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Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Page: 3394


Mr ANDREWS (Menzies) (12:36): Prior to the division in the chamber, I was indicating that this bill makes amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act to allow the township of Jabiru two parcels of land near Jabiru as well as a parcel of land near Tennant Creek to be included in schedule 1 of the act and to be granted as inalienable Aboriginal freehold title subject to 99-year leaseback arrangements being in place. The bill also amends the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act to ensure that the World Heritage natural and cultural values of the Kakadu National Park continue to be protected with respect to Jabiru. The bill will provide security of tenure to business and landowners in Jabiru. This will further provide Energy Resources Australia security to continue operations and investment in Jabiru and the Ranger mine.

All interested parties support this legislation. My colleague the shadow minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Nigel Scullion, has consulted with the Mirarr people, traditional custodians of the land, as well as the mining company which currently holds the lease in that area. In line with the long-held practice of Aboriginal land grants, given that the relevant parties agree, the coalition will support this bill. In this case the local traditional owners, the Kakadu Land Trust, Northern Land Council, Energy Resources Australia and the Northern Territory government all agree that these parcels of land should be scheduled. In the case of the township of Jabiru, land tenure issues will be resolved because a requirement would be leaseback of the land to the Northern Territory government and others prior to the handover taking place.

Finally, it has always been the coalition's approach to encourage land tenure reform on Indigenous townships in the Northern Territory to support home ownership and business. Accordingly, the coalition will be supporting this bill.