Land in northern Australia has the potential to support greater and more diverse economic activity. However, the complexity of land arrangements in the north and a lack of available information about these arrangements have been cited as discouraging investment.
Understanding land tenure in northern Australia
Successfully navigating the implications of different land tenure options can be fundamental to successful investment. The Australian Government has developed a guide to land tenure arrangements in northern Australia, combined with an interactive map of land tenure in the north and investor-focused guidance for engaging with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Land Councils. The guide can be accessed at Northern Australia land tenure.
Realising economic opportunity in native title
Land is of deep significance to Indigenous Australians. A number of initiatives in the White Paper commit to ensuring that native title holders are empowered to use land rights as a foundation for economic participation and development. These include additional funding of $20 million over four years from 2015/16 for Native Title Corporations to help them to more efficiently negotiate with business, particularly those interested in making substantial investments. More information about this initiative can be found at DPMC's Capacity building native title corporations.
Other initiatives include:
- negotiating more township leases in the Northern Territory,
- investing $10.6 million in land tenure projects to fund practical ‘next steps’ that demonstrate the benefits of land tenure reform for Indigenous and non-Indigenous investors,
- consulting on options to use exclusive native title rights for commercial purposes, and
- an aspiration to have all current native title claims finalised in the next 10 years.