Central Land Council Annual Report 2016-2017



Output Group 1 • Land & natural resource management

OUTPUT GROUP 1 • Land & Natural resource MAnagement

Output 1.1 Permits

Access to Aboriginal land is managed effectively and efficiently.

The use of permits to enter Aboriginal land is authorised in s.73 of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cwlth) and contained within the Aboriginal Land Act (NT). The permit system, administered by land councils, gives all visitors, workers, and researchers regulated access to Aboriginal land. Traditional owners use permits to manage visitation to their lands and to uphold their responsibilities to visitors. Visitors to Aboriginal lands can apply for entry, transit, media (news of the day), mining, and special purpose permits.

In 2007, amendments were made to the system that allowed access to public areas of larger communities without a permit. Permits to visit land outside these public areas is still required. In accordance with the wishes of traditional owners, however, many visitors to communities apply for permits even if not required to assure themselves of the consent of residents. The CLC appreciates these displays of goodwill.

Nonetheless, the CLC believes that changes to the permit system have led some to assume they are free to visit Aboriginal land outside communities as well. Traditional owners are particularly concerned about theft of equipment (most commonly solar panels and bore equipment) and damage to sacred sites.

Figure 3. Permit data, 2016–17

Figure 3. Permit data, 2016–17


Table 3. Permit applications for the last eight years

Permits

2009–10

2010–11

2011–12

2012–13

2013–14

2014–15

2015–16

2016–17

Entry

475

427

495

634

913

670

678

658

Mining

372

273

270

349

710

405

266

910

Transit

2,908

3,079

3,232

3,211

2,996

3,552

4,008

4,293

Total permits issued

3,755

3,779

3,997

4,194

4,619

4,627

4,952

5,861

Entry and special purpose permits

Julie Clyne, Bruce Breaden and Hubert Pareroultja (with Watarrka ranger Amber Clarke) contributed ideas for the design of the visitor information shelter at Watarrka.

Julie Clyne, Bruce Breaden and Hubert Pareroultja (with Watarrka ranger Amber Clarke) contributed ideas for the design of the visitor information shelter at Watarrka.

In spite of the small number of applications for entry and special purpose permits, the work of processing them takes up a significant amount of staff time and resources. The CLC consulted with traditional owners and negotiated with proponents about special purpose and entry permit applications.

The applications were, as ever, very diverse. They included land management activities at Salt Springs on the Santa Teresa Aboriginal Land Trust (ALT), a research project on Emily Kngwarreye, research on fossils in the Cleland Hills on the Haasts Bluff ALT, and tourist access to Hatches Creek, Anurrete ALT.

Discussions were ongoing with traditional owners concerning the development of a new permit system for visitors wishing to drive the Madigan Track, which crosses the Atnetye ALT.

Additional ‘restricted entry’ signs were installed in an effort to reduce the incidence of illegal entry onto Aboriginal lands. Traditional owners reported illegal shooting on the Petermann ALT and, in response, signs were erected at entry points to remind visitors of the need to obtain a permit.

Aboriginal land under joint management received 29 permit applications requiring consultations through the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the NT (PWCNT) for NT parks and reserves.

Tourism related permit requests included one from a 4WD tour group to visit the Petermann ALT (guided by a traditional owner), one from SEIT Outback Australia to visit the Petermann ALT as far as Patji in partnership with Uluru Family Tours, and one from Uluru ATV Adventures to visit the Katiti ALT.

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