improving service delivery;
  • consulting with landowners on employment, development, mining and other land use proposals;
  • protecting Aboriginal culture and sacred sites;
  • fighting for the legal recognition of Aboriginal people's rights;
  • helping to resolve land disputes, native title claims and compensation cases;
  • administering permits to visit Aboriginal land.

As a Commonwealth corporate entity, the CLC operates under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA). Section 23 of the ALRA sets out the functions and responsibilities of the NT’s four land councils:

  • Find out and express the wishes of Aboriginal people about the management of their land and legislation about their land.
  • Protect the interests of traditional Aboriginal owners of, and other Aboriginal people interested in, Aboriginal land.
  • Assist Aboriginal people to protect sacred sites on and off Aboriginal land.
  • Consult traditional Aboriginal landowners and other Aboriginal people with an interest in Aboriginal land about proposals for the use of that land.
  • Negotiate on behalf of traditional landowners with people interested in using Aboriginal land and land under claim.
  • Help Aboriginal people to claim land and provide legal assistance.
  • Supervise and assist Aboriginal Land Trusts.
  • Consult with traditional landowners and other Aboriginal people with an interest in the land and obtain their consent before making an agreement, or doing anything that affects their land.
  • Keep a register of land council members and members of Aboriginal Land Trusts and descriptions of Aboriginal land.

The land councils also have statutory responsibilities to:

  • Hold in trust, and distribute to Aboriginal associations, statutory payments from the Aboriginals Benefit Account to communities affected by mining and income received on behalf of landowners under land use agreements.
  • Respond to applications to explore for minerals on Aboriginal land.
  • Assist Aboriginal people to carry out commercial activities such as resource development, tourism, pastoralism and agriculture in a manner that will not make the land council to financially liable or enable it to receive financial benefit.

The CLC’s functions as a Native Title Representative Body are set out in the Native Title Act 1993. The CLC is also subject to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.