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Native Title Act 1993—Native title representative bodies—Northern Land Council—Report for 2014-15


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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

OUR LAND, OUR SEA, OUR LIFE

2 3

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

OUR VISION is to have the land and sea rights of Traditional Owners and affected Aboriginal people in the top end of the Northern Territory recognised and to ensure that Aboriginal people benefit socially, culturally and economically from the secure possession of our land, waters and seas.

OUR VALUES are informed by the values of the Aboriginal people of our region and are consistent with Commonwealth standards.

WE AIM TO achieve enhanced social, political and economic participation and equity for Aboriginal people through the promotion, protection and advancement of our land rights and other rights and interests.

Cover, top right: Men prepare for a wedding ceremony near Borroloola, October 2014. From left: Jacob Riley, Jack Green (groom) and Eric Rory. Cover, middle left and right: Women dance at the opening of the Barunga Sports and Cultural Festival, June 2015. Opposite: Wildlife at Gunbalanya.

4 5

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

PART III: THE YEAR IN REVIEW 5 4

ABORIGINAL RIGHTS AND INTERESTS

5

5

L and claims 55

S

ea country 58

N

ative title report

60

U

pdate on continuing claims

62

C

ompensation applications 6

8

CARING FOR COUNTRY 7 0

W orking together 71

P

arks and reserves: joint management 79

CULTURE & HERITAGE 8 6

P rotecting sacred sites, places and objects 87

F

uneral and ceremonial fund 88

A

dvice on traditional ownership

89

L

and Interest References (LIR)

90

G

IS system support

91

COMMUNITY WELLBEING 9 2

Capacity building: employment, education and training 93

A

nthropology - regional profiles 9

5

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT 1 02

L and use agreements 10 3

I

ndigenous Pastoral Program 10

6

C

ommercial development 11

0

M

inerals & Energy

111

R

egional Development 12

5

PUBLIC ADVOCACY SERVICES 1 26

P ublic awareness and education 12 7

I

nformation and education resources 12

8

M

edia management

12

8

GOOD CORPORATE STANDARDS 1 30

D istribution of royalties 13 1

A

dministering Aboriginal Land Trusts 13

2

M

ediation and dispute resolution

13

2

L

and and water access permits

13

4

C

orporate governance approach

13

5

Co

mmittees 1

41

CONTENTS

ABOUT THIS REPORT 9

T

HE YEAR: AT A GLANCE

1

2

F inancial performance summary 17

C

ommonwealth compliance summary 18

FROM OUR CHAIRMAN 1 9

FROM OUR CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

2

1

PART I: ABOUT US - OUR LAND, OUR SEA, OUR LIFE

2

4

HISTORY 25

O

UR ROLE

2

6

WHOM WE SERVE

2

7

T raditional Owners 28

R

egions 28

REGIONAL OFFICE NETWORK 3 0

OUR COUNCIL

3

4

FULL COUNCIL

3

6

F ull Council membership, 2013-2016 36

F

ull Council meetings, 2014/2015 37

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL 4 0

M embers 40

M

eetings 42

R

egional Councils

43

OUR PEOPLE 4 5

A dministration 45

S

tructure 46

B

ranch overview

47

PART II: OUR APPROACH - SHAPING OUR FUTURE 5 0

STRATEGIC THINKING

5

1

C orporate Plan 2015-2019 52

S

trategic Plan 2015-2019 53

6 7

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

TABLE 14: C onsultant expenditure, 2014/2015 13 6

TABLE 15:

C

onsultants and contractors - summary, 2011-2015

13

8

TABLE 16:

N

orthern Land Council ICT key projects 2014/2015

14

0

TABLE 17:

A

udit Committee attendance

1

41

FIGURES

FIGURE 1: N LC office locations 29

F

IGURE 2:

N

LC’s organisational structure

46

F

IGURE 3:

F

ive-year trend - full-time employment statistics

48

F

IGURE 4:

N

LC’s Pastoral Consent Determination process

63

F

IGURE 5:

S

tatus of work on the Federal Court ordered Pastoral Consent Determination Schedule f

or the NLC region, June 2015

64

F

IGURE 6:

A

boriginal land and sea management groups

73

F

IGURE 7:

J

oint management reserves

80

F

IGURE 8:

N

umber of LIR requests, 2008-2015

91

F

IGURE 9:

N

LC anthropology regions - estimated Indigenous populations

96

F

IGURE 10:

M

inerals exploration in the NLC region

11

3

FIGURE 11:

P

etroleum exploration in the NLC region

11

5

FIGURE 12:

M

ap showing the known onshore hydrocarbon resource potential of the NLC region

12

2

PART IV: THE YEAR AHEAD - KEY INITIATIVES AND PROJECTS 1 44

DEVELOPMENT PROSPECTUS

1

45

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT 1

46

KENBI LAND CLAIM

1

46

NLC TO HOST NATIONAL NATIVE TITLE CONFERENCE

1

46

NATIVE TITLE MATTERS 1

47

CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION 1

47

PART V: 2014/2015 FINANCIAL REPORT

1

48

NLC ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT

1

49

NLC NATIVE TITLE REPRESENTATIVE BODY FINANCIAL STATEMENT

1

93

COMMONWEALTH COMPLIANCE INDEX

2

18

P ublic Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and Commonwealth Annual Reporting Orders 2

18

A

boriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 2

19

G

lossary of terms

22

0

TABLES

TABLE 1: N LC’s financial performance - five-year overview 18

T

ABLE 2:

F

ull Council membership, 2013-2016

36

T

ABLE 3:

F

ull Council meeting dates and attendance record during 2014/2015

37

T

ABLE 4:

E

xecutive Council meeting dates and attendance record during 2014/2015

43

T

ABLE 5:

R

egional Council meeting dates and venues during 2014/2015

44

T

ABLE 6:

N

LC staff profiles, 2014/2015

48

T

ABLE 7:

N

ative title applications statistics, 2014/2015

6

1

TABLE 8:

F

uneral and ceremony assistance per region

88

T

ABLE 9:

L

IR requests by activity for 2014/2015

90

T

ABLE 10:

D

istribution of Aboriginal living areas across NLC anthropology regions

9

5

TABLE 11:

A

boriginal owned land and native title interests

9

5

TABLE 12:

M

inerals & Energy Branch consultations and other operational activities during 2014/2015 11

7

TABLE 13:

B

reakdown of royalty distribution payments, 2014/2015

13

1

8 9

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

ABOUT THIS REPORT

The Northern Land Council Annual Report 2014/2015 provides a comprehensive account of the Council’s performance from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2015 in accordance with its responsibilities and obligations under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (referred to as the Aboriginal Land Rights Act) and the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993.

The Council’s activities are guided by the invaluable leadership of the Full Council, with members elected in November 2013 for their three-year term, and by the organisation’s planning processes.

The Annual Report 2014/2015 is divided into five parts:

1. A

bout us: our land, our sea our life, our history, our clients and our organisational structure

2.

O

ur approach: shaping our future, which outlines our strategic approach and aspirations in terms of our goals, objectives and performance measurements

3.

T

he year in review: 2014/2015, which presents the major issues and achievements for the reporting year across seven key performance areas that align with our seven goals.

4.

T

he year ahead: key initiatives and projects, which identifies our current and future priorities

5.

2

014/2015 financial reports , which presents details on income and expenses for both the NLC as a Commonwealth entity and as a native title representative body.

During the reporting year, 2014/2015, the NLC continued an ambitious program of activities aligned to key strategic directions: enhanced social, political and economic participation and equity for Aboriginal people in the NLC’s jurisdiction through the promotion, protection and advancement of their land, water rights and human rights.

The Annual Report highlights achievements and identifies future directions, and attempts to foresee challenges to minimise risks in achieving outcomes throughout the year.

As a Commonwealth body corporate, the NLC submits this report to the Minister for Indigenous Affairs for tabling in the Australian Parliament.

The NLC’s Corporate Plan has been revised, and

covers the financial years 2015/2016 to 2018/2019, as required under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. The Plan sets out the NLC’s role and purpose, and how it will achieve results for traditional Aboriginal owners and affected Aboriginal people within our region. The Corporate Plan can be viewed and downloaded at www.nlc.org.au

An updated version of the Strategic Plan is in preparation. The new plan will build on our achievements, confirm our vision for the future, emphasise our guiding values, and set our strategic goals and objectives. It also reflects the outcomes and outputs framework agreed with the Minister for Indigenous Affairs.

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL CORPORATE PLAN 2015/16-2018/19

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL STRATEGIC PLAN 2015/16-2018/19

© Commonwealth of Australia 2015

ISSN 1030-522X

With the exception of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms and where otherwise noted, all material presented in this document, the Northern Land Council Annual Report 2014/2015, is provided under a Creative Commons Licence. The details of the relevant licence conditions are available on the Creative Commons website at creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/legalcode and creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/

10 11

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

12 October 2015

Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion Minister for Indigenous Affairs PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister,

In accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, the Native Title Act 1993 and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, I am pleased to submit the 2014/2015 Annual Report for the Northern Land Council.

The accountable authority under Section 46 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 is responsible for the preparation and content of this report in accordance with the Commonwealth Authorities (Annual Reporting) Orders 2011.

This report reviews the Northern Land Council’s performance and illustrates the commitment and achievement of the council and our staff throughout the year.

I commend the report to you for presentation to the Australian Parliament.

Yours sincerely,

Samuel Bush-Blanasi CHAIRMAN

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL

Address all correspondence to: CHAIRMAN GPO Box 1222 Darwin NT 0801

ABN 56 327 515 33645 Mitchell Street, Darwin NT 0800 Phone: (08) 8920 5100 Fax: (08) 8945 2633 Free Call: 1800 645 299

CONTACT US

If you have any questions about this report, please contact:

Senior Policy Advisor: Leanne Liddle - leanne.liddle@nlc.org.au; +61 (8) 8920 5113

or for general assistance:

PHONE P

ick up the phone between 8:00 am to 4:30 pm (CST) weekdays to call us on +

61 (8) 8920 5100 or 1800 645 299 (Free Call)

FAX +

61 (8) 8945 2633

WEB w

ww.nlc.org.au

EMAIL G

eneral - reception@nlc.org.au

P

ermits - permits@nlc.org.au

POST N

orthern Land Council, GPO Box 1222, Darwin NT 0801

IN PERSON

Y

ou can visit the NLC at any of the following offices:

D

ARWIN 45 Mitchell Street, Darwin NT 0800 P

hone: (08) 8920 5100; Fax: (08) 8920 5255

WA

DEYE Lot 351 Perdjert Street, Wadeye NT 0822 P

hone: (08) 8978 1150

E

AST ARNHEM Endeavour Street, Nhulunbuy NT 0880 P

hone: (08) 8986 8500; Fax: (08) 8987 1334

K

ATHERINE 5 Katherine Terrace, Katherine NT 0850 P

hone: (08) 8971 9899; Fax: (08) 8972 2190

BU

LMAN Mimal Ranger Station, Weemol NT 0822

N

GUKURR Balamurra Street, Ngukurr NT 0852

P

hone: (08) 8977 2500; Fax: (08) 8975 4601

BORR

OLOOLA Robinson Road, Mara Mara Camp, Borroloola NT 0854 P

hone: (08) 8975 7500; Fax: (08) 8975 8745

T

ENNANT CREEK 178 Paterson Street, Tennant Creek NT 0860 P

hone: (08) 8962 1884; Fax: (08) 8962 1636

V

ICTORIA RIVER DISTRICT 43 Wilson Street, Timber Creek NT 0850 P

hone: (08) 8974 5600; Fax: (08) 8975 0664

W

EST ARNHEM (JABIRU) 3 Government Building, Flinders Street, Jabiru NT 0886 P

hone: (08) 8938 3000; Fax: (08) 8979 2650

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

IMPROVED FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND REPORTING

In response to concerns by the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee, the NLC’s Executive Council, Leadership Group and staff, with assistance from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, have implemented major improvements to the organisation’s governance, financial, administrative and other systems. A new audit committee has been appointed; BDO Financial Services have been hired to prepare annual accounts; new staff, including a Chief Financial Officer, have been appointed.

This has already achieved tighter financial management and budgetary control, resulting in significant improvements in our financial position.

Reviews across all facets of NLC’s operations across all branches will continue to identify further efficiencies improvements that will inform future budget preparations.

Above: Waiting for the dance troupe, Barunga Festival, June 2015.

One of NLC’s essential roles is to give Traditional Owners a voice and to ensure their property rights are both protected and enabled…

THE YEAR: AT A GLANCE 2014/2015 HIGHLIGHTS

NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

NLC Chief Executive Officer, Joe Morrison advocated at various forums for Aboriginal interests to be recognised and heard in the ongoing debate about northern development.

Mr Morrison was invited to address the National Press Club in Canberra in February and his speech was broadcast live on ABC Television. Mr Morrison concluded: “With goodwill on both sides, (Indigenous) people can be placed squarely in the frame of northern development. They can be empowered to advance Indigenous health and educational outcomes, and they can plan for the use of the lands and waters that our ancestors have occupied for millennia.”

Mr Morrison further developed that theme at the Developing Northern Australia Conference in Townsville in July, after the release of the Commonwealth Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia. He said, “Aboriginal people ourselves require a real and meaningful input into the planning process, rather than just being presented with a fait accompli where the only outcomes are extinguishment of our Native Title and a sense of alienation.”

MORE STREAMLINED APPROVALS PROCESS

The NLC’s Full Council meeting in June 2015 voted to delegate some of its powers to the NLC’s Executive Council, providing the means for agreements to be considered and approved more promptly.

The decision means that approval of matters like section 19 land use agreements, that were formerly the preserve of only the Full Council, will be expedited: the Executive meets six times a year outside of the bi-annual Full Council meetings, so there will now be at least eight opportunities a year to consider such agreements.

NLC delegations under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act had not been updated for 20 years, and the volume of land use agreements has been growing substantially in recent years.

The decision highlights the willingness of Traditional Owners to foster and promote development on their lands and the NLC’s ability to respond efficiently to development applications.

Indigenous Affairs Minister, Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion, who attended the June meeting, welcomed the decision.

14 15

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

MCARTHUR RIVER MINE: LONG-TERM ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS

During 2014/2015, the NLC continued to monitor the Northern Territory Government’s management of the unfolding environmental crisis at the McArthur River zinc-lead mine near Borroloola.

In 2006, the Government approved a diversion of the McArthur River to allow the mine’s owner, Xtrata (now Glencore) to convert the mine to an open pit. Enabling legislation established a supervising regime under an Independent Monitor.

In October 2014, the Independent Monitor catalogued serious and persistent environ-mental problems that the operating company, MRM, had failed to remedy. The Independent Monitor also identified a high risk that MRM’s security bond would be inadequate, with serious implications for the public purse.

Traditional Owners have long expressed to the NLC their concerns about the mine’s poor operating record.

BORROLOOLA

At the handing back ceremony, Indigenous Affairs Minister, Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion said:

It is always great to be back among the li-Anthawirriyarra. You, like me, are happiest by the sea or on a river. And you are most at home here on Yanyuwa country and on the islands.

This is your country. You are Yanyuwa Ngimarringki (land owner of father’s country) and Jungkayi (custodian of mother’s country). Here on country your future hopes are imbued with a strong sense of all that is good of the past.

These lands and all the things in and on them were created during Yijan, which some people call the dreaming…

Today, I do have a piece of paper that grants land, but I am deeply conscious that I am giving you back what is already yours.

Today I grant to you the islets on the east coast of Vanderlin as well as Lhuka and Jawuma.

Today we celebrate narnu-yuwa (Yanyuwa law) and white law both working together to return this land to its rightful owners.

Today you are rightly strong and proud.

As I do the honours today, I want to applaud you for the struggle and journey that you have undertaken to have your land and culture recognised.

Yours was the first land claim formally submitted under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act back in 1977. And you endured many setbacks to that claim and waited a long time for its resolution.

…On their behalf, we promote economic development, we seek to create jobs, we seek to improve people’s lives.

HISTORIC PROGRESS ON LONG-STANDING CLAIMS

The 2014/2015 reporting year saw major progress on three long-standing claims under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act: Borroloola; Wickham River; and Kenbi.

Borroloola

In May, the Indigenous Affairs Minister, Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion, handed back titles to outstanding areas of land from the Warnarrwarnarr-Barranyi (Borroloola No. 2 claim) to Yanyuwa Traditional Owners. These Deeds related to a land claim that was first submitted by the NLC in 1979.

The li-Anthawirriyarra Sea Ranger Unit has already built an operations base at Jawuma, an educational centre for visitors and school parties, as well as a booking centre for campers at Lhuka (Batten Point) and outer islands.

Wickham River

The Commonwealth Government has agreed to schedule as Aboriginal land the 149 km2 block occupied by the Yarralin community on the Wickham River and a 355 km2 block to the north, currently owned by the Northern Territory Land Corporation. As well, a 31 km2 block to the south, which comprises the Wickham River land claim (lodged by the NLC in 1983) will also be scheduled - a total of 535 km2.

The Wickham River claim was first considered by the Interim Aboriginal Land Commissioner (the late Hon. Justice Dick Ward) in 1975.

The Yarralin community has been told the land will be handed back in 2016. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth wants to consult with Traditional Owners about securing a 99-year township lease over Yarralin.

KENBI

As a step to advance settlement of the long-standing Kenbi claim, Parliament accepted a recommendation from its Public Works Committee and approved the spending of more than $31.5 million to clean up contaminated sites on Cox Peninsula.

The Commonwealth used various sites on Cox Peninsula for maritime, communications and defence purposes that have left a wide area of contaminated land. Asbestos, pesticides, heavy metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been detected above safe levels.

The NLC delivered a submission in April 2015 to an inquiry by the Public Works Committee. The submission supported the remediation scheme and urged the Commonwealth to settle the Kenbi claim as soon as possible.

16 17

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE SUMMARY

The NLC is primarily funded through the Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA), an account into which the Commonwealth Government pays an amount of money equal to the royalties paid from mining on Aboriginal land. These payments are made on an estimates and justification basis. The NLC is also a Native Title Representative Body under the Native Title Act 1993, and receives funding for native title matters. In addition to its core funding under the ABA and Native Title Act, the NLC receives funds via a number of separate special purpose grants.

The NLC is required to prepare audited financial statements for two separate accounting entities under two Acts of Parliament - the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and the Native Title Act. The NLC auditor is the Australian National Audit Office.

Financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the Finance Minister’s Orders and Australian Accounting Standards and Interpretations issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) that apply for the reporting period. The full audited statements are reproduced at the end of this report at page 149.

A short summary of the NLC’s overall financial performance for 2014/2015 is shown below.

EXTERNAL FUNDING

The NLC receives additional funding from a number of sources, including:

•

J

obs and Career Services funding (mining companies)

•

W

orking on Country funding for ranger groups (Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet)

•

R

eal Jobs funding for ranger groups (Indigenous Land Corporation).

CHALLENGES

The NLC faces ongoing challenges, including:

•

U

ncertainty of grant funding arrangements for ranger salaries and ongoing operational funding following the adoption of new policy directions by government

•

C

ompeting demands for limited financial resources

•

C

ompliance with new Commonwealth Authority financial accounting and accountability procedures

•

T

urnaround time of the cost recovery process

•

A d

epleted and aging motor vehicle fleet.

2014/2015 FINANCIAL OVERVIEW

The NLC’s operating surplus/deficit is dependent on external factors such as grant cycles and capital investment in infrastructure in particular financial years. Operating surplus is, by definition, an accounting term and does not refer to unexpended funds.

The NLC is currently reviewing its financial policies and procedures which will lead to more efficient and effective work outputs and improved fiscal management and accountability.

KEY NEW APPOINTMENTS

Leanne Liddle, Senior Policy Adviser

Leanne is an Arrernte woman born and raised in Alice Springs and has cultural ties across the central desert region, including the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands in the far north west of South Australia. Leanne worked with Traditional Owners in this region to manage the award-winning ‘Kuka Kanyini’ project, which loosely translated means ‘looking after the land’. This project ensured the best environmental outcomes on a landscape scale as a result of learnings that incorporated both western science and traditional land management skills.

Leanne has qualifications in Environmental Science, Law and Management, but she believes her most important knowledge has come from her grandmother and great-grandmother who taught her about traditional land management skills, particularly with the use of fire.

Leanne has served other senior public service roles, including as the manager of Food Security for Aboriginal communities in South Australia, and the manager of the APY and West Coast regions of South Australia. She was also the first Aboriginal policewoman in South Australia where she worked for 11 years as a Senior Constable at remote police stations and in Adelaide. Leanne has also worked internationally - for the United Nations with stints in Geneva and New York and with UNESCO in Paris - and continues as director for Bush Heritage Australia. She has published many international scientific papers on the critical importance of integrating Traditional Ecological Knowledge into land management.

Michael O’Donnell, Principal Legal Officer

Formerly a barrister at John Toohey Chambers in Darwin, Michael grew up in Sydney and studied at the University of New South Wales. He has a BA in history and politics, and a Masters degree in Law.

Michael came to Darwin in 1998 from Western Australia, where he had been Principal Legal Officer with the Kimberley Land Council. Michael has significant expertise in native title law, policy and practice and Indigenous legal issues in general. He has been counsel in a number of native title claims and related negotiations. He has provided advice to NAILSMA Ltd and was the KLC’s legal adviser in the negotiation of the Native Title Act in 1993 and amendments to the Act in 1998 on behalf of the National Indigenous Working Group. He has a detailed knowledge of the Native Title Act and its history.

Michael is a former chair of the Alcohol and Drugs Tribunal of the Northern Territory and current chair of the Community Justice Centre Consultative Council (Northern Territory). Michael was a legal consultant to the Review Board of the Northern Territory Emergency Response in 2008, and has written papers and given lectures and public seminars on a variety of Indigenous legal issues.

18 19

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

FROM OUR CHAIRMAN MR SAMUEL BUSH-BLANASI

The NLC over the past year continued to advocate for the property rights of the 36,000 Aboriginal people in its region, especially in the context of economic development in northern Australia. I wrote in last year’s annual report that too much of the debate about economic development had focused on land tenure. I said that the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and the Native Title Act 1993 were held by many commentators to be an impediment to development. This past year has brought more of that sort of commentary.

First was Mr Andrew Forrest’s report to the Commonwealth, Creating Parity - The Forrest Review, released on 1 August last year. The report began life as a review of Indigenous training and employment programs. Its brief expanded to deal at some length with the matter of land tenure; it also sought to diminish the powers of the Northern Territory Land Councils.

The final report recommended that governments “create the ability for traditional owners to convert their land to freehold or hold the underlying title with a 99-year lease owned by the home or business owner, so that it can be mortgaged or traded through the open market and so that traditional owners can build their houses on allotments on their own land”.

Forrest wanted the Commonwealth to use its funding leverage and, specifically, its powers to devolve decision making to more regional structures “to ensure land councils are responsive to the wishes of traditional owners who have requested to freehold or lease their land to enable business investment and/or home ownership”.

Then, out of the blue, came a communique from the COAG meeting on 10 October 2014. It announced an ‘urgent’ investigation into Indigenous land administration and land use “to enable traditional owners to readily attract private sector investment and finance to develop their own land with new industries and businesses to provide jobs and economic advancement for Indigenous people.”

I saw both the Forrest report and the COAG announcement as presaging an attack on the property rights of Aboriginal people, and the functions of the NLC.

The Full Council, whilst respecting its statutory functions, continued during the past year to oppose 99-year township leases on Aboriginal land within the NLC region being held by a Commonwealth officer, the Executive Director of Township Leasing (EDTL); and we continued to oppose regulations which would effect the devolution of NLC powers to regional, unaccountable corporations.

I am pleased to report that the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion, has listened to our objections and has indicated that he’s prepared to be flexible on both fronts. His willingness to negotiate signals a welcome step towards a more constructive relationship.

It was also heartening to hear the Minister praise the NLC Full Council at its meeting at Barunga in June for their decision to delegate some approval powers to the Executive Council. That decision will speed up the processes for approving land use and mining agreements under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

…continue to advocate for the 36,000 Aboriginal people in our region.

TABLE 1: NLC’S FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE - FIVE-YEAR OVERVIEW

2010/2011 $’000 2011/2012 $’000

2012/2013 $’000 2013/2014 $’000

2014/2015* $’000

Revenue 42,628 37,021 35,419 36,869 41,203

Expenses 34,719 40,904 48,780 43,660 35,101

Operating Surplus/(Deficit) (before Capital Investment)

7,909 (3,883) (13,361) (6,791) 6,102

Assets 31,116 27,955 15,629 11,294 15,011

Liabilities 5,546 6,236 7,492 8,019 5,634

Asset Revaluation Reserve 265 265 44 1,973 1,973

Cash Held 12,965 19,247 4,577 2,545 6,588

Net increase/decrease in cash held 8,965 6,462 (13,361) (2,032) 4,043

* Note 2014/2015 figures are draft and may be subject to change

COMMONWEALTH COMPLIANCE SUMMARY

As a Commonwealth Authority, the NLC is subject to annual reporting orders issued by the Finance Minister under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, which stipulates that the NLC recovers costs regarding the provision of products or services where it is efficient to do so.

FEES

In accordance with subsection 37(2) of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, fees received for services by the NLC can be found at Note 4(a) of the Financial Statements (refer page 170).

SIGNIFICANT EVENTS

There were no significant events pursuant to section 16(a) of the Annual Reporting Orders to report this financial year.

KEY CHANGES

There were no key changes to the state of affairs or principal activities of the NLC pursuant to section 16(c) of the Annual Reporting Orders to report this financial year.

AMENDMENTS TO ENABLING LEGISLATION

There were no amendments to the enabling legislation pursuant to section 16(d) of the Annual Reporting Orders to report this financial year.

EXTERNAL SCRUTINY

There were no judicial decisions, no ministerial directions and general policies or decisions of administrative tribunals pursuant to s17(a) Annual Reporting Orders this financial year.

A detailed account of the NLC’s financial statements are presented in Part V of this Annual Report.

20 21

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

FROM OUR CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER JOE MORRISON

The NLC’s workload and outputs continue to grow. At the two meetings of the NLC’s Full Council held during the past reporting year, 84 Land Use Agreements and 13 Mining Agreements were approved. That represents clear evidence of the willingness of Aboriginal Traditional Owners in our region to accept development on their lands. It’s also a tribute to the hard work of NLC staff who conduct consultations and ensure free, prior and informed consent for mining ventures, development projects and property leases on Aboriginal-owned land.

The NLC is now well-placed to expedite the approval of land use agreements, after the Full Council meeting in Barunga in June decided to delegate some of its approval powers to the Executive Council. Executive meets six times a year outside of the bi-annual Full Council meetings, so there will now be at least eight opportunities a year to consider and approve agreements.

The Indigenous Affairs Minister, Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion, was in attendance when the Full Council made its historic decision to delegate its powers, and he congratulated the members immediately.

The development of northern Australia has been the focus of much of my thinking and advocacy in many different forums over the past reporting year.

The NLC cautiously welcomed the Commonwealth Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia when it was released in June. We were relieved that the paper did not attack the basic integrity of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. In a speech to the National Press Club in February, I described the Act as “a beautiful thing - a beacon that marks the high point of recognising dispossession, of customary ownership

and enduring practice of an ancient culture rooted in the land and waters of the Northern Territory.”

But we had reservations about the White Paper’s proposal to simplify native title processes. I said that any simplification must not be a guise for diminishing communal decision-making and

the rights of native title holders. My fundamental reservation about the White Paper is the absence of a place for Aboriginal people at the planning table. The White Paper does not address the need for robust, evidence-based planning that will deliver good outcomes, especially for Indigenous people in the north.

Throughout the past year I have campaigned publicly for a rigorous planning regime that recognises and embraces property rights and interests of Indigenous people as the major land owners and population group away from the major urban centres in the north.

I have also sought to advance the preparation of a development prospectus that clearly identifies opportunities for new activities on Aboriginal-owned land in the NLC region, because Aboriginal people want to be part of an economic development agenda.

But we want that development to be ethical and aligned with our environmental and cultural values.

With the participation of Aboriginal people themselves, an NLC-facilitated prospectus would identify where and how they would like their lands to be developed, how they want their communities to grow, how they want to create real and lasting employment that embraces both culture and economic aspirations.

Workload and output continues to grow.

Much has already been done to get the NLC house in order.

The Chairman of the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee, Senator the Hon. Cory Bernardi, congratulated NLC officers for their evidence to the committee in Canberra on 29 May, which I attended with the CEO and senior NLC staff.

Our re-appearance before Senator Bernadi’s committee followed criticisms at a hearing in February which flowed from a report by the Australian National Audit Office about the NLC’s financial management and reporting procedures. At the May hearing we were able to demonstrate that much had already been achieved to get the NLC house in order.

After our appearance before the Senate Committee in February, the Executive Council gathered with the staff Leadership Group for a three-day retreat in March at Mary River, to set a course for improving the NLC’s governance and internal administration systems. Much work continues within the organisation to achieve this.

It was my pleasure in June this year to speak at the opening of the annual Barunga sports and cultural festival. It was the festival’s 30th anniversary, and I recalled that it was at the Barunga Festival in 1988 that the then Prime Minister, the Hon Bob Hawke, had promised a treaty with Australia’s Indigenous peoples.

I was also pleased to be invited by the Human Rights Commission to attend, with the Deputy Chair John Daly and CEO Joe Morrison, a roundtable at Broome in June to discuss Indigenous property rights. The Attorney General, Senator the Hon. George Brandis, also attended with Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda and Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson.

The discussions over two days were positive, although I shared the disappointment of other participants in what the native title system has delivered over the past twenty years, and in the way rights have been whittled away through successive amendments to the Native Title Act.

Also at the Broome roundtable, we held a positive discussion about the recognition of Indigenous peoples in the Australian Constitution. Members have taken a close interest in the subject of constitutional recognition at NLC Full Council meetings, and the NLC stands prepared to facilitate discussion in the wider Aboriginal community in our region.

Finally, I want to thank my deputy, John Daly and the seven other members of the NLC Executive Council for their hard work over the past year. We all look forward to next year, 2016, which will be the 40th anniversary of the passing of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. It will also be the 50th anniversary of the walk-off from Wave Hill station by the Gurindji people.

Samuel Bush-Blanasi CHAIRMAN

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

Historic progress on three long-standing claims…

This is a project with great potential to build resilient communities by creating sustainable prosperity. I have promoted its value to various Commonwealth Government ministers and their officials, and I am optimistic about their support. On that note, I am pleased that the NLC is investigating the establishment of a Community Development Unit across the NLC operations.

With senior officers, I had to appear before the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee on 27 February, where we were questioned closely about the NLC’s reporting record. The committee was concerned about references to the NLC in the Australian National Audit Office’s report on the financial statements of Commonwealth Government entities, tabled

in Parliament on 18 December 2014. The ANAO found weaknesses and delays in financial reporting by the NLC.

I later wrote to all staff that the appearance was a ‘serious wake-up call’.

The work that we have ahead of us constitutes a complex

change management initiative where it is not simply about changing systems and procedures - as large a task as that already is - but also about changing the way we work and aligning our day-to-day corporate culture to our vision and mission. This task is not one that can be completed in a few months, but one which we must implement intently over the coming year.

In the months since, with assistance from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, we have worked tirelessly to implement significant improvements to our governance, financial, administrative and other systems. The Leadership Group has met several times to deal with those matters; a new audit committee has been appointed; BDO Financial Services have been hired to prepare the annual accounts; new staff, including a Chief Financial Officer, will be appointed by the end of the 2015 calendar year.

Within this short period, we have focused on much tighter financial management and budgetary control and I am proud to report that we have made significant improvements in our financial position. There are continuing reviews of all facets of operations across all NLC branches. Efficiencies and needs are being identified, and that information will be fed into future budget preparations.

Like other Commonwealth entities, the NLC has had to grapple with the introduction of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, which came into effect on 1 July 2014, replacing the Financial Management and Accountability Act and the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act. For the NLC, the new Act has meant meeting more compliance benchmarks within the constraints of a diminished budget and fewer resources.

These administrative matters are also important in order to finalise the long outstanding Enterprise Agreement that was idling prior to my commencement. I am committed to resolving the Agreement, so that hard working NLC staff can get on with important work for our constituents and communities.

I am pleased to be able to report progress on three fronts during the year towards the historic settlement of long-standing claims under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

Aboriginal people want to be part of an economic development agenda.

1. BORROLOOLA

With the NLC chairman, other executive members and staff, I attended a land hand-back at Borroloola on 6 May, where the Indigenous Affairs Minister, Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion, handed over Title Deeds to the Yanyuwa people on behalf of the Commonwealth Government. The Deeds related to land outstanding from the Bororoloola No. 2 claim, which was submitted by the NLC in 1979.

2. WICKHAM RIVER

The next day I flew with the Minister to Yarralin where he undertook to process quickly the Wickham River land claim, which was first considered by the Interim Aboriginal Land Commissioner (the late Hon. Justice Dick Ward) in 1975. The Minister has introduced legislation to schedule around 535 km2 of land as Aboriginal land. Talks will continue about the Commonwealth’s wish to secure a 99-year Township lease over the community of Yarralin.

3. KENBI

Another welcome development during the year was the decision by the Commonwealth Parliament to approve the expenditure of $31.5 million to remediate contaminated sites on Cox Peninsula, in order to advance the settlement of the Kenbi land claim. An NLC submission to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works described the Kenbi claim as the “most complex and

hard-fought for” in the history of the Northern Territory Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

The NLC has another busy year ahead, and discussions continue with the Federal Government to receive sufficient

budget allocations to enable our organisation to fulfill its statutory responsibilities under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and Native Title Act.

I congratulate the hard working staff of the NLC and the elected members of the Council led by Chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi.

Joe Morrison CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

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PART I: ABOUT US - OUR LAND, OUR SEA, OUR LIFE

HISTORY

There is nothing more fundamental to the Aboriginal understanding of self and society than our relationship with the land and the sea. In 1973, the Australian Parliament appointed Justice Edward Woodward to conduct a Commission of Inquiry into the appropriate way to recognise Aboriginal land rights in the Northern Territory. The parliament was responding to lobbying from Aboriginal people, especially in the Northern Territory, for the recognition of their land rights.

In 1963, the Yolngu people of east Arnhem Land presented the Commonwealth Parliament with a bark petition, protesting about plans to use a great swathe of their land for bauxite mining. The petition remains on display at Parliament House, Canberra. The immediate-past Chairman of the NLC, Mr Wunungmurra*, was a signatory to that petition.

He was present in July 2013 at a celebration which marked the 50th anniversary of its presentation at Rika Park, Yirrkala.

Calls for the recognition of land rights were rising across the Top End during the 1960s. In 1966, Gurindji stockmen and their families walked off the Wave Hill Station. What began as a dispute over pay and conditions escalated into a demand for land rights and thousands of Aboriginal people elsewhere took up the land rights cause in different ways. This led to

an historic national referendum in 1967, where 91% of the people of Australia voted to give the Australian Parliament the power to make laws with respect to Aboriginal people.

The NLC was established in the second half of 1973 in response to Justice Woodward’s first report. Initially, the Council’s role was to assist the Commission by ascertaining the views of Aboriginal people and advocating for our interests. Following the enactment of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, the NLC became an independent statutory authority responsible for assisting Aboriginal people in the northern region of the Northern Territory to acquire and manage traditional lands and seas.

* Mr Wunungmurra passed away 7 August 2015.

Opposite: Muckaty Station landscape.

The NLC remains an important body through which Aboriginal people of the Top End can make their voices heard.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

WHOM WE SERVE

Our values are informed by the values of the Aboriginal people of our region. We act in accordance with these values at all times.

With those values in mind, the diversity of skills and experience of staff helps to build strong relationships and effective partnerships and we undertake to:

•

C

onsult with and act with the informed consent of Traditional Owners in accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

•

C

ommunicate clearly with Aboriginal people taking into account the linguistic diversity of the region.

•

R

espect Aboriginal law and tradition.

•

B

e responsive to Aboriginal peoples’ needs and effectively advocate for their interests.

•

B

e accountable to the people we represent.

•

A

ct in a manner that is appropriate and sensitive to cultural differences.

•

A

ct with integrity, honesty and fairness.

•

U

phold the principles and values of social justice.

•

T

reat our stakeholders with respect.

Above, left: NLC Executive Council and Leadership Group meet at Mary River, March 2015. Above, right: Timothy Nadjowh receives OAM from Indigenous Affairs Minister, Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion, at Gunbalanya, May 2015.

The establishment and ongoing support of the four Land Councils in the Northern Territory - Tiwi, Anindilyakwa, Central and Northern - are important manifestations of Parliament’s commitment to reconciliation with the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory.

Nearly 40 years on, the NLC remains an important body through which Aboriginal people of the Top End can make their voices heard on a range of issues which impact on our lands, seas and communities. The Aboriginal Land Rights Act continues to be a strong foundation on which to build social, cultural and economic growth for Traditional Owners. The NLC is also the representative body for the purposes of the Native Title Act 1993, and in this capacity the NLC also represents Aboriginal people living on the Tiwi Islands and on Groote Eylandt.

OUR ROLE

The NLC is an independent body corporate of the Commonwealth, responsible for assisting Aboriginal peoples to acquire and manage their traditional lands and seas.

The NLC is committed to ‘enhancing Aboriginal people’s social, political and economic participation’ and this is reflected through the policies and decisions of the Full Council.

The NLC region is unique, and the organisation continues to focus on supporting and fostering new and innovative projects and developments that underpin prosperity in remote Aboriginal communities. To ‘enhance’ Aboriginal peoples’ ‘participation’, we must be responsive to opinion, build capacity, encourage leadership and develop equitable and balanced outcomes. We adopt best practice and apply precautionary principles. The mechanisms for achieving this are the promotion, protection and advancement of Aboriginal peoples’ rights and interests through strong leadership and good governance.

The NLC continues to show that it is ideally placed to manage the increasing demands of governments, private enterprise and Aboriginal communities to establish services and business enterprises on Aboriginal lands. The NLC continues to enhance Aboriginal participation and equity in major developments.

Aboriginal culture is diverse and rich, our lands and waters are resource rich, and the NLC is a major contributor to Aboriginal affairs and the economy in the Northern Territory.

NLC’S RESPONSIBILITIES

The role and purpose of the NLC is driven by its enabling legislation - the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and the Native Title Act 1993 - and the views of our stakeholders, both of which are reflected in our Vision, Guiding Values, Goals and Objectives (outlined in Part II of this Annual Report).

A full explanation of our legislative obligations and how these are being addressed is provided in the NLC’s Corporate Plan 2015/2016-2018/2019.

See NLC’s website: www.nlc.org.au

The NLC …advancing Aboriginal interests and rights through strong leadership and good governance.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

FIGURE 1: NLC OFFICE LOCATIONS

Aboriginal Land Trust Areas

Borroloola-Barkly

West Arnhem

East Arnhem

Central Land Council

Tiwi Land Council

Ngukurr

Darwin

Jabiru

Wadeye

Timber Creek

Katherine

Bulman

Ngukurr

Borroloola

Tennant Creek

NLC Offices

Nhulunbuy

Victoria River District

Darwin Daly Wagait

Anindilyakwa Land Council Katherine

TRADITIONAL OWNERS

Since the enactment of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and the Native Title Act, approximately 50% of land in the Northern Territory has become legally Aboriginal owned, including 85% of the Territory’s coastline. A large proportion of the remaining land mass is subject to native title.

The NLC’s key constituents are the Traditional Owners within its region.

About 36,000 Aboriginal people live in the region, and 80 percent live in regional and remote areas - in nearly 200 communities ranging in size from small family outstations to communities with populations around 3000.

The majority of Aboriginal people in the NLC region speak an Aboriginal language as their first language. Many are multi-lingual, and English is often way down the list of everyday languages.

Customary law continues to be practised in many communities within the region.

Many major resource developments are taking place on Aboriginal and native title lands. These developments have included the construction of gas pipelines, army training areas, national parks and pastoral activities. Mining and petroleum exploration and development projects continue to increase business for the NLC in terms of acting on behalf of Traditional Owners. The challenge for the NLC is to ensure that social, economic and cultural opportunities and benefits flow to Aboriginal people from these developments.

Aboriginal people are keen to participate in planning and development activities while at the same time protecting our cultural integrity.

REGIONS

The NLC is divided into seven regions, as shown on the map opposite - Darwin-Daly-Wagait, West Arnhem, East Arnhem, Katherine, VRD, Ngukurr and Borroloola-Barkly. Each region is represented by a regional council (featuring male and female members) and a regional Executive Member is elected to sit on the NLC’s Executive Council.

The NLC has offices beyond Darwin, located in Katherine, Jabiru, Nhulunbuy, Timber Creek, Tennant Creek, Ngukurr, Bulman, Borroloola and Wadeye.

Above: Traditional Owners display their land title deeds at a handback ceremony near Borroloola, May 2015. From left: Leister Timothy, Selena Timothy, Marlene Timothy and Warren Timothy.

...Aboriginal people, wherever they live, in the big smoke or in distant outstations, want to engage, they want to be part of modern society.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

REGIONAL STAFF PROFILES

TED LOWE - Senior Project Officer, Katherine

Background - I’m a proud Indigenous man, married and father of two. Born in Darwin, I have lived in Katherine pretty much all my life, schooling and all. I left school after the 9th grade to start work as a labourer in the construction game; done 13 years at the Katherine Abattoirs, eight years at Tindal Airport, then in 1987, I started work with the NLC and have been there for the last 28 years.

In 1998, I sought to develop my skills and successfully completed a Degree in Aboriginal Community Development at Curtin University. Since then, I’ve worked in the Indigenous Pastoral Program for a decade, and over the last two years have worked as a Senior Project Officer and Regional Coordinator.

Indigenous connections - My father Bob Lowe was a Larrakia man; mother Nida was from the Stolen Generation. My maternal connections are throughout the Barkly and Borroloola Region. I have family connections throughout the breadth of the Northern Territory and have grown up with the Dagoman, Jawoyn and Wardaman peoples.

Interest - I have a keen interest in music, being a self-taught guitarist and drummer, and played in a number of bands since the late 1960s; however, now I have pulled up a bit on that as the body isn’t what it was and the hair around my muscles has turned grey. My hobbies lately are a little less strenuous; I like photographing people, events and I dabble in painting landscapes.

What’s it like working in NLC? - The work is interesting, challenging and there is never a dull moment. After 20 plus years doing fieldwork, it has been good to see NLC continuing to apply significant effort with consulting countrymen in the bush. When you work on a project and Traditional Owners get a good outcome, it gives me a great sense of achievement knowing that we have accomplished something. Through work I continue to have opportunities to meet new people and I have also established everlasting friendships with countrymen from all over the place.

Observations - NLC’s workload over the years continues to increase. The Katherine Regional Office presence is also now starting to develop. Over the last 18 months we have increased our staff numbers, resources and equipment base, which is critical to undertake the work coming our way and support other smaller offices. At the moment, Katherine has established a pool of good staff and we are ready to take on projects in the region when they arise.

REGIONAL OFFICE NETWORK

According to ABS statistics (2011), nearly seventy percent (70%) of all Aboriginal people in the NLC region live outside of the greater Darwin area, so NLC regional offices are often the first point of contact for a vast majority of rural and remote Aboriginal people accessing NLC services. Regional staff work across 10 sites including:

•

2

9 regional based positions located in Katherine, Bulman, Timber Creek, Ngukurr, Borroloola, Jabiru, Nhulunbuy, Tennant Creek and Wadeye

•

a d

efence liaison position funded by the Department of Defence and based at Timber Creek to assist with the implementation and monitoring of the Bradshaw ILUA

•

a T

elstra liaison position funded by Telstra to assist with accelerating Aboriginal land access and management of Telstra infrastructure leases

•

a p

astoral engagement position funded by the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) to assist in the implementation of the Indigenous Pastoral Program (IPP) Strategic and Operational Plan

•

1

1 positions based in Darwin to directly support all regional offices, coordinate regional programs and provide services to the Darwin-Daly-Wagait region.

A key part of the regional office network team is to support on country projects by:

• h

elping coordinate consultations

•

p

rogressing expressions of interest for land use agreements and licences

•

m

onitoring compliance with agreements

•

p

rocessing permits and funeral applications

•

s

upporting the Full Council and Regional Councils.

Just over sixty five percent (65%) of all staff employed in the regions are Aboriginal, with a large percentage recruited locally, therefore having close ties to the region they are working in. The regional network also employs up to 20 local Aboriginal people on a casual basis to assist with projects on a needs basis.

Right: Lazarus Murray, Senior Project Officer, Bulman.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

TAHNEE MAWSON - Project Officer, Borroloola

Background - I was born in Darwin in the mid 80s with Katherine becoming home where most of my schooling years were spent. A single mother to one child brought me back to Borroloola to be closer to family. After doing a few months of work with Mabunji Aboriginal Corporation and McArthur River Mine, I started with the NLC in 2008. Seven years have now passed and I still find my job to be challenging and exciting, as it was the day I commenced.

Indigenous connections - I am a Garawa and Yanuwa woman from my mother’s side and Larrakia from my father’s side. Most of my adult life I spent living in Borroloola and have strong cultural connection to Gurdanji and Mara tribes through close family ties.

Interest - I enjoy fishing, hunting and spending as much time as I can with family. I spend most of my spare time helping to organise community events such as our annual Rodeo, NAIDOC celebrations and football and softball carnivals. But most importantly, I cherish every moment I get to spend time with my son who schools in Queensland, which is a strain but rewarding at the same time knowing that providing him with the stepping stone to his future through education will be accomplished.

What’s it like working in NLC? - Working with the NLC has proven difficult at times juggling family and work commitments, but I have enjoyed every obstacle thrown my way working as a project officer in the region for the past years because not only is work challenging, but also rewarding. Helping our mob in the bush and seeing outcomes brings great pride. The travel that is required with my position has brought me long life friendships and connections through different projects, which include native title workshops over Australia and Woman’s Law and Culture camps. Our recent handback of North Island and Blackrock has proven that hard work, commitment and dedication of past and present staff produces good results, team work and working together creating positive outcomes.

Observations - Over the years I have seen staff come and go, all making significant contributions to the region and it has been a pleasure to be a part of it. Out in the region, you really need to make connections with the people and the staff you work with. They are your family for as long as you will be here. The connections made with people and the outcomes from major projects over the years have been rewarding and I look forward to our future challenges that will arise while continuing to help our mob in the bush.

BOBBY NUNGGUMAJBARR - Senior Project Officer, Ngukurr

Background - Born at Roper River, my family and I travelled to Numbulwar by dugout canoe when I was a child back in the Mission days. I did all my schooling at Numbulwar and on completion worked in many different jobs in the community. I moved to Groote Eylandt for a few years starting work with GEMCO, and then took up an administrative position with Angurugu Community Council where I was later appointed as Town Clerk.

I started work at the NLC in Ngukurr around 1983. My position is Senior Project Officer. I have been doing NLC work for over 30 years and I am still here today enjoying my job and being a family man.

Indigenous connections - I am from the Nungumajbarr clan; in culture way I have connections with many other clan groups in the Ngukurr, Numbulwar and Groote Eylandt regions.

Interests - I have a real sense of commitment to providing my people with economic, community and social benefits. I am an active community member participating as an official with the Ngukurr Bulldogs Football Club, Chairperson of the Yugul Mangi Development Aboriginal Corporation, member of the Local Reference Group, Housing Reference Group, Ngukurr Store, Ngukurr School and the Local Authority Council.

What’s it like working at the NLC? - I live and breathe NLC; it’s been my life for over 30 years. The family home at Ngukurr is an NLC house and is less than a stone throw away from the NLC Office; there is no escape for me. I serve my community and countrymen all day and night. I do a lot of travelling in my region. I meet new people; I try to lead discussions with Traditional Owners and other stakeholders. The job can be frustrating at times as our people often want more than I can deliver but at the same time the job is very rewarding when we get real good outcomes. I feel good working for my people and being able to set things up for our children and grandchildren.

Observations - NLC work over the years hasn’t got any easier. We have had big projects with mining in the Ngukurr region start and then fall over not too long after. This has been difficult for our area and people. There is also more work for NLC now than there has been before. I am regularly required to consult Traditional Owners over leasing, mining, Native Title, planning and royalties, and my NLC Toyota and I are on the go all the time. NLC moving forward will really need to work on how we improve the way we do our business in the bush - things seem to be changing steadily and we have to be able to meet the needs of our people and community.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

Above, clockwise from top left: Executive Council member David Djalangi (East Arnhem region) addresses Full Council meeting at South Alligator, December 2014; Full Council members confer with NLC anthropologist Carol Christophersen (right) at South Alligator, December 2014; NLC Full Council meets at South Alligator, December 2014.

OUR COUNCIL

The responsible Commonwealth Minister, Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion, approves the method of choosing members of the NLC, including the community and/or outstation area represented. Section 29 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act provides that an Aboriginal person who is a Traditional Owner or a resident living within the NLC region may nominate for membership of the NLC Full Council.

The Minister has nominated the 52 community areas in the NLC region that members can be nominated to represent. Seventy eight members, plus five co-opted women positions, make up the NLC Full Council. Members are nominated for a three-year term.

The Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the NLC were elected at a Full Council meeting in Darwin in November 2013. Along with members nominated from each of the seven regions, the Chairman and Deputy comprise the NLC’s nine member Executive Council. The Chair is an executive director and an employee of the NLC. The Deputy is a non-executive director who becomes an executive director during the Chairman’s absence. Individual members have an important role in keeping the Full Council informed of the opinions and priorities of their Aboriginal constituents.

The Full Council shapes the policy and strategic direction of the NLC. The Full Council’s powers under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act include responsibility for approving exploration and petroleum licence applications, and section 19 land use agreements. The Council has delegated some of its decision-making powers to the Executive and Regional Councils. In June 2015, the NLC’s Full Council meeting voted to delegate approval of section 19 agreements to the Executive Council, providing the means for agreements to be processed more promptly. The Executive meets six times a year outside of the bi-annual Full Council meetings, so there will now be at least eight opportunities a year to consider such agreements.

The Executive Council is responsible for managing business between Full Council meetings. Each Full Council, Executive and Regional Council meeting receives operational and financial reports from NLC branch managers, to provide direction for staff to meet performance objectives and targets. Induction and training sessions are provided to all new and returning council members. The sessions extend to members’ roles on boards and committees. Capacity building also occurs during council meetings when reports are delivered by branch managers and when various experts are invited to deliver special presentations.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

EAST ARNHEM WARD

Banambi Wunungmurra Yananymul Mununggurr Dhuwarrwarr Marika Jabani Lalara Jonathon Nunggumajbarr Don Wininba David Djalangi (Executive) Jason Guyula Kenny Djekurra Guyula Wesley Bandi Bandi Bobby Wunungmurra David Marpiyawuy Richard Dadarr Barakal David Warraya David Rumba Rumba Djawa Yunupingu* Caroline Dhamarrandji

Yirrkala Yirrkala Yirrkala Blue Mud Bay Blue Mud Bay Galiwinku Galiwinku Galiwinku Galiwinku Gapuwiyak Gapuwiyak Milingimbi Milingimbi Ramingining Ramingining Ski Beach Women’s Co-opted

* ABA Members

AIG Members are the Executive Members

TABLE 3: FULL COUNCIL MEETING DATES AND ATTENDANCE RECORD DURING 2014/2015

MEETING DATES LOCATION

109th 110th

8 to 12 December 2014 15 to 19 June 2015

South Alligator, via Jabiru Barunga, via Katherine

DARWIN-DALY-WAGAIT 109TH PROXY 110TH PROXY

John Daly (Deputy Chair) Bill Risk (Executive) Bill Danks David Kenyon Les Waters Margaret Daiyi Donna Sullivan Matthew Shields John Sullivan Elizabeth Sullivan John Wilson Wally Minjin Leslie Smiler Cyril Ninnal James Sing

Graham Kenyon

Absent

Harold Wilson

Absent 18.06-19.06 Absent 19.06 Absent Graham Kenyon Absent

Absent Absent

There’s a lot of knowledge and wisdom on that Full Council, and our bi-annual meetings, which run for the best part of a week, are productive, lively and full of debate.

FULL COUNCIL

TABLE 2: FULL COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP, 2013-2016

DARWIN, DALY, WAGAIT WARD BORROLOOLA BARKLY WARD

Bill Risk (Executive) Bill Danks David Kenyon James Sing* Les Waters Margaret Daiyi Donna Sullivan Matthew Shields John Sullivan John Daly (Deputy Chair) Elizabeth Sullivan John Wilson Wally Minjin Leslie Smiler Cyril Ninnal

Darwin Darwin Darwin East Darwin West Darwin South Darwin South West Daly River Daly River North Daly River West Daly River South Pine Creek Peppimenarti Palumpa Port Keats Port Keats North

Leonard Norman (Executive) Keith Rory* Jack Green Timothy Lansen Richard Dixon David Harvey Shannon Dixon Brian Limerick David Cutta Elaine Sandy Gordon Noonan John Finlay Jason Bill Hazel Shadforth Vacant

Borroloola Borroloola Borroloola Nicholson River Robinson River North Barkly Murranji Alexandria Brunette Downs Elliott Rockhampton Downs Wombaya Muckaty Women’s Co-opted Women’s Co-opted

WEST ARNHEM WARD NGUKURR WARD

John Christophersen (Executive) Bunug Galaminda Jenny Inmulugulu Jonathan Nadji Dean Yibarbuk Wayne Wauchope* Otto Dann Matthew Ryan Deceased Member Helen Williams Julius Kernan Matthew Ngarlbin

Coburg

Warruwi Warruwi Kakadu Gunbalanya Gunbalanya Gunbalanya Maningrida Maningrida Maningrida Maningrida Minjilang

Virginia Nundhirribala (Executive) Timothy Wurramara Faye Mangurra Peter Lansen Keith Farrell Grace Daniels* Walter Rogers Gregory Daniels Gordon Nawundulpi

Numbulwar

Numbulwar Numbulwar Nutwood/Cox River Hodgson Downs Urapunga Ngukurr Ngukurr Ngukurr

VICTORIA RIVER DISTRICT WARD KATHERINE WARD

Raymond Hector (Executive) George King George Campbell Shadrack Retchford Jack Little Larry Johns Elaine Watts* Vacant

Pigeon Hole Yingawunarri Yarralin Amanbidji Bulla Timber Creek Women’s Co-opted Women’s Co-opted

Samuel Bush-Blanasi (Chair) Helen Lee (Executive) Bill Harney Lisa Mumbin* Desmond Roberts Lloyd Murray Clive Roberts

Beswick

Barunga Katherine Katherine Weemol Bulman Mataranka/Djimbra

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

VICTORIA RIVER DISTRICT 109TH PROXY 110TH PROXY

Raymond Hector (Executive) George Campbell George King Jack Little Larry Johns Shadrack Retchford Elaine Watts

Absent Absent Absent

Peter Chubb Absent

KATHERINE 109TH PROXY 110TH PROXY

Samuel Bush-Blanasi (Chair) Helen Lee (Executive) Bill Harney Clive Roberts Desmond Lindsay Lisa Mumbin Lloyd Murray

Absent

Absent

Melissa Rogers

Christopher Gordon

EAST ARNHEM 109TH PROXY 110TH PROXY

David Djalangi (Executive) Yananymul Mununggurr Dhuwarrwarr Marika Banambi Wunungmurra Jabani Lalara Jonathon Nunggumajbarr Don Wininba Jason Guyula Kenny Djekurra Guyula David Marpiyawuy Richard Dadarr Barakal David Rumba Rumba David Warraya Wesley Bandi Bandi Bobby Wunungmurra Djawa Yunupingu Caroline Dhamarrandji

Absent

Absent

Absent Billy Buyman

Absent

Absent

Absent

Absent

Noel Manggurrra Absent

Absent Absent

BORROLOOLA/ BARKLY 109TH PROXY 110TH PROXY

Leonard Norman (Executive) Garrick George Jack Green David Harvey Hazel Shadforth Richard Dixon Keith Rory Brian Limerick Shannon Dixon David Cutta Elaine Sandy Gordon Noonan John Finlay Jason Bill

Timothy Lansen

Claudette Albert

Absent Absent Jason Green Absent Absent

Absent

Absent Absent

WEST ARNHEM 109TH PROXY 110TH PROXY

John Christophersen (Executive) Bunug Galaminda Jenny Inmulugulu Jonathon Nadji Dean Yibarbuk Wayne Wauchope Otto Dann Matthew Ryan Maningrida Member Julius (Clint) Kernan Helen Williams Matthew Ngarlbin (Cooper)

Jimmy Marinowa Absent

Absent

Absent

Absent

Deceased Absent Absent

NGUKURR 109TH PROXY 110TH PROXY

Virginia Nundhirribala (Executive) Timothy Wurramara Faye Mangurra Peter Lansen Keith Farrell Grace Daniels Walter Rogers Gregory Daniels Gordon Nawundulpi

Daphne Daniels Dwayne Rogers Absent Jim Wilfred

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

DARWIN-DALY-WAGAIT REGION

Bill Risk, Executive Member

Bill Risk was born and educated in Darwin and is a member of the Larrakia language group. Bill is a director of Imparja Television, and NAAC, and chairman of Darran Darra Aboriginal Corporation. He is also a committee member of the Buffalos Football Club. Bill says his long experience as an executive member has given him the opportunity to represent his region and be part of the processes that affect Aboriginal peoples’ lands, seas and lives.

EAST ARNHEM REGION

David Djalangi, Executive Member

David Djalangi was born at Milingimbi and was educated at the mission at Elcho Island. After schooling, David joined his Dad in the fishing industry and spent three years working the seas, after which he turned his hand to mechanics. As an elected member of the NLC Executive, David is passionate for his people’s voice to be heard. He strongly believes in his culture and his family’s land.

WEST ARNHEM REGION

John Christophersen, Executive Member

John Christophersen, a member of the Murran Group, Cobourg Peninsula, was born in Darwin. He has family ties into Kakadu, is a former NLC staff member, and a long-term council member from the mid-1980s to the early 2000s. He has devoted most of his work to marine and coastal policy issues, and remains a vocal advocate for the rights of Indigenous peoples in local, national and international forums.

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

MEMBERS

KATHERINE REGION

Samuel Bush-Blanasi, Chairman

Samuel Bush-Blanasi is a Mayili man and resident of the Wugularr (Beswick) community in the Katherine region. He was educated in his own community before completing his studies at Kormilda College in Darwin. Mr Blanasi thanks his father (the late Mr David Blanasi) for his education, and says his father instilled in him strong cultural and traditional values. Mr Blanasi is a prolific artist who brings a wealth of administrative and social experience to the NLC. This is Mr Blanasi’s fifth term at the NLC. He is the immediate past Deputy Chairman, and was previously an NLC member during the 1990s. Mr Blanasi is also a board member of the Aboriginal Investment Group, and has a long record of service on boards of several other Aboriginal bodies.

DARWIN-DALY-WAGAIT REGION

John Daly, Deputy Chairman

John Daly was born in Darwin at the old Darwin hospital. He was born and bred on the Daly River where he’s lived and worked all his life. John was Chairman of the NLC from 2005-2007 and he is passionate in his views on what he wants to achieve for his people. “What we want is independence from the government bureaucratic machine to run our lands and our financial affairs so we can make good sound decisions for our people. We just want our countrymen to achieve the best that they can via jobs and business opportunities on Aboriginal land. You’ve got to be passionate for these things otherwise there’s no point in being in organisations such as ours. You have got to have it to live it.”

BORROLOOLA BARKLY REGION

Leonard Norman, Executive Member

Leonard Norman has been a member of the NLC since the mid-1990s. This is his second term as Executive Member of the Borroloola Barkly region. He grew up in Borrolooola and was educated in his home town and at St John’s College, Darwin. He is a Yanyula elder who lives in Borroloola and works as a sea ranger with the li-Anthawirriyarra Sea Ranger Unit. Leonard has also served on community bodies, as deputy chairman of Gulf Health and as a member of the Mawurli and Wirriwangkuma Aboriginal Corporation. He holds strong views on the need to educate young people about the vision of the NLC and the work it does for Traditional Owners across the Top End of the Northern Territory.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

MEETINGS

Seven Executive Council meetings were held during the reporting period.

TABLE 4: EXECUTIVE COUNCIL MEETING DATES AND ATTENDANCE RECORD DURING 2014/2015

MEETING DATE LOCATION ATTENDEES APOLOGIES

166th 30-31 July 2014 DDW Regional Office

Palmerston

Samuel Bush-Blanasi, Bill Risk, Raymond Hector Helen Lee, John Christophersen, John Daly, Virginia Nundhirribala, Leonard Norman

David Djalangi, John Daly, John Christophersen (day 2)

167th 25-26 September

2014

Rydges Darwin Airport Resort Darwin

Samuel Bush-Blanasi, Bill Risk, Raymond Hector Helen Lee, John Christophersen, John Daly, Virginia Nundhirribala, David Djalangi

Leonard Norman

168th 26 November

2014

NLC Office 60 Smith Street Darwin

Samuel Bush-Blanasi, Bill Risk, Raymond Hector Helen Lee, John Christophersen, John Daly, Virginia Nundhirribala, David Djalangi, Leonard Norman

169th 7 December 2014 Aurora Resort Sth Alligator Samuel Bush-Blanasi, Bill Risk, Raymond Hector

Helen Lee, John Christophersen, John Daly, Virginia Nundhirribala, David Djalangi, Leonard Norman

170th 10 January 2015 NLC Office

60 Smith Street Darwin

Samuel Bush-Blanasi, Bill Risk, Raymond Hector Helen Lee, John Christophersen, John Daly

David Djalangi, Virginia Nundhirribala, Leonard Norman

171st 21-22 March

2015

Mary River Samuel Bush-Blanasi,

Bill Risk, Raymond Hector Helen Lee, John Christophersen, Virginia Nundhirribala, David Djalangi, Leonard Norman

John Daly

172nd 15 June 2015 NLC Office

Katherine

Samuel Bush-Blanasi, Bill Risk, Raymond Hector Helen Lee, John Christophersen, Virginia Nundhirribala, David Djalangi

John Daly Leonard Norman

KATHERINE REGION

Helen Lee, Executive Member

Helen Lee is affiliated with the Ngalkban clan and lives at Barunga. She was elected to the Full Council in 2003. Helen has a strong administrative background, having worked with the Jawoyn Association, Burridj Aboriginal Group Training, and the Barunga Community government Council. She is currently an electoral officer for the Member for Arnhem in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. Helen is keen to promote women’s issues and wants to assist Aboriginal people develop economic enterprises on homelands.

NGUKURR

Virginia Nundhirribala, Executive Member

Virginia was born at Ngukurr, her grandfather’s country, and was schooled at Numbulwar. She has been involved with the NLC since 2010 and is one of two women on the Executive, something she is proud of. “This is good because as a woman we’re just as strong as the men; we’ve got to have a voice for our people, too.” Virginia has strong views on what she hopes to achieve as an Executive Member. “I want to help my people to live a better way, to save our country and to work with government, making a strong community and through our culture to make it strong so that culture can live. The NLC is a part of that, and it is helping us with our culture and the land and to look after it properly. That’s very important to me.”

VICTORIA RIVER DISTRICT

Raymond Hector, Executive Member

Born in Darwin in 1970, Raymond Hector was schooled at Kormilda College. He was a health worker for 15 years at home in Pigeon Hole. As an elected member of the NLC Executive, Raymond, from the Billarna people, said his position on the Council has given him the confidence that he is representing his people in the best possible way. He has vowed to keep working hard to help his people in the care and control of land.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

OUR PEOPLE

ADMINISTRATION

The NLC’s Full Council, the supreme governing body, comprises 83 members - 78 are elected every three years from across the NLC’s seven regions, and five women are co-opted; the Chairman and Deputy Chairman are also elected.

Below the Full Council is a nine-member Executive Council which comprises the Chairman and Deputy Chairman, plus a member elected by each of the seven regions.

The Full Council represents the rights and priorities of the 36,000-plus Aboriginal people within the NLC region. It shapes policy and strategic directions and considers most agreements regarding the use of Aboriginal land on behalf of Traditional Owners.

The Full Council has delegated some decision-making powers to the Executive Council and to the seven Regional Councils.

The Executive Council appoints the Chief Executive Officer who has day-to-day responsibility for administrative operations. The CEO works closely with the Chairman and the Executive Council.

Seven branches support the CEO:

•

S

ecretariat: provides support to the CEO and Chairman and to the NLC’s elected arms

•

Le

gal: provides sound legal advice to the administrative and elected arms

•

A

nthropology: identifies and consults with Traditional Owners in order to secure and protect rights in land

•

R

egional Development: oversees the NLC’s network of nine regional offices beyond Darwin and provides logistics support for consultations required under the Aboriginal Land Rights and Native Title Acts

•

C

aring for Country: hosts and provides administrative support for land and sea Ranger Groups and supports joint management of national parks and management of Indigenous Protected Areas

•

M

inerals & Energy: provides advice to enable Aboriginal people to understand and consider proposals to explore/mine for minerals or petroleum products on their land

•

C

orporate Services: delivers financial, IT, human resource and administrative support, including fleet and property asset management to all branches.

The CEO is responsible for the leadership and management of the organisation, implementing Full Council decisions, driving the NLC’s strategic direction, setting priorities and enforcing sound corporate governance.

REGIONAL COUNCILS

Two Regional Council meetings are scheduled in each region during the reporting period. The details of each of these meetings are set out in the table below.

TABLE 5: REGIONAL COUNCIL MEETING DATES AND VENUES DURING 2014/2015

REGION DATE LOCATION

Darwin-Daly-Wagait 9-10 October 2014 Daly River

6-7 May 2015 Lake Bennett Resort

East Arnhem 1- 2 October 2014 Marthakal Lodge, Galiwinku

22-23 April 2015 PM & C Office, Nhulunbuy

Katherine 10-11 September 2014 NLC Office, Katherine

5 -6 March 2015 NLC Office, Katherine

Borroloola Barkly 13-14 August 2014 Borroloola

23-24 March 2015 Borroloola

West Arnhem 4-5 September 2014 NLC Office, Jabiru

17-18 March 2015 NLC Office, Jabiru

Ngukurr 27-28 August 2014 Ngukurr

13-16 April 2015 NLC Office, Katherine

Victoria River District 18-19 September 2014 Kununurra

28-29 April 2015 Shire Council Office, Timber Creek

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

BRANCH OVERVIEW

ANTHROPOLOGY

Carol Christophersen, Acting Branch Manager

Robert Graham left the Anthropology Branch in early 2015 to work with the South Australian Native Title Services and Carol Christophersen has managed the branch since his departure.

This branch employs regional anthropologists, mapping professionals and administrative staff. A key objective of NLC is to assist Aboriginal people to obtain and/or acquire property rights. This branch contributes to those outcomes by undertaking, with other branches, land claims, native title claims and other acquisition support.

Cultural heritage, site clearances and geographic information services are essential elements to facilitate effective consultations. The Land Interest Reference Register informs staff as to whom they need to consult. The Full Council takes advice from this branch as to whether decisions made were well informed and made in accordance with traditional decision making processes.

CORPORATE SERVICES

Steven Lawrence, Acting General Manager Corporate Compliance

This branch provides the financial administration, manages operational funding and oversees the corporate compliance of the organisation to meet strategic planning outcomes. The branch includes the following sections - finance, royalties, human resources, information technology, property and asset management and information management.

STRUCTURE

The diagram below illustrates the NLC’s structure.

Some of the NLC’s key stakeholders include: •

C

ommonwealth Government •

N

orthern Territory Government •

L

ocal Government Shires •

I

ndustries: Mining, Pastoral, Tourism and Fishing • Bu

sinesses

• N

on-Government Organisations • A

boriginal Organisations •

O

ther Land Councils.

FIGURE 2: NLC’S ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE

Regional Councils

Executive Council

Women’s Sub-Committee Audit Committee

Governance

Secretariat

Council Liaison

Media

Jobs & Career Services

Legal

Litigation

Commercial Agreements

Dispute Resolution

Advocacy

Anthropology

Native Title

Land Interest Reference

Regional Anthropology

Mapping

Corporate Services

Finance

Human Resources

Information Technology

Property & Fleet

Information Management

Minerals & Energy

Exploration Licences & Applications

Petroleum

Full Council

Chairperson

CEO

Regional Development

Commercial & Community Projects

» L and Use Agreements Including Sec 19s

» R egional Offices

Caring for Country

Rangers

Joint

Management Parks

Land & Sea Management

Policy

48 49

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

MINERALS & ENERGY

Rhonda Sarmardin, Manager

This branch receives and processes exploration, mining and petroleum applications, and manages environmental and rehabilitation matters relating to granted tenements.

CARING FOR COUNTRY

Justine Yanner, Manager

The tasks of this branch include the joint management of parks, Caring for Country ranger programs and land and sea management.

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Jonathan McLeod, Manager

Jonathan joined the NLC in September 2011 and manages the regional office network, Indigenous pastoral program and the section 19 land use agreement section.

LEGAL

Michael O’Donnell, Principal Legal Officer

The Legal branch provides legal advice and representation to the NLC, Traditional Owners and Aboriginal corporations on matters including agreements, litigation and law reform.

SECRETARIAT

Leanne Liddle, Senior Policy Advisor

The Secretariat branch works closely with the CEO and Chairman. The Secretariat provides administrative support and co-ordinates all council meetings, liaises with council members, networks with external media and leads the organisation in research, governance and policy development. The jobs and career services unit is part of the Secretariat branch. The branch also processes applications for permits and funeral grants.

Information on the NLC’s staff profile is presented in the table and figure below, detailing staff numbers within each branch and the five-year employment trend.

TABLE 6: NLC STAFF PROFILE, 2014/2015

POSITIONS ATSI % ATSI

Secretariat Corporate Services Minerals & Energy Regional Development Caring for Country Working on Country Indigenous Land Corporation Anthropology Legal

13 39 9 40 22 46

8

25 13

9 19 2 24

4

46 8 5 4

69 49 22 60 18 100 100

20 31

TOTAL 215 121 56.2

FIGURE 3: FIVE-YEAR TREND - FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT STATISTICS

0

50

100

150

200

250

300

2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2014/2015

Staff Employed

Indigenous Staff

50 51

STRATEGIC THINKING

The NLC’s strategic direction must take into account the changing social, political, cultural, economic and environmental landscape of our region, and the opportunities it presents.

Our planning framework incorporates:

•

Co

rporate Plan - a four-year plan of our high level initiatives to achieve our strategic goals and objectives

•

S

trategic Plan - a four-year overview of our vision, goals, values and objectives

•

B

usiness Plans - annual plans that outline key activities and actions in each branch of the NLC that will deliver our goals and objectives.

These plans are reviewed annually and may be amended as required to reflect changing strategic priorities.

The planning framework enables the Chief Executive Officer, Leadership Group, Full Council Members and the Executive and Regional Councils and staff to be regularly informed on progress and performance to achieve our strategic goals and objectives and, where necessary, take corrective action to ensure initiatives are on track.

Opposite: NLC Full Council meeting, Barunga, June 2015. Above: Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion (left) receives a gift at land hand-back ceremony near Borroloola, May 2015.

PART II: OUR APPROACH - SHAPING OUR FUTURE

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

STRATEGIC PLAN 2015-2019

This four-year Strategic Plan covers the period 2015-2019 and is informed by legislative responsibilities, strategic directions, views expressed by Executive and Full Council Members, Regional Councils and NLC administration on our goals and strategies.

The objectives of this four-year Strategic Plan are:

•

T

o serve as a document that sets out medium-term, high-level, strategic directions for the Executive and Full Council Members, Regional Councils and the Chief Executive Officer of the NLC.

•

T

o establish a platform for the Chief Executive Officer, in conjunction with the Leadership Group and staff, to set, monitor and review annual priorities and actions outlined in the Corporate Plan alongside detailed business plans for each operational area commencing 2015.

•

T

o provide a communication tool to inform stakeholders, governments and the general public on the strategic direction of the NLC over the next four years and recognition of achievements.

The NLC is fully committed to delivering successfully on our strategic objectives that will see Aboriginal people benefit economically, socially and culturally from the secure possession of our land, waters and seas in the top end of the Northern Territory.

The Strategic Plan provides high-level direction and is complemented by more detailed planning documents, specifically the Corporate Plan and Business Plans for each operational area of the NLC.

CORPORATE PLAN 2015-2019

The Corporate Plan 2015-2019 presents the NLC’s goals and objectives for the next four years, based on the organisation’s legislative responsibilities (under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and Native Title Act), and our identified Vision and Values (see page 3).

Our goals and objectives are translated into actions across the internal operational areas within the NLC, along with details on how these activities will be delivered and measured.

Our seven key goals, espoused in the Corporate Plan, are:

1.

A

dvocate, protect and acquire Aboriginal property rights and interests in our traditional lands, waters and seas through land claims and the native title process

2.

E

nsure the sustainable use and management fo natural and cultural resources on Aboriginal lands

3.

P

rotect Aboriginal sacred sites, and places and objects of significant cultural heritage

4.

S

upport Aboriginal people to maintain sustainable communities, outstations and healthy lives

5.

F

acilitate economic opportunities that lead to viable and sustainable regional commercial activities and development

6.

A

dvocate on behalf of Aboriginal people to raise broader community awareness of the role and vision of the NLC

7.

O

perate in accordance with best practice and reporting standards and obligations.

The plan is the vehicle to achieve our corporate mission: to have an experienced and capable organisation that effectively serves Aboriginal peoples’ interests in the Northern Territory’s land, waters and seas - one that is fully focused and committed to achieve our strategic objectives over the next four years.

The NLC’s focus during this four year period is targeted improvements - improved governance support to the Council, supporting the Council in policy development, increased community engagement and the delivery of accessible and efficient services to Aboriginal people of the Territory by the NLC.

Successful delivery of our Corporate Plan will be a positive and meaningful steps to realise our vision for the NLC.

Opposite, left: Dancers at land hand-back ceremony near Borroloola, May 2015. Opposite, right: Men’s camp, Full Council meeting, Barunga, June 2015;

The NLC is committed fully to delivering successfully on our strategic directions.

54 55

ABORIGINAL RIGHTS AND INTERESTS

GOAL: Advocate, protect and acquire Aboriginal property rights and interest in our traditional lands, waters and seas through land claims and native title processes.

LAND CLAIMS

A key NLC objective is to assist Aboriginal people who have a traditional claim to land within the NLC’s region to pursue their claims.

A central purpose of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act is to enable the granting of land in the Territory for the benefit of Traditional Owners. Under the Act, Aboriginal people may make a claim to unalienated Crown land outside of gazetted town areas, or land in which all estates and interests are owned by, or on behalf of Aboriginal people, such as Aboriginal-owned pastoral leases.

The office of the Aboriginal Land Commissioner was established to consider claims to land by Aboriginal groups. Within the NLC, land claims are the primary responsibility of the legal and anthropology branches.

Many land claims have been successfully settled by the NLC in past years and only a small number remain, most of them over small areas including the beds and banks of several rivers.

Opposite: NAIDOC Week march, Darwin, July 2014.

PART III: THE YEAR IN REVIEW

NLC combines its native title functions with its other statutory functions to increase administrative efficiency and flexibility.

56 57

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

Opposite, left: NLC advisory sign. Opposite, right: Executive Council member Helen Lee (Katherine region) and Chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi flank the display of the Yirrkala bark petition at Parliament House, Canberra. Above: Map of Kenbi land claim settlements.

Proposed ALRA Freehold

Proposed NT Freehold to Larrakea Dev. Corp.

Proposed NT Land Trusts

KENBI CLAIM

The Kenbi Land Claim involves land and islands around Cox Peninsula near Darwin. Lodged in the 1970s Kenbi is one of the longest proceedings in Territory history. In December 2000, Justice Gray, then the Aboriginal Land Commissioner, published his report and recommendations that were in favour of the claimants. Ongoing discussions facilitated by the NLC, including the requirement for remediation works, have resulted in significant progress towards settlement. It is anticipated that the majority of the Cox Peninsula and the surrounding islands will finally become Aboriginal land in 2016.

VERNON ISLANDS CLAIM

The Vernon Islands, Wickham River, and Kakadu land claims have all been the subject of extensive research and documentation by the NLC. The Vernon Islands land claim, involving three islands to the north east of Darwin in the Clarence Strait, was subject to on-country hearing and extensive legal submission and negotiations. Final settlement is expected soon and the country involved should become Aboriginal land.

The NLC’s Anthropology Branch has embarked on a research program to prepare formal anthropological documentation - anthropological reports, genealogical material, site and dreaming maps - to some ten claims. These are largely to the south and west of Darwin including in the Legune, Gregory, Victoria and Fitzmaurice rivers region of the Victoria River District.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

Key outcomes to date, relevant to terms under respective settlements, include:

• D

elivery of fishing Code of Conduct for Daly River (http://www.fishing.nt.gov.au/agreement-daly-river.html) and McArthur River and Sir Edward Pellew Islands (http://www.fishing.nt.gov.au/agreement-mcarthur.html).

•

S

ea Ranger training and certification in fisheries surveillance and compliance, research sampling techniques, biosecurity monitoring, safety at sea and vessel operation in all areas except for Anson Bay and Mini Min Murgenella areas where no ranger groups exist.

•

E

stablishment of an Aboriginal Consultative Committee, as provided under the Mini Mini Murgenella Settlement, with its first meeting planned in October.

•

E

stablishment of the Wurrahiliba Management Committee, as provided under the Sir Edward Pellew Islands Group and McArthur River Settlement, with its first meeting planned in August.

•

E

stablishment of the Daly River Bank Erosion Study Committee, as provided under the Daly River settlement, with its first meeting planned in September.

Over the next 12 months, NLC will work to deliver terms under existing settlements and work with Traditional Owners in other areas to consider settlement offers from the Northern Territory Government for ongoing access to intertidal waters.

SEA COUNTRY

In 2008, the rights of Aboriginal people were reaffirmed by the High Court through its decision on the Blue Mud Bay Case (Gumana vs The Northern Territory). This landmark case confirmed the right of Aboriginal people to manage access to intertidal waters over Aboriginal land relevant to their interests under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. This accounts for 84% of the Northern Territory’s coastline - a culturally, environmentally and economically rich landscape that provides the potential to support community development, resilience and prosperity in Aboriginal remote communities.

Since the decision, the Northern Territory Government has pursued long-term, ongoing access to intertidal waters based on fishing industry interests. While negotiations with Traditional Owners have been conducted, short-term interim commercial and recreational fishing licences and permits have enabled continuing fishing access. An interim licence under s19 of ALRA gives a right to take fish from Aboriginal tidal waters. A permit under s5 of the Aboriginal Land Act gives a right of entry to Aboriginal tidal waters.

The interim licence and permit scheme has been extended four times since the initial agreement. The current extension, supported by the NLC Full Council at its 109th meeting in December 2014, expires 31 December 2015.

Currently, the interim regime applies to all intertidal waters over Aboriginal land, except where Traditional Owners have rejected the Northern Territory Government’s offer for long term settlement.

So far, two areas, both within the Darwin-Daly-Wagait region, have rejected offers of settlement and now require licences and permits from the NLC. One area is the Upper Finniss River, relevant to the Delissaville Wagait Larrakia Aboriginal Land Trust; the second is from Cape Scott to Dooley Point, relevant to the Daly River Port Keats Aboriginal Land Trust.

To date, six areas of Northern Territory intertidal waters have settled agreements and licences that provide continued commercial and recreational fishing access to intertidal waters over Aboriginal land:

1.

A

rnhem ALT for Mini Mini and Murgenella Rivers area south of Coburg Peninsula (1 July 2013 to 2016).

2.

M

alak Malak ALT for Daly River area (1 July 2012 to 2032).

3.

N

arwimbi, Wurralbi & Wurralbi No.2 ALTs for Sir Edward Pellew Islands Group and lower McArthur River area (1 July 2012 to 2032).

4.

D

aly River Port Keats ALT for Anson Bay area from the mouth of the Daly River to Cape Scott (1 January 2013 to 2033).

5.

A

rnhem ALT for Nhulunbuy area (1 January 2014 to 2034).

6.

D

aly River Port Keats ALT for Moyle River area (1 July 2014 to 2034).

Since November 2014, the NLC has been working with the NT Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries on managing the compliance of settlements and licences for each area. To date, Traditional Owners of all areas, except for Nhulunbuy, have met to discuss the detail and terms of their respective Settlements. Consultations for Nhulunbuy area are planned for August.

Opposite, clockwise from top left: Consultation with Traditional Owners about their Moyle River intertidal fishing access settlement held 13 May 2015; NT Indigenous ranger groups undertaking Compliance Training; Malak Malak Ranger Theresa Lemon recording prawn traps.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

NATIVE TITLE: QUICK FACTS

• N ative title is a set of rights and interests in relation to land or waters including exclusive possession in some cases.

•

I

ndigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) are agreements between native title holders and others about the management and use of land and waters. They can be made before or after a determination that native title exists or where there is no native title application at all.

•

T

he NLC is the Native Title Representative Body (NTRB) for the Territory’s northern region, covering approximately 570,000 square kilometres of land, including the Tiwi Islands and Groote Eylandt.

•

A

s a Native Title Representative Body under the Native Title Act 1993, the NLC’s key statutory functions include: -

t

o facilitate and assist native title holders to make native title applications -

t

o respond to proposed future acts and negotiate ILUAs or other agreements according to the consultation and consent provisions under the Act -

t

o assist to resolve disputes between constituents about native title applications, future acts, ILUAs or other native title matters.

•

I

n contrast to some other Native Title Representative Bodies, the NLC combines its native title functions with its other statutory functions to improve administrative efficiency and provide flexibility.

•

T

he NLC’s work with claimant groups to settle native title determination applications over the Territory’s townships and pastoral leases is an intensive, accelerated process that has resulted in 49 successful consent determinations since 2010. This compares to eight successful determinations within the region between 1998 and 2009.

NATIVE TITLE DETERMINATION APPLICATIONS

The NLC has lodged claims over most of the available areas in the Northern Territory.

TABLE 7: NATIVE TITLE APPLICATIONS STATISTICS, 2014/2015

Active claimant applications As at 1 July 2014 165

As at 30 June 2015 163

New claimant applications Filed 1 July 2014 - 30 June 2015 2

New compensation applications Filed 1 July 2014 - 30 June 2015 0

Non-claimant applications Filed 1 July 2014 - 30 June 2015 3

Determinations of native title 1 July 2014 - 30 June 2015 0

Opposite: Native title information meeting, Minyerri, 2015.

NATIVE TITLE REPORT

A key NLC objective is to fulfil its responsibilities as a native title representative body under the Native Title Act 1993.

THE NATIVE TITLE ACT

Since its formation in the mid-1970s, the NLC has worked to promote Aboriginal land rights through the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. With the introduction of the Native Title Act 1993, the NLC has sought recognition for Aboriginal people for their rights in land and water across a wider area including pastoral leases and townships.

In 1992, for the first time, the High Court of Australia recognised the common law native title land rights of Australia’s Indigenous peoples (Mabo No 2). The Native Title Act 1993 introduced a statutory scheme for the recognition of native title in areas where Aboriginal groups have been able to maintain a traditional connection to land and where the actions of governments have not otherwise extinguished their prior title. The Act provides for the recognition of pre-existing rights to land and waters, the making of future acts and the resolution of claims for compensation.

Native title, as recognised under the Native Title Act, differs from western forms of title in three significant ways:

1.

I

t is premised on the group or communal ownership of land, rather than on individual property rights

2.

I

t recognises and registers rights and interests in relation to areas of land and waters that pre-date British sovereignty, rather than a formal grant of title by government

3.

I

t may coexist with forms of granted statutory title, such as pastoral leases, over the same tracts of land.

Native title thus exists in a complex legal, administrative and cultural environment of intersecting and sometimes conflicting interests. The NLC is committed to resolving native title claims through negotiation and mediation, rather than litigation, where possible. Since 2010, the NLC has been part of a Federal Court initiative aimed at settlement of native title determination applications over Northern Territory pastoral leases.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

FIGURE 4: NLC’S PASTORAL CONSENT DETERMINATION PROCESS

Legal and anthropological research is carried out, including fieldwork and consultations with the

claimant groups.

Information meetings are held with the claim group to explain the native title claim process and

discuss the anthropology of the claim group.

Authorisation meetings are held with the claim group to authorise the lodgement of the native title claim and

nominate the applicant(s).

Native title determination application is lodged in the Federal Court.

The parties exchange materials on tenure, extinguishment and connection and negotiate

these issues with the respondent parties (NT Government, pastoralist, etc.).

Once the parties have agreed the tenure, extinguishment and connection, they negotiate the terms of the

consent determination.

Pre-determination meetings are held with the claim group, to obtain instructions about the terms of the native

title determination, as well as to nominate a Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC).

Consent determination ceremony is held, on country, by the Federal Court. The determination of native title

is made at this ceremony.

Meetings are held with native title holders to nominate a Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) if they haven’t done so

already prior to the consent determination ceremony.

UPDATE ON CONTINUING CLAIMS

PASTORAL CONSENT DETERMINATIONS

The Federal Court’s Pastoral Consent Determination Schedule is an ambitious approach to address the backlog of native title claims. This schedule requires in excess of 110 pastoral lease areas within the NLC to be progressed to consent determination via a ‘short form’ process and represents a significant portion of the NLC’s native title work.

In late 2009, legal representatives of the Northern Territory and Commonwealth governments, Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association and the NLC came together under the auspices of the Federal Court to explore options for resolving the native title status of pastoral leases in the NLC region. At that time, each claim was taking upwards of five years to determine - this meant that some existing claims were likely to outlive most living claimants, party representatives and court officers.

In 2010, the parties agreed to resolve all future pastoral claims on the basis of a short form approach applied to providing:

1.

A

nthropological evidence in support of the native title claim group’s connection to the relevant pastoral lease; and

2.

E

vidence of the construction or establishment of public works and pastoral improvements on that lease.

In addition, it was agreed that fresh native title claims be lodged over each individual pastoral lease, and that all earlier claims over the same lease be removed.

Pastoral leases are grouped into 13 clusters of claims, according to general geographical groupings. A timetable for claims is staggered for progressive completion year by year. The NLC implements an annual program of research and consultations with claimants across large and remote geographic areas. This work requires the preparation of connection and tenure materials by NLC staff and anthropological and legal consultants and a series of meetings with the claimant group (as shown in the diagram opposite).

Above: Anthropologist checking Dreaming map with claimants, Ngukurr 2015.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

During the reporting period, no native title claims were determined. However, a large proportion of anthropological and legal work has been focused on progressing claims over 18 pastoral leases in Group 1 (Mallapunyah/Creswell Matters - Billengarrah, Mallapunyah Springs, Walhallow, Cresswell Downs, Benmarra, McArthur River, Kiana, Calvert Hills and Wollogorang pastoral leases) and Group 9 (Mallapunyah/ Creswell-Gulf Country - Hodgson Downs, Nutwood Downs, Nathan River, Lorella, Pungalina, Seven Emu, Greenbank, Manangoora and Spring Creek pastoral leases ), including 10 on-country meetings. The majority of these claims are likely to be determined in the 2015/2016 financial year.

Research and fieldwork continued for eight of the twelve pastoral leases in Group 2 (Dalmore Downs - Mittiebah, Mount Drummond, Alexandria, Dalmore Downs, West Ranken, East Ranken, Adder, Rocklands, Soudan, Avon Downs, Burramurra and Austral Downs pastoral leases) and the three remaining leases in Group 6 (Banka Banka - Banka Banka, Helen Springs and Powell Creek ).

In February 2015, the NLC was notified of a proposed petroleum exploration permit over the Buchanan Downs and Hidden Valley leases as well as a number of neighbouring pastoral leases under s29 of the Native Title Act. In response, the NLC’s anthropological, legal and field staff worked tirelessly to research, prepare and facilitate the authorisation of new claims over both leases to ensure Traditional Owners secured the right to negotiate.

The NLC will continue to progress pastoral claims in accordance with the Federal Court ordered Pastoral Consent Determination Schedule. While the Schedule significantly accelerates the rate at which claims are resolved, it requires the NLC to commit significant resources to progress these claims. In other words, the short form work process is far more intensive, requiring the same amount of work but in a shorter timeframe.

The NLC acknowledges the strength, support and patience of Traditional Owners as we work with the Northern Territory, pastoralists and other parties to settle native title claims across the NLC region.

FIGURE 5 LEGEND

NAME LABEL

Auvergne Matters AM

Beetaloo-Hayfield Matters B-HM

Mallapunyah/Cresswell Matters (Group 1) 1

Dalmore Downs Matters (Group 2) 2

Chattahoochie Matters (Group 3) 3

Montejinni Matters (Group 4) 4

Mary River Matters (Group 5) 5

Banka Banka Matters (Group 6) 6

Dry River Matters - Sturt Plateau Matters (Group 8) 8

Mallapunyah/Cresswell - Gulf Country Pastoral Leases (Group 9) 9

Humbert VRD Matters (Group 10) 10

Mary River Matters - Litchfield Daly Matters (Group 11)

Dry River Matters - Katherine West Matters (Group 12)

Dry River Matters - Daly Waters Region Matters (Group 13)

11

12

13

FIGURE 5: STATUS OF WORK ON THE FEDERAL COURT ORDERED PASTORAL CONSENT DETERMINATION SCHEDULE FOR THE NLC REGION, JUNE 2015

Scheduled 2015-2017

Border NLC-CLC

Research completed awaiting review

Native title rights recognised by consent determination

1

2

6

4

6

3

8

B-HM

6

10

5

AM

12

11

10

2

1

9 9

1

2

1

1

1

2

8

2

9

1

1

2

2

1

9

9

2

2

10

1

1

9

1

5

1

2

1

2

8

1

2

1

2

9

5

1

2

2

2

13

9

2

5

9

11

9

2

2

1

9

1

8

5

9

2

2

9

2

5

13

5 5

13

5

2

1

1

1

2

2

2

5

11

5

5

5

11

1

5

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

The rationale behind the Top End Default PBC is to assist those native title groups, especially those located in remote and very remote areas where there is likely to have been little or no substantial development agreements in the past that would have provided the native title holders with the capacity - financial and otherwise - to handle the administrative requirements of running a corporation. The NLC has found that in

such cases, a PBC can rapidly lapse into non-compliance with reporting requirements under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act) (Cwlth). Aboriginal associations or corporations whose only role is to hold title in remote regions and do not generate income or employ staff understandably find it difficult to maintain documentation (relating to membership and office bearers for example) and to comply with annual reporting requirements. Non-compliance can lead to prosecution and deregistration of the corporation. The NLC created the Top End Default PBC as an optional interim measure to avoid these difficulties and reduce the risks.

UPDATE ON PRESCRIBED BODY CORPORATE NOMINATION WORK

In this reporting period, the NLC put significant time and resources into consulting widely with native title holders and claimants on nominating a registered prescribed body corporate (or PBC) to hold their native title rights and interests.

A total of 19 native title groups were consulted. The native title holders listed below decided to nominate the Top End Default PBC as the PBC for their native title determinations for the matters listed, as provided for under s 57(2)(a)(i) of the Native Title Act:

•

J

uly 2014 - Meeting at Newcastle Waters for Beetaloo, Hayfield, Amungee Mungee, Shenandoah, Ucharonidge, Kalala, and Mungabroom pastoral leases and town of Daly Waters

•

A

ugust 2014 - Meeting in Kununurra for the Rosewood pastoral lease

•

N

ovember 2014 - Meeting in Elliott for the Town of Elliott

•

M

arch 2015 (and April 2014) - Meeting in Elliott for Tandiyidgee, Newcastle Waters and Murranji pastoral leases

•

A

pril 2015: Meeting in Elliott for Sunday Creek pastoral lease. Meeting in Tennant Creek for Alroy Downs pastoral lease

•

A

pril 2015 (and April 2014) - Meeting at Tennant Creek for Anthony Lagoon, Brunchilly and Rockhampton Downs pastoral leases

•

M

ay 2015 - Meeting in Mataranka for the Town of Mataranka.

…the NLC acknowledges the strength, support and patience of Traditional Owners… as we work to settle native title across the NLC region.

TOWNSHIP CONSENT DETERMINATIONS

The NLC is required to work on township native title claims as part of the Federal Court initiative to settle native title applications via consent determination.

During 2014/2015, the NLC continued meetings with claimants to finalise the Katherine and Borroloola townships native title claims.

NATIVE TITLE CLAIMS LITIGATION

The NLC continues to work on applications for native title determination that are subject to litigation.

Judgment on the Jabiru claim is yet to be determined. Following the 2013 trial, two of the three portions of land surrounding the town of Jabiru, which were subject to the Jabiru native title determination application, were granted as Aboriginal land under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act to the Kakadu Aboriginal Land Trust. These two portions were leased back to the Director of National Parks as part of the settlement arrangements for the Jabiru native title claim. Discussions on native title determination on the remaining portion of land continue.

NATIVE TITLE SEA CLAIMS

The NLC understands that many Aboriginal people in the region consider ‘country’ to include the seas, islands, reefs, sand banks and associated sea beds. The ability to pursue sea rights, however, was not possible until the Native Title Act was introduced in 1993.

One of the first sea claims made on behalf of Aboriginal people by the NLC was Yarmirr vs The Northern Territory (decision in 2001), involving sea country in the Arafura Sea near Croker Island. The court found that the applicants held non-exclusive native title in the area. The Wellesley Island Native Title application by Lardil people in Queensland, not far from the Territory border, produced a similar outcome.

Over the past year, the NLC has continued working with colleagues from the Anindilyakwa Land Council to progress anthropological research and lodge an application for the recognition of native title rights in sea country in the Numbulwar-Groote Eylandt region.

NOMINATION OF A PRESCRIBED BODY CORPORATE

After a native title determination is made, the native title holders must nominate a Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) to manage their native title rights as required under the Native Title Act 1993. A PBC is a corporation that holds or manages native title for the whole native title group. Its primary role is to give legal force to native title rights and interests held by the group, especially by enabling binding agreements about land to be executed. Proponents, such as governments and companies, must deal with the nominated PBC.

The NLC has developed a corporation called the Top End Default PBC, which can be used by native title holders as a PBC. Members of the Top End Default PBC are the members from time to time of the NLC Executive Council. If native title holders choose, the Top End Default PBC will perform the PBC role - which is primarily executing agreements based on the instructions and directions of native title holders. The Top End Default PBC does not receive money or royalties from those agreements.

The Top End Default PBC is merely an option for native title holders. There is no obligation on native title holders to ‘opt in’ to the Top End Default PBC. Furthermore, if they choose to nominate the Top End Default PBC to manage their native title rights and interests, they can later decide to ‘opt out’ and develop their own PBC when ready to do so.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

STAFF PERSPECTIVE

DON COUZENS - Project Officer, Katherine

I have been working at the NLC since 2007. I first started as a Permit Officer and then a year later went on to become an Administration Officer until 2010.

Since 2010, I have been working as a Project Officer out of the Katherine Regional Office. In the past three years, a lot of my work has had to do with Native Title and in particular with helping to organise Native Title meetings that are usually attended by anything from 20 to 80 native title holders.

Once we know a native title meeting is to take place and we have received from anthropology the list of who should be invited to

attend, we have a staff meeting to organise the casual workers and full time staff. We need staff, including myself, to travel everywhere people might live, as far as Mt Isa and Doomadgee in Queensland, Kununurra and Halls Creek in Western Australia or down to Tennant Creek and distribute meeting notices a few weeks in advance. Just before the meetings we also send out drivers and organise fuel vouchers and charter planes to pick-up those who need assistance to get to where the meeting is taking place and return them safely home after the meetings.

My role is to ensure that all casual and full-time staff are dispatched to various locations and to provide them with a pick-up list. I also organise accommodation for all people attending the meeting as well as ensuring that meals will be provided as well as catering for the meetings. I also ensure that all timesheet and travel forms have been completed correctly and forward all paperwork to the main office for processing. Before the meetings start, I assist staff in setting up the meeting space, and take notes during the meeting which then goes on file.

Native title meetings are a huge logistical exercise and it is a real team effort to ensure that they run as smoothly as possible for the participants who often have to travel from far away and take time away from work and family to attend.

Opposite: Community meeting at Yarralin, VRD, May 2015, to discuss land claim and township leasing matters. Above: NLC Project Officer Don Couzens taking notes at Native Title meeting in Minyerri 2015.

COMPENSATION APPLICATIONS

In 2011, a compensation application for the loss and impairment of native title was lodged over the Town of Timber Creek. On 19 March 2014, Justice John Mansfield of the Federal Court delivered a preliminary judgement in the case on the issue of apportioning liability for compensation between the Commonwealth and the Northern Territory.

The key issue of ascertaining the value of the loss and impairment of native title will proceed to trial in February 2016. This native title compensation application will be the second case of its kind to proceed to trial. The first was unsuccessful. The importance of the legal issues means that whatever judgement is made by the Federal Court, it is likely to be appealed (ultimately to the High Court).

FUTURE ACT NOTICES

During the reporting period, the NLC was notified of 67 future acts relating to mineral and petroleum exploration or production. The notification of future acts development proposals potentially affects the rights and interests of native title holders within its region.

During 2014/2015, thirty-seven notifications of future acts were withdrawn by the Department of Mines and Energy.

AGREEMENT MAKING

The NLC facilitates the negotiation of agreements to ensure that native title holders are, in most cases, provided with a package that offers economic opportunities. Under such agreements, the NLC is generally responsible for distributing benefits. Many agreements require NLC support to enable the native title parties to take advantage of employment, training and business opportunities that may occur when a project proceeds. The work of the NLC in this capacity continues for the life of the agreement to secure the agreed benefits for native title holders and ensure compliance with the terms and conditions.

Native title meetings are a huge logistical exercise… participants often have to travel from far away and take time away from work and family to attend.

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CARING FOR COUNTRY

GOAL: Advocate, protect and acquire Aboriginal property rights and interest in our traditional lands, waters and seas through land claims and native title processes.

WORKING TOGETHER

A key NLC objective is to assist Traditional Owners to manage land, sea and natural resources in a sustainable manner.

The NLC actively supports the work of Aboriginal people in maintaining cultural responsibilities and obligations to care for each other and land, waters and seas within the Indigenous estate. NLC ranger teams are guided by the values and aspirations of the custodians of Indigenous law and culture. The NLC has developed various local, regional and Territory partnerships to assist this process.

The NLC Caring for Country team provides environmental and support services across 210,000 km2 of Northern Territory land and 2,702 km2 of water. This requires extensive planning, implementation, and reporting work. Northern Territory lands and waters are some of the most intact and biologically diverse land and seascapes in Australia. A range of cultural, historic and environmental values are described by the Traditional Owners during planning sessions, and rangers work to protect and enhance these values. This work involves a range of protective and pro-active measures to mitigate and manage threats posed by invasive plant and animal species and by a range of land use pressures. NLC rangers apply traditional and modern management practices to assist Traditional Owners in their ongoing efforts to protect biodiversity and conserve cultural heritage.

Opposite, clockwise from top left: Indigenous rangers camera trapping; Ring-tailed dragon (ctenophorus caudicinctus); Juvenile saltwater crocodiles (crocodylus porosus); Looking After Country: The NAILSMA I-Tracker story - a revolutionary approach to land and sea management by Indigenous rangers; Indigenous rangers - land management.

The NLC employs more than 100 Aboriginal rangers to care for some of the most biologically intact landscapes on the planet.

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FIGURE 6: ABORIGINAL LAND AND SEA MANAGEMENT GROUPS

ALRA Land Trust

NT Land Councils boundaries

Northern Land Council

Independent

Tiwi

Garngi

Mardbalk

Kenbi Rangers

Bulgul Rangers

Yantjarrwu

Thamarrurr

Djelk

Adjumarllarl

Wagiman

Larrakia

Timber Creek

Waanyi/Garawa

Garawa

li-Anthawirriyara Marine

Yugul Mangi

Anindilyakwa

Numbulwar Numburindi Amalahgayag Inyung

Mimal

Malak Malak

Asyrikarrak Kirim

Crocodile Islands

Gumurr Marthakal

Yirralka

Wanga Djakamirr

Manwurrk

Dhimurru

Gurruwiling South east Arafura

Jawoyn

The Aboriginal Land Rights Act and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognise that Indigenous people are intrinsically entwined with water and land. These principles underpin the Caring for Country program, which actively supports Traditional Owners to establish grass-roots land and sea management initiatives across the network of remote homelands, and in community centres.

The Caring for Country program respects cultural law and traditional knowledge, skills and practices, and encourages interaction with western science research, theory, and practices in an effort to maintain biodiversity and the sustainable use of wildlife. Land and sea managers also provide important environmental services for partner organisations. The NLC has actively developed relationships that enable Traditional Owners to engage in cost recovery contracts as a step towards their economic wellbeing.

FIRE MANAGEMENT

The NLC has provided leadership and support in the area of fire management for remote communities. In partnership with other ranger groups, and with the Central Land Council, the Carpenteria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, and a number of NGOs and government agencies, the NLC is engaged in extensive carbon abatement work.

Through the collective efforts of rangers and partner agencies, and with the growing support of Northern Territory pastoralists, a significant reduction in wildfire activity has been achieved. Additionally, planned early burning regimes are creating optimal conditions for plant biodiversity, supporting a greater number of species and age classes within plant communities.

Early burning involves a growing number of community-led traditional burning patrols along ancient trails, providing an opportunity for community members of all ages to spend valuable time on country with rangers.

Above: Gumurr Marthakal undertaking prescribed burning on Elcho Island.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

ACHIEVEMENTS

The NLC currently supports 17 Indigenous ranger groups through funding from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) and the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC).

Through the Working on Country program, the NLC was funded to support the direct employment of up to 63 FTE Indigenous rangers, four senior cultural advisers and an Indigenous Administration trainee. In 2014/2015, an additional 72 Traditional Owners were engaged as casual staff to support the ranger groups during peak workloads or to provide cultural advice.

Through the Real Jobs NT program, the ILC provided funding to support up to 12 FTE Indigenous rangers across three ranger groups, three coordinators and a program coordinator.

Unfortunately, the NLC continues to experience delays in recommencing the Yantjarrwu and Numbulwar ranger programs due to the unavailability of funding for suitable housing for the Ranger Coordinator staff, which is necessary for the effective management and supervision of work activities.

The rangers utilise both traditional and modern management practices to provide a variety of important environmental services considered to be in the national and international interest. Key activities include the protection of threatened species and their habitats, fire management, control of significant feral animals and invasive weeds, passing on of cultural knowledge to the next generation (through activities with local schools and on-country camps), management of saltwater intrusion in freshwater billabongs, protection of important cultural sites, biosecurity surveillance, marine debris clean-ups and monitoring for fisheries and permits compliance.

The NLC has developed a suite of local, regional, Territory and national partnerships that support the development and delivery of the various ranger group activities. Key program partners (in addition to DPMC and the ILC) include the Commonwealth Government Department of Agriculture, which provides fee-for-service agreements for biosecurity surveillance activities, the Northern Territory Government Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, which provides fee-for-service agreements for sea country patrols, fisheries compliance monitoring and training (with the assistance of the NT Water Police), and the Department of Land and Resource Management agencies. This includes the Weeds Management Branch, which provides technical advice on weed control and funding for aerial surveys of Weeds of National Significance (WONS), and research scientists who provided advice regarding threatened species management and biodiversity surveys.

Opposite: Yugal Mangi Women Rangers biodiversity mapping project.

INVASIVE SPECIES MANAGEMENT

The NLC provides leadership and facilitates the humane management of invasive vertebrates such as buffalo and pigs. Work is ongoing in the Finniss Catchment and at the Arafura Swamp in partnership with Territory Natural Resource Management. Infestations of invasive animals have been mapped with a view to carrying out culls where significant environmental damage is occurring.

INDIGENOUS PROTECTED AREAS

The NLC has helped establish Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs). This work requires extensive consultation and research work in collaboration with consultants, scientists, government agencies and field NGOs.

Bush Heritage Australia, the Australian National University, and the Yugul Mangi Development Aboriginal Corporation have been influential and hardworking partners of the NLC in the progression of the IPA program.

The role of rangers is vital to the future of the north, because everyone needs healthy country to ensure that our natural and cultural values underpin the thriving tourism, fishing and recreational industries.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

CASE STUDY ONE: KENBI RANGERS

The Kenbi Rangers, who operate on the Cox Peninsula west of Darwin, continue to deliver great outcomes with the expansion of their ranger group activities including the development of innovative fee-for-service and enterprise opportunities and partnerships. The group has a very competent team who undertake core activities including fire management, feral animal control, visitor monitoring, beach patrols and cultural site management.

Through the development of fee-for-service agreements, the rangers have been actively involved in the Inpex nearshore marine monitoring program. This included ensuring compliance with environmental regulations during the initial phase of this industrial

project, and assisting with monitoring the abundance and distribution of key marine species (such as Bottlenose and Snubfin dolphins) and the wellbeing of fish populations throughout the dredging phase.

The capacity of the ranger group to undertake sea country activities has also expanded with the arrival of their new vessel (5.2 metre “MV Kenbi”). Income from their various fee-for-service agreements will allow rangers to access numerous island and remote mainland sites throughout the Bynoe and Darwin harbours. The ranger group has gained valuable knowledge and skills in scientific surveys, and is well equipped to further utilise these skills in the management of icon species into the future in partnership with the Northern Territory Department of Land Resource Management and other program stakeholders.

The rangers continue to work with a number of government departments and contractors involved with the remediation of the Radio Australia site at Charles Point, having secured contracts for site maintenance and revegetation at the site.

The group has also been busy with the establishment and development of a market garden and nursery on site in the Belyuen community. This program has had extensive support from the Department of Finance during the establishment phase. There are approximately 3000m2 of market garden area, and produce from the garden is provided to residents of the aged care facility in Belyuen and other community residents.

In addition, Ironbark Aboriginal Foundation has contributed resources for the training of rangers and other community residents in Certificate II Horticulture units. This is taking place at the market garden and will run through into 2016, complementing the other ranger activities and training programs.

The Kenbi rangers are looking forward to consolidating their activities and are working towards the production of an overarching land and sea management plan and its implementation over the next three years.

Above, top: Kenbi Rangers marine mammal monitoring. (Photo by: GHD Photo).

The NLC is also helping to establish three Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) in the Waanyi Garawa Land Trust, South-East Arnhem Land and in Marthakal country in North East Arnhem Land with funding from the Department of the Environment (administered by DPMC). The IPA work requires extensive consultation and research in collaboration with consultants, scientists, government agencies and NGOs. Important NLC partners for this consultation work include Tamarind Planning Consultants, the Australian National University Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR), Bush Heritage Australia and the Yugul Mangi Development Aboriginal Corporation. Bush Heritage Australia has also assisted with starting work on developing a Healthy Country Plan for the Arafura Swamp.

Territory Natural Resource Management (TNRM) continued to be an important program partner in 2014/2015 through development of the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan in consultation with ranger groups. In 2014/2015, the Wagiman Rangers received support to develop strategic fire plans for the Wagiman Land Trust and aerial and on-ground burning. This project was undertaken in partnership with the ILC; Fish River Station Managers helped protect key sites and mitigate against wildfire excursion from the Land Trust. The Arafura ranger groups received support to control water buffalo populations in the southern area of the Arafura Swamp and training in pig trapping. TNRM also assisted the Bulgul rangers with ongoing surveys and management of mimosa and feral pigs as part of the Finniss/Reynolds catchment project through support from the Department of the Environment (see Case Study 2).

DATA COLLECTION, MAPPING AND REPORTING

The Caring for Country Branch provides ongoing ICT (Information and Communications Technology) training and support to all 17 NLC ranger groups in asset and equipment acquisition, coordination of routine repairs and maintenance, and providing required on-site and remote support including:

•

D

ocumentation of ranger group ICT needs and budget preparation

•

P

roviding training in the use of ICT equipment, including GIS/Mapping Software and other data management tools (e.g. I Tracker) in partnership with NAILSMA

•

P

roduction of DVDs and other educational materials regarding ranger projects

•

P

roviding general day-to-day ICT support and troubleshooting

•

A

ssisting with the collection and management of data and other information through the development of the NLC Toolbox and preparation of reports.

The NLC receives funding from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet for a dedicated ICT Officer position. The ICT Officer visits each of the 17 ranger groups once a year (minimum) and is in contact with the rangers on a daily basis to provide ongoing support.

The reporting year 2014/ 2015 has seen the development and implementation of an IT Data Collection, Mapping and Reporting Curriculum Program to guide NLC rangers on the use of required software through the production of 25 video tutorials (e.g. for hand-held GPS use and mapping software).

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PARKS AND RESERVES: JOINT MANAGEMENT

A key NLC objective is to support and deliver joint management outcomes.

The NLC has a statutory responsibility to protect and advocate for the interests of Traditional Owners of land and sea within its jurisdiction. This includes areas leased by the Northern Territory and Commonwealth Governments and included in the National Reserve System for the conservation of natural and cultural values and tourism purposes.

Approximately 44.6% of the Territory’s national parks and conservation reserves in the NLC region are Aboriginal owned and jointly managed. The NLC works closely with Traditional Owners and the NT Parks and Wildlife Commission and Parks Australia to support and deliver joint management outcomes and build relationships and partnerships with government, communities and industry.

The NLC is focused on assisting Traditional Owners to:

•

E

ngage effectively with Parks and Wildlife Commission NT and Parks Australia by providing third party technical advice and advocacy

•

M

ake informed decisions relating to natural and cultural resource use and management

•

A

ssess the social, cultural, environmental and economic implications of legislation and proposals affecting parks and reserves

•

P

rotect and enhance traditional law and cultural practices

•

P

ursue employment and business development opportunities

•

M

anage and resolve disputes

•

C

arry out other statutory requirements of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and Native Title Act in relation to joint management arrangements.

CASE STUDY TWO: BULGUL RANGERS

The Bulgul Rangers manage 36,000 hectares of land and sea country across the Delissavale/Wagait/ Larrakia Aboriginal Land Trust and undertake a range of activities including the management of Weeds of National Significance (WoNS) with a focus on Olive Hymenachne and Mimosa Pigra, feral animals (such as pigs), coastal patrols, biosecurity surveillance and protection of cultural sites.

With assistance from Territory Natural Resource Management (NRM), the rangers conducted surveys of the presence and density of priority WoNS in 2014/2015 as part of a long term program into weed distribution and management. Results indicate that their extensive Mimosa aerial spraying program over the past three years has greatly reduced the extent of Mimosa infestation by up to 5000 hectares.

The targeted surveys and eradication of feral pigs have been undertaken with the assistance of Territory NRM and ABS Scrofa as part of a collaborative project involving multi-sector interests (i.e. Traditional Owners, pastoral managers and government agencies) across the Finniss Reynolds- catchment region. Two culls of feral pigs were under- taken in 2014/2015, removing approximately 70% of the population (~1000 animals). However, analysis of the rate of removal suggests that ongoing funding for management of the feral pig population will be required to prevent further outbreak of this problem.

These activities undertaken by the Bulgul Rangers staff are of critical importance in minimising the loss of extensive wetland and other key habitats across the Land Trust, thus enabling the protection of the significant ongoing cultural and unique and intact biodiversity values of this area.

Above, top: Bulgul Rangercollecting Mimosa seeds with Tom Price NT Govt. Weeds Branch. Above, below: Regional planning for Mimosa control in the Finniss Reynolds catchment.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

ACHIEVEMENTS

World Parks Congress Sydney 2014

The World Park Congress was held in Sydney on 12-19 November 2014. The conference focused on ‘Inspiring Solutions’ for parks, people and the planet.

A contingent of NLC rangers and joint management committee members attended forums related to their specific interests.

Kakadu National Park

The NLC has been involved in meetings associated with the Parks Australia ‘Management Futures Project’, which aims to review and improve management arrangements for the three Commonwealth jointly managed parks to ensure better outcomes for Traditional Owners.

The NLC has successfully negotiated to secure funding to reinstate a dedicated Joint Management Officer within Parks Australia. A key function of this position will be supporting the Management Futures Project.

NLC staff also assisted with coordinating the election of the membership for the next Board of Management, with appointments in place for five years from September 2015.

Information sessions with Traditional Owners and other stakeholder groups were conducted by the NLC about the potential development of a savanna burning carbon farming project. If successful, this project has the potential to deliver significant economic and cultural opportunities to Traditional Owners.

Above: Back row, from left: Jeffrey Lee, Lazarus Lami-Lami, Michael Smiler, Valarie Tambling, Ricky Cubillo, Rex Sing, Donald Shadforth, Phillip Goodman, Graham Kenyon. Middle row, from left: Matthew Birdum, Solomon O’Ryan, Tarizma Kenyon, Charlene Thompson, Cerise Young, Malarndirri McCarthy.

Front row, from left: Mathias Baird, Solomon Cooper, Pam Wickham, Justine Yanner.

FIGURE 7: JOINT MANAGEMENT RESERVES

Victoria River District

Borroloola-Barkly

West Arnhem

Darwin Daly Wagait

East Arnhem

Anindilyakwa Land Council

Central Land Council

Tiwi Land Council

Ngukurr

Katherine

ALRA Land Trust

NT Land Councils boundaries

National Parks (NLC Region)

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Above, clockwise from top left: Judbarra/ Gregory National Park Joint Management Committee, April 2015; Wardaman Rangers and NLC Timber Creek Coordinator Paul Simonato, Matthew Birdum, Jason Raymond, Ted Croker and Michael Murrimal on the Bush Blitz Scientific Expedition; Uwynmil kids being shown how to make spear tips. From left:

Shontae, Tekiah, Darryl Jnr, Leroy, Sharnee, Darryl Snr, Ethan and Tom Tambling the 3rd.

Judbarra/Gregory National Park

The Judbarra/Gregory National Park Joint Management Committee has met once during the reporting year in April 2015. The joint management partners have been working in a difficult financial environment, with limited employment opportunities being currently available to Traditional Owners. However, there have been some opportunities for engagement with external stakeholders. This included the Commonwealth Government Department of the Environment sponsoring a ‘Bush Blitz’ scientific discovery project and the development of a promotional international 4WD documentary ‘Landrover Experience’. It is hoped that there will be further partnerships developed for Traditional Owner engagement in research, monitoring and tourism to build on these initiatives.

Giwining/Flora River Nature Reserve and Wardaman Indigenous Protected Area

The Giwining/Flora joint management partners met twice during the reporting period, in September 2014 and March 2015. Indigenous employment on the Reserve is limited compared to previous years due to reduced funding. However, the Joint Management Committee remains focused on working together with NT Parks and is satisfied with the current work programs on the reserve.

The other main ongoing focus for Giwinging/Flora Traditional Owners is the Wardaman Indigenous Protected Area (IPA). Stage One of the IPA covering part of Menggen Aboriginal Land Trust, Yubulyawuyn Aboriginal Land Trust, Djarrung Community Living Area and Wurkleni Community Living Area was dedicated by the Commonwealth Government in June 2014.

Operational activities have commenced on the IPA during 2014/2015 with the Wardaman Rangers employed casually on short-term contracts to complete fire, weed and cultural site protection work. The group has focused on securing full-time funding to start a Wardaman Ranger Program; however, this remains unfunded with previous applications unsuccessful.

The casual Wardaman Rangers have partnered with local pastoral stations, the NT Government Katherine Weeds Branch and the Parks and Wildlife Rangers to undertake small weed management projects to gain training and experience.

The Wardaman IPA Aboriginal Corporation met twice this year in July and December 2014 to discuss operational plans, budgets and the recruitment of a full-time IPA Coordinator in the Katherine NLC office. The Corporation continues to build capacity and maintains a strong partnership with the NLC.

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Garig Gunak Barlu (Cobourg) National Park

The Cobourg Board had four meetings this year and hosted a strategic planning and governance workshop. The Board is supported by an NLC joint management officer and an NLC legal adviser through funding from the Aboriginals Benefit Account.

The Cobourg Board introduced a new motto that is endorsed at the beginning of every meeting:

Yinang Arrala-rrikun Ngarrurrung Yiwarrudj La Yingman

“Let’s not forget our culture and language”

The Board is focussed on providing opportunities for youth through learning and employment projects, work experience, volunteering and associated opportunities through tourism and recreation.

Three Traditional Owner members participated in the ‘Advancing Economic Development of Indigenous Land’ Conference held in Darwin in April this year.

Two Traditional Owner delegates were supported to attend the World Parks Congress in Sydney.

Tjuwaliyn (Hot Springs) Park

The newly formed Management Committee comprising Traditional Owners from all Wagiman family groups met in March 2015. The group agreed to grant a two year section 19 agreement to the Parks and Wildlife Commission NT to manage the Park while negotiations for a long term lease agreement continue. The NLC hopes to conclude these negotiations in late 2015.

Opposite, left: Kelly finds herself a good mat. Opposite, right: Garig Board members Mathias Baird and Solomon Cooper with NITV journalist Malarndirri McCarthy at the World Parks Congress 2014.

Adelaide River Conservation Reserves

The Adelaide River Reserves Plan of Management became operational in late February 2015. The Joint Management Committee met once this year and has focused on projects aimed at maintaining some open water in Fogg Dam for the diversity of birds and improving the visitor experience, crocodile management and safe use of the reserves. A Traditional Owner delegation was supported to attend the World Parks Congress in Sydney, a global event bringing people and protected areas into focus.

Mary River National Park

The Mary River Joint Management Plan was tabled on 16 June 2015, and is anticipated to come into effect on 17 September 2015. The Mary River joint management partners have met twice this year and continued to focus on business development. The Limilngan and Uwynmil Traditional Owners are developing tourism opportunities to add value to existing operations in and around the Park. Annual culture camps remain the highlight of the year for families, providing opportunities for intergenerational knowledge transfer and maintaining connections to country.

Two Traditional Owner delegates were supported to attend the World Parks Congress in Sydney.

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CULTURE & HERITAGE

GOAL: Protect Aboriginal sacred sites, places and objects of significant cultural heritage.

PROTECTING SACRED SITES, PLACES AND OBJECTS

A key NLC objective is to support Aboriginal law and culture values, and the maintenance and protection of sacred sites and heritage.

Granting land rights to Aboriginal people recognises the validity of Aboriginal traditional law and cultural values, and the justice of prior claims to ownership. Aboriginal law is an integral part of Aboriginal culture; it is as important to Aboriginal people as our traditional lands and heritage. According to Justice Blackburn, the Gove Land Rights case in 1971 revealed:

“…a subtle and elaborate system highly adapted to the country in which the people lead their lives, which provided a stable order of society and was remarkably free from the vagaries of personal whim or influence… a government of laws, and not of men.”

The authenticity of Aboriginal law derives from the social mores of Aboriginal communities, and does not rely on the reasoning of lawyers, parliament, or the courts. For Aboriginal people, traditional law is the governing force of our daily life.

Investing in the things that also matter to Indigenous people - living on country, language and culture - are just as important in northern development as gas plants in Darwin harbour, roads and ports.

Opposite: Traditional dance at Barunga Sports and Cultural Festival, June 2015.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

OUTCOME

The Commonwealth and Northern Territory governments have agreed to spend $5 million to upgrade 16 existing morgues in remote communities, and build four new ones. The Indigenous Affairs Minister, Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion, announced the funding decision at the NLC Full council meeting at Barunga in June.

The decision brought to an end many years of lobbying by the NLC for governments to take responsibility for funding remote morgues. Until now, NT Government departments, shire councils and the Commonwealth could not agree about where responsibility lay.

Negotiations continue about which agency will run the morgues and pay for ongoing costs.

ADVICE ON TRADITIONAL OWNERSHIP

A key NLC objective is to provide thorough and professional advice regarding the appropriate people and groups associated with particular country, land or waters.

The identity of any traditional Aboriginal land owning group is contained within Aboriginal Law. The Aboriginal Land Rights Act makes an effort to capture this when it defines Traditional Owners as being ‘a local descent group’ of Aboriginal people who have common affiliations to a site(s) on or near the land that gives the particular group the ‘primary spiritual responsibility’ for the site(s) and associated land.

In addition, they are the group that, by Aboriginal tradition, are entitled to forage, over it. A definition can be found in section 3 (1) of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

The requirement to identify the appropriate people and groups for country is therefore fundamental to both traditional Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal law; hence, the NLC seeks at all times to be thorough and professional in its research to identify and document this information.

Advice prepared by the regional anthropologists to identify Traditional Owners and provided to other branches is used for a wide variety of purposes including land and native title claims, consultations with clients for mining, other projects and proposals and developments under section 19 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

Supporting Aboriginal law and associated cultural values is considered to be one of the most important roles of the NLC. The documentation of sacred sites, dreaming tracks and significant places, such as painted shelters and rock engraving sites, is one of the major works undertaken by the Anthropology branch each year and involves a coordinated approach by professional mapping and GIS staff.

FUNERAL AND CEREMONIAL FUND

The NLC administers a Funeral and Ceremonial Assistance project grant funded by the Aboriginals Benefit Account. The NLC Full Council recognises the increasing costs of charters, freight and coffin costs and the funeral and ceremonial policy enables Traditional Owners to apply for assistance to conduct funerals and ceremonies on country. This is an integral aspect of cultural and heritage protection in the NLC region.

Funeral and ceremonial assistance for 2014/2015 are provided below.

TABLE 8: FUNERAL AND CEREMONY ASSISTANCE PER REGION

REGION BURIALS CEREMONIES TOTAL PER REGION

Borroloola Barkly 25 25

Darwin-Daly-Wagait 44 4 48

East Arnhem 30 10 40

Katherine 38 38

Ngukurr/Numbulwar 16 16

Tennant Creek 5 5 10

Victoria River District 11 11

West Arnhem 44 8 52

TOTAL 213 27 240

The total number of approved applications for 2014/2015 across all regions is 240, compared with 501 for the previous reporting year. The total number of burial applications decreased from 448 in 2013/2014 to 213; ceremony applications decreased from 53 in 2013/2014 to 27. Due to budget and policy changes, no assistance was provided for ceremonies relating to an actual burial.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

FIGURE 8: NUMBER OF LIR REQUESTS, 2008-2015

2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2014/2015 0

100

200

300

400

500

2008/2009

Number of requests

LIR DATABASE

The Anthropology branch has designed and implemented enterprise database management systems to support growing demand on research outputs. Central to this is an electronic system for storing documents and maps, with a full text index on the documents stored within it.

Many documents were previously held as hard copies. An ongoing task over the last few years has been to transfer these to electronic files, involving scanning and text recognition of hardcopy documents and maps. Currently, more than 24,000 items are held in the LIR, of which over 19,000 now exist in electronic format.

OUTCOME

During the 2014/2015 reporting period, 1,041 new documents were submitted to the LIR, each requiring geographic and ethnographic indexing, a huge task for the branch.

GIS SYSTEM SUPPORT

A key NLC objective is to provide GIS support to NLC staff.

The NLC has a team that provides Geographic Information System (GIS) services. The GIS ESRI ArcGIS desktop software and server technology provides mapping technology to NLC staff via the NLC intranet. The NLC GIS outputs cartographic or mapping products.

The workload is managed using database technology with a web interface for making map requests and managing jobs. While the GIS section is part of the Anthropology branch, it provides a service to the whole organisation including native title claim mapping, compiling geographic data for section 19 agreements, gravel pit extraction areas, legal agreements and mining tenements.

LAND INTEREST REFERENCES (LIR)

A key NLC objective is to manage and maintain a reliable LIR system.

LIRs are registered each year to assist with the assessment of development applications on Aboriginal and native title lands and waters. All requests are recorded and processed. The following table provides a breakdown of LIR requests relating to particular activities.

TABLE 9: LIR REQUESTS BY ACTIVITY FOR 2014/2015

Mining 69

Utilities - telecommunication 25

Tourism (not parks) 20

Land management - Crocodile egg harvesting 20

National Parks 18

Roads and gravel 17

Pastoral - grazing licence 17

Infrastructure 16

Native title - land 15

Communities - township Leasing 14

Pastoral land/resource management 12

Other 8

Leases (section 19) 7

Utilities - power and water 6

Sea Country 5

Communities - essential services 5

Native title - sea 4

National Parks - tourism 4

Land Claims 3

Economic development - retail 2

Cultural 2

Research 2

Caring for Country 1

Unflagged 1

Utilities - gas 1

Defence 1

Communities - stores 1

Indigenous Protection Areas (IPA) 1

Media 1

Land management - fire abatement 1

Land management - harvesting 1

TOTAL 300

92 93

COMMUNITY WELLBEING

GOAL: Support Aboriginal people to maintain sustainable communities, outstations and healthy lives.

CAPACITY BUILDING: EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION AND TRAINING

A key NLC objective is to develop employment and training plans in partnership with industry and government stakeholders, and facilitate the implementation of these plans.

The NLC supports Aboriginal people to use rights to land and seas to buy into the economic future of the Northern Territory, and for individuals to secure long term sustainable career pathways.

The NLC’s Jobs and Careers Service Unit (JACS) was designed to maximise jobs and careers for Aboriginal people on major projects on Aboriginal land and where native title interests have been established. JACS’ first priority is to negotiate employment commitments from all major projects, focusing on key industry sectors and its employment model to achieve maximum results. The unit aims to provide Aboriginal people with qualifications, skills and experiences that are recognised Australia wide through direct referral and on-the-job training and/or pre-employment training.

(We have a) vision for healthy, happy and working communities, something all Australians can be proud of.

Opposite: The Wagilag Sisters, Dorothy Djukulul, painting on canvas using ochre pigments.

© Dorothy Djukulul/Licensed by Viscopy, 2015. (NLC Darwin Office)

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

ANTHROPOLOGY - REGIONAL PROFILES

The following figures illustrate the basic demographic characterisation of each NLC anthropology region in terms of geographic areas, population and land tenure.

TABLE 10: DISTRIBUTION OF ABORIGINAL LIVING AREAS ACROSS NLC ANTHROPOLOGY REGIONS

REGION MAJOR MINOR TOWN CAMP FAMILY

OUTSTATION TOTAL

Borroloola Barkly 2 3 6 68 79

Central Arnhem 2 3 50 55

Darwin Daly 8 2 7 47 64

East Arnhem 1 5 2 43 50

East Arnhem 2 2 6 39 47

East Daly Waters 1 1 1 3

Kakadu 1 20 21

Katherine 3 2 2 10 17

VRD 2 5 2 15 24

West Arnhem 4 1 47 52

West Daly Waters 1 1 6 8

TOTAL 29 26 19 346 420

TABLE 11: ABORIGINAL OWNED LAND AND NATIVE TITLE INTERESTS

REGION ALRA LAND TRUST

(ALT)

NATIVE TITLE INTERESTS (NT)

OTHER

Borroloola Barkly 17.79% 75.77% 6.44%

Central Arnhem 100.00% 0.00% 0.00%

Darwin Daly 45.78% 23.79% 30.43%

East Arnhem 1 100.00% 0.00% 0.00%

East Arnhem 2 100.00% 0.00% 0.74%

East Daly Waters 25.88% 73.37% 0.74%

Kakadu 29.22% 17.72% 53.06%

Katherine 68.08% 21.01% 10.91%

VRD 26.68% 54.04% 19.28%

West Arnhem 100.00% 0.00% 0.00%

West Daly Waters 13.96% 76.51% 9.53%

In summary, JACS endeavours to:

a. h

elp negotiate maximum job commitments from major projects subject to Indigenous Land Use Agreements

b.

e

nsure commitments made by employers are met, and

c.

p

rovide on-going mentoring to employees and support to employers.

JACS has previously delivered employment and training outcomes through the 5Ps model - that is, provision of jobs via land use agreements, partnership formation, preparation of work, planning for training and mentoring workers and project management.

The JACS program has been heavily impacted by the downturn in the mining industry, and a review is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

Above, left: Ranger Coxwain training at Mardbalk. Above, right: Kenbi Rangers with Greening Australia staff, Certificate 2 horticulture training.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

The following provides anthropological profiles for a selection of NLC regions.

DARWIN-DALY-WAGAIT PORT KEATS REGION

The land tenure of this anthropology region is largely Aboriginal Land Trusts administered under the Aboriginal Rights (Northern Territory) Act, in particular the:

•

D

aly River Port Keats

• Ma

lak Malak

•

U

pper Daly

•

W

agiman 1 & 2

•

F

inniss River

•

D

elissaville, Wagait Larrakia

•

G

urundju Aboriginal Land Trusts.

NT has the capacity to become a vibrant Indigenous and multi-cultural community.

Left: CEO Joe Morrison addresses a rally outside Parliament House, Darwin to protest against Northern Territory Government water allocation policies, May 2015.

FIGURE 9: NLC ANTHROPOLOGY REGIONS - ESTIMATED INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS

Victoria River District Est pop 1488

Borroloola-Barkly Est pop 2968

Darwin Daly Est pop 4244

East Arnhem 1 Est pop 3457

Anindilyakwa Land Council

Greater Darwin Census Region Est pop 11,101

Darwin

Katherine

Borroloola

Tennant Creek

Nhulunbuy

East Arnhem 2 Est pop 1928

Central Arnhem Est pop 2577

West Arnhem Est pop 1877

Katherine Est pop 2934

East Daly Waters Est pop 933

West Daly Waters Est pop 1414

Kakadu Est pop 933

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

There were also nine consultations regarding new exploration licence applications (ELAs). Some ELAs require the NLC to facilitate site surveys with Traditional Owners to identify and map significant sites within the tenements before a final meeting can be held. These cultural site surveys are an important part of anthropological work in the region as they enable Traditional Owners to identify areas to be protected and excluded from exploration licences and also enable cultural knowledge to be preserved and passed on to the younger generations.

Consultations regarding leases over lots in the communities have continued during 2014/2015, leading to many new section 19 land use agreements issued to governmental institutions, private entities and Aboriginal corporations.

In Gunbalanya and Maningrida, a meeting has been called to discuss the Solar Setup initiative proposed by the Indigenous Essential Services wing of Power and Water Corporation. The initiative aims to provide solar power as an alternative to relying on diesel generators. For the project to go ahead, clearance is required from Traditional Owners; talks for Warruwi are continuing.

Consultations continue with Traditional Owners of the Mini Mini and Murganella coastal region to settle fishing access, in light of the Blue Mud Bay decision by the High Court in 2008. Traditional Owners considered a range of options of how to apply compensation monies from the Northern Territory government, including the support of ranger patrols, equipment purchase and promotion of Indigenous business opportunities.

Pastoral and native title land interests make up approximately forty percent of the area. A wide range of activities other than government services is currently being undertaken in this region, including crocodile egg collecting on several of the Land Trusts; working towards the divestment of Fish River property to Traditional Owners; native title authorisation meetings for gold exploration in the Pine Creek region; working on joint management for Tjuwaliyn Douglas Hot Springs, and a mustering agreement on Benung for Wagiman. Consultations over a diverse range of activities included: finalising arrangements for the new Peppimenarti Store and manager’s house construction to begin this dry season; NTG Mineral Extraction Agreement setting a standard price for gravel and sand, and the realignment, lifting, widening and sealing of a section of the Port Keats Road between Chalanyi Creek and the Little Moyle River; ongoing Blue Mud Bay consultations over the intertidal areas that adjoin Aboriginal land; and a combined site survey with the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority on Cox Peninsula as part of the settlement of the Kenbi Land Claim.

NGUKURR & BORROLOOLA BARKLY REGION

The Ngukurr and Borroloola Barkly region contains three regional offices located in Ngukurr, Borroloola, and Tennant Creek. It makes up the eastern and southern extents of the NLC region and is roughly bounded in the west by the Stuart Highway.

The 2014/2015 financial year ended in disappointment for many Traditional Owners in the Ngukurr and Borroloola Barkly tegions with several newly established mines going into administration. This has affected nearby communities not only emotionally, but also financially, as many community members had employment/contracts associated with the operation of these mines.

On a positive note for communities, agreements with Traditional Owners are near completion for the establishment of new health centres in Robinson River and Ngukurr, as well as a new solar set-up at Minyeri. Consultations for the upgrade of Roper and Wilton crossings on the Roper Highway are almost complete, whilst access to gravel pits for the upgrade of Numbulwar road are ongoing.

An agreement with Traditional Owners for buffalo mustering in south east Arnhem Land has been established as far north as Rose River, with consultations north of Rose River being completed later this year. An agreement with Traditional Owners concerning the mustering of feral cattle on Alawa ALT is being finalised, as well as a new grazing licence on Muckaty Aboriginal Land Trust.

Mineral and gas exploration is ongoing, with 2015 work program clearances undertaken with Traditional Owners.

WEST ARNHEM LAND REGION

The West Arnhem Land anthropology region covers the western part of the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Land Trust, extending from the border of the Kakadu National Park in the west to east of the Liverpool and Mann Rivers, including the islands of Croker, South and North Goulburn. Major communities include, Gunbalanya, Maningrida, Minjilang and Warruwi. Many family outstations are located across the region, mainly along rivers or parts of the coast.

A major part of consultation work in the region concerns mining exploration activity. In the 2014/2015 reporting year, regular yearly meetings were conducted for 15 tenements, at which Traditional Owners approved the company’s work program for the coming dry season. At these meetings Traditional Owners also give instructions to the NLC on how they would like royalties from the previous year’s work distributed.

Opposite: West Arnhem coastline.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

NORTH EAST ARNHEM LAND REGION

The East Arnhem anthropology region takes up the majority of the East Arnhem NLC region, and the northernmost parts of the Ngukurr NLC region. Traditional Owners for East Arnhem are Yolngu people, with Nunggubuyu clans in the southern parts. The region includes areas of cultural significance including Blue Mud Bay, Gove Peninsula, Mitchell Ranges and Elcho Island. Oil and gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing continues to be one of the big issues in East Arnhem Land. Work on the approval process for a large tenement that covers much of the region is ongoing.

Consultations have highlighted a wide range of Traditional Owner opinions on ‘fracking’ including intense discussion about the need to protect water resources of great importance to Yolngu people. This has required a tremendous amount of work by NLC staff and consultants. In addition to specific projects, ongoing work is required on existing tenements, including work program meetings, where proposed works for the year are assessed and approved by Traditional Owners and royalties are distributed.

Emergency Response compensation payments for land in major communities have been ongoing and Traditional Owners are taking more time to consider options. An increasing number of lease agreements between Traditional Owners and proponents who wish to occupy lots in communities have been facilitated by the NLC including government, shires, health centres and businesses. In some cases, Traditional Owners have had to decide between multiple proponents who are requesting leases over the same lots.

KATHERINE REGION

The area for the Katherine anthropology region encompasses the whole of the Beswick, Jawoyn, Manyallaluk and Mangarrayi Aboriginal Land Trusts, and the south west portion of the Arnhem Aboriginal Land Trust. To the east, the region extends over pastoral leases, including Goondooloo, Moroak, Mountain Valley, Flying Fox and Mainoru. The region is bordered on the far west side by the Stuart Highway and Pine Creek, with the Katherine township straddling both the West Daly Waters and Katherine anthropology regions. Communities include Barunga, Manyallaluk, Beswick, Jilkminggan, Bulman and Weemol, with a number of outstations dotted throughout the region.

Consultations so far this year have focused on section 19 proposals, sand and gravel pit extraction and, to a lesser degree, on mining agreements. Pastoral leasing has dominated land interest in the Mangarrayi ALT, including upgrades to infrastructure (such as the Elsey meatworks) and altering or extending land interest areas for existing leases. In the Beswick ALT, discussions have focused on section 19 proposals, where the majority are individual government lot leases. This has been followed by commercial interests, the most prominent being buffalo mustering over four ALTs - Beswick , Jawoyn , South West Arnhem Land and Manyallaluk. It is anticipated that agreement will be finalised before the end of the dry season. Other consultations have addressed safari hunting and the renewal of two annual festival licences for the Beswick and Barunga communities. Traditional Owners have expressed concern about increasing attendances at festivals and the impact on the land. Last year NLC embarked on an environmental analysis to assess the level of impact to one specific site. Monitoring at this site is ongoing, and any degradation to the land will be recorded annually after each festival.

In Bulman, the new Gulin Gulin Community Store opened in August. The dongas, which were installed to provide temporary quarters for the construction workers, remain at Bulman. The community now has the opportunity to take over management and maintenance of the existing premises, so they can be rented out as casual accommodation.

CENTRAL ARNHEM LAND REGION

The Central Arnhem Land anthropology region overlaps both the East Arnhem and West Arnhem NLC regions. Major communities within Central Arnhem Land are Milingimbi and Ramingining, with many outstations along the Blyth and Cadell Rivers and the Arafura Wetlands. The Katherine Regional Office, East Arnhem Regional Office and West Arnhem Regional Office provide support to the Central Arnhem region.

Our work in this region over the past year has been dominated by consultations for section 19 Land Use Agreement proposals, including a Traditional Owner-run safari hunting business, tourism ventures, and the installation of large-scale solar panels in both Milingimbi and Ramingining to reduce reliance on diesel fuel. Consultations are ongoing in relation to many applications for leases of lots within townships, or variations to current leases.

The West Arnhem Road’s project saw conversations held in Ramingining seeking Traditional Owners’ views on possible upgrades to the ‘top track’, including discussions of possible improvements to river crossings. Consultations for gravel extraction agreements along this road were also completed. On the Central Arnhem Road, the Goyder River Bridge and Donydji Bridge are now open.

In February 2015, Ramingining and Milingimbi and their outstations were hit hard by Cyclone Lam, closely followed by Cyclone Nathan. While fortunately there were no injuries and while, unlike Galiwinku, there was minimal damage to houses, many shade trees within the communities were lost, causing dramatic changes to country.

Above: Ramingining (BulaBula) before cyclone (left) and after (right).

102 103

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

GOAL: Facilitate economic opportunities that lead to viable and sustainable regional commercial activities and development in the regions.

LAND USE AGREEMENTS

A key NLC objective is to secure economic, social and cultural benefits for Traditional Owners from developments taking place on Aboriginal land.

Aboriginal lands and sea in remote Australia are rich in biodiversity and other natural resources and have the potential to deliver economic opportunities and outcomes. A major function of the NLC is to express the wishes of Traditional Owners. In terms of economic development, this is carried out through land use agreements under section 19 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. The NLC carries out consultations and negotiations on behalf of Traditional Owners with third parties who seek commercial activities on Aboriginal land.

The NLC must ensure that any land use proposal is reasonable, that the appropriate landowning group is provided opportunities to make informed decisions in accordance with its traditional decision making processes, and that affected Aboriginal people are also given opportunities to express their views about a particular land use agreement. Once informed consent is reached, NLC considers the land use proposal and may direct the appropriate Aboriginal Land Trust to enter into a licence or lease agreement with the proponent.

The NLC intends to prepare a development prospectus that clearly identifies opportunities for activity on Aboriginal-owned land in the NLC region.

Opposite: Pastoral Officers Mark Ford and Sam Tapp addressing Tradtional Owners from Elsey Station area at Jilkminggan.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

MAJOR AGREEMENTS

The Commonwealth’s compulsory five-year leases over Aboriginal land expired in August 2012; all properties not underpinned by a lease arrangement revert back to the Aboriginal Land Trust. It is the policy of both the Commonwealth and Northern Territory governments that assets on Aboriginal land be underpinned by secure tenure arrangements. Government policy on appropriate tenure arrangements has paved the way for the approval of a large number of section 19 agreements in Aboriginal communities across the NLC region.

Leasing arrangements include public housing, education and training facilities, police stations, health centres, crèches, safe houses, essential services infrastructure, government employee housing, workshops, ranger stations, housing, and commercial operations.

ROYALTY PAYMENTS

Royalty payments are derived from income from land use agreements and funds must be paid to or for the benefit of Traditional Owners.

CHALLENGES

The increasing number of section 19 land use agreements and expressions of interests over the last three years have required significant resources to progress and manage a rapidly growing land use management portfolio. The NLC, as part of a continuous improvement strategy, will need to invest in streamlining lease management business processes and procedures. This will involve development of whole-of-life lease application software with both integrated financial management and Geographic Information Systems. These efficiencies will assist the NLC to work closely with Traditional Owners to harness economic and community development opportunities.

Progressing section 19 land use applications to the consultation stage with Traditional Owners has significant cost implications. Implementing user-pay systems, in accordance with the Commonwealth Government’s cost recovery guidelines, will be critical to improving NLC business efficiency, productivity and responsiveness.

We want development that’s aligned with our environmental and cultural values.

Prior to taking land use proposals to the Traditional Owners for consideration, multi-disciplinary teams within the NLC, comprising regional support staff, lawyers, anthropologist and external experts, undertake a rigorous assessment.

Business and economic development in remote parts of the Northern Territory can be impeded by a number of factors. Some proposals may provide insufficient detail about the proposed operational area. Land use proposals may cover more than one group’s traditional lands, and therefore consultations and logistics to bring the decision makers together can be complex. Seasonal factors also dictate when and where community consultations can be held. Most consultations occur during the dry season (April to October); however, this limited window of opportunity puts pressure on both NLC staff and constituents in relation to planning and holding meetings as well as meeting legislative timeframes.

The NLC operates an electronic database called the Land Information Management System (LIMS) to record expressions of interest for land use agreements. Each expression of interest is registered in LIMS on receipt, and allows the NLC to monitor the progress of applications and provide accurate statistics for performance reports. LIMS is designed to monitor

compliance information with negotiated land use agreements and assist planning.

The NLC is strategically focused on aiding development of enterprises on Aboriginal land. The range of micro-enterprises, private businesses, government and

community development initiatives continues to increase. The benefits for Traditional Owners, community members and stakeholders of securing section 19 leases, facilitated by NLC in accordance with the requirements of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, include:

•

s

ecure tenure - for Traditional Owners, public housing tenants, proponents (government and commercial) and investors (financial institutions)

•

s

ecure rental returns administered by the NLC and subject to the protections in the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, with rates typically determined by the Valuer General

•

a c

onsistent approach to leasing on Aboriginal land, whereby proponents are familiar with NLC processes and procedures, providing certainty for investment.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Since 1 July 2014, the Full Council has approved 84 section 19 land use agreements. A large percentage of these agreements were leases obtained for parcels of land in Aboriginal communities affected by the compulsory five-year leases introduced by the Commonwealth Government through the Northern Territory Emergency Response. The income generated through these agreements is stimulating economies in Top End communities and will produce a range of economic, cultural and social benefits for Traditional Owners.

We want development that becomes a lasting legacy for our children.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

The IPP has supported a Business Management Advisory Program (BMAP) on six Indigenous properties across the Northern Territory. Initially, BMAP focused on business analysis and management planning with property managers. It has evolved to include working with directors to increase the overall knowledge base of pastoral property management and business planning. In particular, BMAP participants have identified three key learning outcomes from participating in the program including the importance of maintaining accurate records, understanding the need for critical data analysis and utilising all information available to improve overall decision making.

Pastoral production on supported properties has also improved through IPP as a result of additional infrastructure, effective land management (fire, soils and weeds), understanding animal husbandry, herd management and animal welfare requirements. Where Natural Resource Audits have been carried out, the information informs land managers of environmental issues and the production capacity of the land used to generate income from sustainable cattle production.

Above: New cattle crush (left) and new cattle yards (right) constructed at Amanbidji.

INDIGENOUS PASTORAL PROGRAM

A key NLC objective is to actively support and encourage Indigenous pastoral activities across the Northern Territory.

Currently, 36 section 19 pastoral grazing licences are held on Aboriginal Land in the NLC region. Approximately 40,400 km2 of Aboriginal Land Trust land are under pastoral production, with these properties carrying an estimated 116,000 head of cattle.

The NLC continues to be an agency partner in the Indigenous Pastoral Program (IPP) with the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC), Central Land Council (CLC), Northern Territory Government, Commonwealth Government and the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association. These partner organisations, in particular the NLC and CLC, support and facilitate Indigenous pastoral activities across the Northern Territory. In total, it is estimated that the Indigenous pastoral sector in the Northern Territory has 200,000 head of cattle grazing on 60,000 km2 of Aboriginal land.

The ILC’s funding of a dedicated IPP position has resulted in further significant achievements for Aboriginal pastoralists in the NLC region. The NLC’s IPP Coordinator works collaboratively with agency partners, contributing to the skills and expertise of the respective IPP organisations to support development of Indigenous land for pastoral development and production.

Significant IPP achievements during 2014/2015 include:

•

t

hree Natural Resource Audits completed for pastoral areas on Aboriginal Land Trusts

•

m

odern yards completed at Amanbidji’s Hurricane Yard (Nagurunguru Aboriginal Land Trust)

•

n

ew stock water facilities and rangeland land management assistance at Twin Hill Station

•

s

uccessful Aboriginal Benefit Account grant proposals for Aboriginal organisations that will achieve $815,000 of approved developments

•

t

wo section 19 pastoral agreements bringing over 900km2 into pastoral production and approximately 6,000 additional head of cattle on Aboriginal land

•

N

LC administrative and pastoral assessment support for Palumpa Station

•

i

nfrastructure development program at Robinson River

•

i

nfrastructure development and equipment support at Seven Emu Station

•

B

usiness Management Advisory Program (BMAP) support for two properties.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

CHALLENGES

The value to Traditional Owners of the 36 pastoral grazing licences under section 19 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act is nearly $2 million per annum, with up to 70% of all benefits being offset with infrastructure upgrades. Less than 10% of all section 19 grazing licences are Aboriginal operators. The role of the NLC Pastoral Officer is vitally important, especially for future Indigenous pastoral aspirations, to ensure that land use areas are appropriately maintained and infrastructure developed according to industry standards and any agreed terms of agreement are met.

Compliance with section 19 pastoral Land Use Agreements is resource intensive and the overall management of pastoral activities requires a unique skill set to effectively deal with the day-to-day challenges of working within the industry. At present, there are only two dedicated NLC Pastoral Officers to oversee the range of issues regarding monitoring and compliance that often require on-going brokering and dispute resolution.

The NLC pastoral team has started to see the benefits of the work on existing pastoral grazing licences through improved sustainable grazing and infrastructure management. However, without appropriate surveillance over the entire suite of 36 grazing licences, there is potential for Aboriginal assets and land to be degraded to the extent that future opportunities for Traditional Owners to develop pastoral activities on their land may be compromised.

CATTLE AND BUFFALO INDUSTRY GROWTH

Northern Australia is experiencing strong market growth through a rejuvenated industry with the following developments:

•

S

ignificant increase in the live cattle export trade, with steers fetching strong prices. In 2014, the Darwin Port broke its record for cattle exported in a calendar year with 493,958 cattle moved, smashing the previous record of 359,307 set in 2008.

•

O

pening of a $90 million state-of the art meat processing facility on the outskirts of Darwin by Australian Agricultural Company Limited (AACo), a world-leading provider of beef and agricultural products . This infrastructure will significantly reduce transport and freight costs for local producers, minimising carcass weight loss during transportation, thus increasing opportunities to further develop cattle interests in Aboriginal Land Trust areas.

•

G

rowth in the Asian buffalo industry with Australian buffalo bringing strong market rates from overseas buyers (particularly Vietnam), resulting in a significant spike in interest to muster wild buffalo on Aboriginal land. The Northern Territory Government has indicated that the current market could supply up to 10,000 buffalo per annum. The majority of wild buffalo currently reside on the Arnhem land Aboriginal Land Trust, estimated to hold up to 120,000 animals.

•

T

he signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) on 17 June 2015 will unlock significant opportunities for Australia. China is Australia’s largest export market for goods and services, accounting for nearly a third of total exports, and is a growing source for foreign investment.

BUFFALO INDUSTRY TOUR, VIETNAM

An NLC team of Chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi, Executive Member for West Arnhem John Christophersen and Regional Development Manager Jonathan McLeod accompanied the Northern Territory Government on a relationship building tour with the Vietnamese Government and the buffalo industry. The purpose of the visit was to promote the Northern Territory as a supplier of choice for live export, to investigate future live export demands with both buffalo and cattle, and to strengthen cooperative agency working relationships.

The visit included meetings with the the Vietnam Government’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Australian Embassy, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and a Vietnamese Importer. The NLC team also had the opportunity to see the unloading of a shipment of Northern Territory buffalo at the Haiphong port facilities and to tour stock holding yards and feed lots.

Opposite, clockwise from top left: Chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi, MLA Hon. Willem Westra van Holthe and Executive Member John Christophersen visiting a buffalo feed and holding yard in Haiphong; Scott Wauchope with Chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi and Executive Member John Christophersen at the stock yards; Buffalo in the holding yard in Haiphong.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

MINERALS & ENERGY

A key NLC objective is to advocate on behalf of Traditional Owners and native title holders to ensure Aboriginal land owners make informed decisions about proposed minerals and energy projects.

The exploration and production of minerals, petroleum (oil and gas) and other forms of energy are essential to maintain our modern standard of living and are significant contributors to the financial and economic growth of the Northern Territory.

Minerals and energy sector resource-based proposals in the Northern Territory are administered and regulated by Northern Territory legislation - the Minerals Titles Act, the Petroleum Act, the Geothermal Energy Act and the Mining Management Act.

Resource-based exploration and development projects can pose risks to the natural environment and to Aboriginal culture, and these risks may have negative impacts on Aboriginal spirituality and connection to land (or places), and cultural and social activities. The responsibility to protect culturally and environmentally sensitive areas from such risks is significant not only to Aboriginal people and the NLC, but also to the broader community. The rights and interests of Traditional Owners and native title parties are protected by land tenure and are recognised by the Commonwealth as either freehold land granted under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, or through a continuous cultural connectivity to the land demonstrated in accordance with requirements under the Native Title Act 1993.

The NLC continues to receive many new applications to explore for mineral and energy resources over land governed by these two pieces of legislation. More than 90% of the NLC region is covered by applications to explore for minerals, petroleum and geothermal energy. The NLC is the statutory representative body with responsibility for advocating on behalf of Traditional Owners and native title parties to ensure that Aboriginal land owners make informed decisions about proposed minerals and energy projects and that, where possible, any likely impacts on Aboriginal culture and the natural environment are negated or at least minimised. This is achieved through consultation, negotiation of resource-based agreements and provision of advice in accordance with the principles of free, prior and informed consent.

Opposite: Peter Djigirr, Guruwilling Rangers, captures a rogue crocodile at the Blythe River.

More than 90% of the NLC region is covered by applications to explore for minerals, petroleum and geothermal energy.

COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT

A key NLC objective is to empower Aboriginal people to carry out commercial activities and build sustainable enterprises.

Economic development provides the foundation for genuine opportunities for Aboriginal people with attendant cultural and social benefits. Section 23(1) (ea) of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act empowers the NLC to assist Aboriginal people to carry out commercial activities, provided that the NLC itself does not profit from the activities. Currently, Aboriginal people in the NLC region suffer from high levels of disadvantage, a situation not likely to change without long term strategic investment. The NLC is a key agency in facilitating economic development on Aboriginal lands, with statutory responsibility for facilitating economic activity over an area that covers more than 210,000 square kilometres of the of the Northern Territory as well as 85% of the coastline. The NLC economic development program assists Traditional

Owners to use their land assets to create investment, businesses and employment opportunities.

The NLC faces many challenges in building sustainable enterprises on Aboriginal land. Most former reserve land and land obtained under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act has low commercial productivity and services and essential

infrastructure are often poor in remote locations, except in areas where minerals have been found or where nature-based tourism activities occur. Despite these challenges, economic opportunities exist for Aboriginal people on Aboriginal land. As populations increase, small to mid-size food and retail operators increasingly see Aboriginal communities as attractive business opportunities. A range of industries from horticulture to agri-forestry and pastoral enterprises are in development and the environmental sector provides real opportunities for Aboriginal enterprises. Possible entry into the commercial fishing industry has also been raised by the Blue Mud Bay High Court decision.

However, overall, the long-term focus is on developing the capacity of Traditional Owners to:

•

p

articipate in the mainstream economy

•

t

ake advantage of commercial opportunities arising from developments on Aboriginal land

• de

velop long-term sustainable Aboriginal enterprises in the pastoral industry, aquaculture, feral animal management and harvesting, greenhouse gas fire abatement programs, mining operations, railways and pipelines, gas and major infrastructure development.

The NLC is a key agency for economic development on Aboriginal lands.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

FIGURE 10: MINERALS EXPLORATION IN THE NLC REGION

Exploration Licence Grants

NT Land Councils boundaries

Exploration Licence Applications

The NLC meets it statutory obligations under both Aboriginal Land Rights Act and Native Title Act by conducting on-country consultations to provide advice, and through provision of other services such as:

•

r

esponding to formal applications from the minerals and energy sectors in relation to exploration and development proposals over Aboriginal freehold land

•

r

esponding to notices of proposed ‘future acts’ pursuant to the Native Title Act

•

c

onsultation, negotiation and delivery of equitable agreements on behalf of Traditional Owners and native title parties

•

a

ssessment of the potential impacts of approved minerals and energy exploration and development proposals and other mineral and energy-related projects such as gas pipelines, processing plants, etc.

•

a

ssessment and distribution of financial benefits to Traditional Owners.

A key requirement for processing resource-based agreements is to ensure that the free, prior and informed consent of Traditional Owners or native title parties is obtained. This requires the NLC to maintain a high level of technical expertise, knowledge and skills across a number of fields, the key elements of which are:

•

i

dentification of the correct Traditional Owners, native title parties, estate groups and affected people for land located within an area of proposed development

•

o

rganisation of on-country consultations either on or near the proposed project area

•

r

eview, synthesis and effective communication of the technical information related to a proposed resource development project, its timeframes, commercial opportunities, and potential environmental and social risks, costs and benefits

•

e

nsuring that all relevant information is presented in an unbiased and fair manner

•

n

egotiation of agreements suited to a specific resource project(s) and its proponent(s), Traditional Owners, native title parties, estate groups, target minerals or hydrocarbon and other factors

•

p

lanning and management of the relationships between stakeholders which develop during the life of a project

•

f

or tenement applications over Aboriginal Land Trust land, establishing whether the Traditional Owners have given free, prior and informed consent to exploration and production and have approved the land access to any granted tenement(s).

Many project proposals contain complex technical information. The NLC has a responsibility to ensure that such information is communicated appropriately to Traditional Owners and native title parties. This is an important role to ensure that Traditional Owners, native title parties and other affected Aboriginal people understand the nature and purpose of a proposed project; and to provide an opportunity for them to communicate any concerns that they may have back to the proponent, regulators and the NLC. Effective advocacy ensures that free, prior and informed consent is obtained during the decision-making process and that Traditional Owners and native title parties are properly represented. Advocacy and two-way communication is fundamental to understand the impacts that resource-based project proposals may have on Aboriginal culture and the environment.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

FIGURE 11: PETROLEUM EXPLORATION IN THE NLC REGION

Exploration Licence Grants

NT Land Councils boundaries

Exploration Licence Applications

EXPLORATION LICENCES AND EXPLORATION PERMITS: PART IV ABORIGINAL LAND RIGHTS ACT

Under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, the Northern Territory Minister for Mines and Energy cannot approve a project unless the Traditional Owners have given their free, prior and informed consent. This requires the NLC to present all information relevant to the proposed project and to determine if consent has, or has not, been given. The NLC’s statutory obligations start once an explorer lodges an application for consent under section 41, Part IV of the Act. These obligations remain in place until the application is finalised or withdrawn.

Each year, the NLC processes and manages a large number of applications for mineral-based Exploration Licences (ELs) and petroleum-based Exploration Permits (EPs). As a core responsibility under Part IV of the Act, the NLC facilitates the annual exploration activities for granted minerals Exploration Licences (ELs) or petroleum Exploration Permits (EPs) once the annual work program documents are submitted by the relevant mineral or petroleum company. To achieve these outcomes, the NLC uses a four-step consultation process:

1.

I

nitial on-country consultations to establish if Traditional Owners wish to reject the application or if they wish to enter into negotiations towards an exploration agreement

2.

O

n-country surveys of sacred sites and clan boundaries, combined with defined areas that need to be protected under the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act 1978. This is usually done in conjunction with negotiations about the contents of a draft legal agreement applicable to the land that may be made available for exploration

3.

F

inal on-country consultations to allow Traditional Owners to consider and formally accept or refuse the application and its associated agreement

4.

I

f consented, delivery of a ministerially approved, executed agreement and formal notification necessary for the granting of the minerals Exploration Licence or petroleum Exploration Permit.

Once the agreement has been executed and the tenement granted by the Northern Territory Government, the proponent company is then obliged to present its proposed exploration activities to Traditional Owners at a specially convened work program meeting. These meetings are a contractual obligation and occur annually, although additional meetings are required if significant changes are made to an approved work program.

Advocacy and two-way communication is fundamental to understand the impacts that resource-based project proposals may have on Aboriginal culture and the environment.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

TABLE 12: MINERALS & ENERGY BRANCH CONSULTATIONS AND OTHER OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES DURING 2014/2015

CONSULTATION TYPE NO. OF

PROJECTS

NO. OF

CONSULTATIONS

Tenements processed under Aboriginal Land Rights Act Applications for Minerals and Energy Exploration Titles Granted Minerals and Energy Exploration Titles Liaison Committee Meetings

20 22 5

44 33 8

Tenements processed under the Native Title Act Applications for Minerals and Energy Exploration Titles Granted Minerals and Energy Exploration Titles Liaison Committee Meetings

5 17 4

5

44 13

TOTAL - ALL MINERALS AND ENERGY CONSULTATIONS 73 147

OTHER OPERATIONAL ACTIVITIES (NOT CONSULTATIONS) NO. OF ACTIVITIES

Audits 25

Stakeholder meetings 33

NEGOTIATING MINERALS AND ENERGY AGREEMENTS

The NLC continues to identify and address Aboriginal disadvantage through positive financial and social outcomes that are facilitated by negotiation of fair and equitable resource exploration, development and related infrastructure agreements. In recent years, there has been a focus on securing longer lasting benefits in these agreements such as development of local infrastructure, and employment and business opportunities. Benefits that may flow from these negotiated agreements include, but are not limited to:

•

T

raditional Owner and native title party participation in the exploration planning and approvals process through sacred sites surveys, liaison committees and annual work program meetings

•

m

inerals and petroleum companies working together with Aboriginal cultural monitors to ensure that sacred sites and other culturally sensitive areas are protected during the conduct of approved exploration activities

•

l

ocal employment and provision of project/industry-specific training programs

•

c

ommitting companies to high-level cultural and environmental considerations with, in serious cases, penalties for non-compliance

•

p

rovision for exploration compensation payments.

BACKLOG OF EXPLORATION APPLICATIONS AND THE NEGOTIATING PERIOD

At the end of the 2014/2015 reporting period, the NLC carried a backlog of 254 uncompleted exploration applications (including minerals and energy titles) over Aboriginal freehold land. Most of the outstanding applications were being warehoused and not actively pursued by the companies concerned. Reflecting global markets and the downward trend in petroleum and minerals commodity prices, fewer applications were received by the NLC than in previous years.

A total of 85 activities were conducted, including on-country consultations and audits for 48 separate minerals and energy resource development projects on Aboriginal freehold land. The statistics provided here do not reflect the complexity and vastness of some exploration proposals, especially some of the large petroleum tenements, or the human, financial and logistical resources required to conduct on-country consultations.

EXPLORATION LICENCES AND EXPLORATION PERMITS: NATIVE TITLE ACT 1993

The NLC is a native title representative body under the provisions of the Native Title Act. As a part of its responsibility, the NLC deals with applications for minerals and energy exploration and granted minerals and energy exploration and production tenements over land on which native title applies. Many of the applications for minerals exploration are considered by the Northern Territory Government to have minimal environmental and social impact and as such are quickly granted under an expedited procedure. In these

cases, an agreement is normally negotiated only if the project proponent finds an economically viable mineral deposit and an application for a Mineral Lease (ML) to develop a mine is then lodged with the Government.

Petroleum exploration automatically attracts the procedural right to negotiate an exploration agreement under the

Native Title Act when a petroleum exploration permit is lodged. Many petroleum exploration applications and granted tenements pose significant logistical problems when it comes to conducting on-country consultations, as they generally cover vast tracts of land in remote regions, involving numerous Traditional Owners and clan estates. A tenement area (or boundary) of a petroleum exploration permit application can exist simultaneously within mining tenures administered by Northern Territory legislation - the Minerals Titles Act, the Petroleum Act, and the Geothermal Energy Act (including Exploration Licences, Mineral Leases or other mineral-related titles).

In 2014/2015 the NLC conducted a total of 87 activities, including on-country consultations and audits, related to 32 separate minerals and petroleum exploration and mining projects (including closure and legacy mine-related projects) located on land where native title rights exist.

A number of on-country meetings relating to minerals and energy on both native title land and Aboriginal freehold land had to be cancelled or postponed during the reporting year due to several factors, including:

•

s

ome companies either deferred or did not implement an exploration work program

•

s

ome companies chose not to progress their tenement applications

•

c

ultural reasons, funerals and other external factors.

We want development, but we want it to be ethical.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

MINING

The four major operational mines located in the NLC region are:

•

R

io Tinto Alcan Gove, which mines bauxite near Nhulunbuy in north-east Arnhem Land

•

E

RA Ranger Uranium Mine, which mines and produces uranium oxide near Jabiru

•

O

M (Manganese) Limited Bootu Creek Mine, which mines and produces manganese near Tennant Creek

•

G

lencore Xtrata McArthur River Mine, which mines a complex silver-lead-zinc ore near Borroloola.

Additionally, the NLC represents Traditional Owners and native title parties affected by a number of smaller mines at various stages of operation. These include:

•

M

erlin Diamond Mine, which has produced diamonds near Borroloola (currently non-operational)

•

R

edbank Copper Mine, which is aiming to produce copper on Wollogorang Station near the Northern Territory/Queensland border (currently non-operational)

•

Fr

ances Creek, which produced iron ore near Pine Creek and moved into ‘care and maintenance’ phase during the reporting period (currently non-operational)

•

n

umerous gold-producing mines operating in the Pine Creek region.

During the 2014/2015 reporting period, the NLC, Traditional Owners and native title parties participated in various initiatives related to the closure and rehabilitation of mines, including:

•

p

romoting the interests of the Mirarr people in the development of future closure criteria for the Ranger Uranium Mine through ongoing technical meetings with Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) and various government representative bodies

•

p

articipating in the multi-stakeholder Redbank Working Group to address and remediate serious environmental issues associated with previous mining operations at the Redbank Copper Mine

•

p

romoting the interests of the Finniss River Aboriginal Land Trust and the Kungarakany and Warai Traditional Owners throughout the closure of Newmont Asia Pacific’s base metals mine (formerly known as the Woodcutters mine)

•

p

romoting the interests of the Finniss River Aboriginal Land Trust and the Kungarakany and Warai Traditional Owners as part of the National Partnership Agreement between the Northern Territory and Commonwealth governments in respect of the former Rum Jungle Uranium Mine near Batchelor.

ENVIRONMENTAL ADVICE AND REPRESENTATION

Under both the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and Native Title Act, the NLC has a responsibility to represent and support Aboriginal people with matters associated with environmental and land management. The NLC provides technical and environmental advice about proposed minerals and petroleum exploration and production activities that may impact on their land. The NLC’s responsibilities include liaising among project developers, governmental agencies, Traditional Owners and native title parties. The NLC may initiate its own environmental research or investigations and engage specialist consultants as the need arises to ensure that best practice and precautionary principles are observed and applied.

MANAGING MINERALS AND ENERGY AGREEMENTS

Negotiated minerals and energy agreements are binding legal documents and carry contractual obligations. By law, the NLC assumes responsibilities and commitments under such agreements to ensure that companies meet their contractual obligations to the relevant Traditional Owners or native title parties. During the 2014/2015 reporting period, a high proportion of the Mineral and Energy Branch’s total on-country consultations were facilitated under existing agreements. These consultations mostly related to annual petroleum exploration work programs for granted petroleum Exploration Permits and mining or closure/ legacy related matters under granted Mineral Leases.

During the 2014/2015 reporting period, agreement-based works undertaken by the NLC included on-going participation in cultural heritage management, exploration work program planning, and auditing activities on a number of granted minerals and petroleum tenements across the NLC region. The NLC also participated in on-going discussions with the Northern Territory Government, industry representative bodies and minerals and petroleum companies to optimise business development outcomes and training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people under existing agreements.

The onshore petroleum industry is expected to grow under the Northern Territory Government’s initiative to release further petroleum acreage via a competitive bidding process. The NLC anticipates an increase in the volume and variety of work as more acreage is relinquished by existing explorers and released to the market, hence the requirement to address proposals for resource-based projects as demand arises.

Above, left: NLC and TO Rehabilitation Audit and Inspection on a well drilled in mid-2014, Manbulloo Station, March 2015. Oil and Gas Company Representatives, from left, Bill Harney, Neville Brown, Jessica Jones (NLC). Above, right: NLC staff and Traditional Owners inspecting a drill rig during a petroleum exploration audit.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

HYDRAULIC FRACTURING AND ONSHORE PETROLEUM EXPLORATION AND PRODUCTION IN THE NLC REGION

Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, is the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks to force open existing fissures and extract hydrocarbons (oil or gas). In the Northern Territory, the most common form of hydrocarbon resource is shale gas. Production of shale gas generally requires the application of horizontal drilling techniques combined with hydraulic fracturing. However, other drilling and resource extraction methods are also possible, depending on the nature of the geological structure being targeted (as shown in the figure above).

The Northern Territory Government is currently reviewing the regulatory framework governing the onshore petroleum industry in the Northern Territory. As an integral step to inform this review, on 26 February 2015 the Government released the findings of the Public Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory that commenced during the previous reporting year. This was followed by the publication of the ‘Onshore Oil and Gas Draft Guiding Principles’. Further initiatives under this regulatory review, including revised legislation and other supporting documents, are likely to be made available to the public over coming years. The NLC will continue to engage with this review and to provide advice where required to promote a safe, environmentally and socially responsible and profitable onshore petroleum industry.

Above: Cross-section showing typical geological structures that support hydrocarbon resources, also depicting the application of hydraulic fracturing combined with both horizontal and vertical drilling techniques.

0m

1000m

2000m

3000m

4000m

Over the course of this reporting period, the NLC represented the Traditional Owners and native title parties at various scientific and technical forums (listed below). It is worth noting that a number of Traditional Owners and native title parties (or their associations) also participated on these committees:

•

A

lligator Rivers Region Technical Committee (ARRTC)

•

A

lligator Rivers Region Advisory Committee (ARRAC)

•

R

anger, Jabiluka and Nabarlek Minesite Technical Committees (MTCs)

•

R

anger Uranium Mine - A Technical Working Group set up to implement findings of an Independent Surface Water Report (2012), which investigated specific aspects of surface water monitoring at the Ranger Uranium Mine

•

R

anger Uranium Mine- Proposed 3 Deeps Underground Mine

•

R

anger Uranium Mine - Ranger Taskforce Leach Tank Failure

•

R

um Jungle Liaison Committee and Working Group Committee (including Aboriginal representatives of the Liaison Committee)

•

W

oodcutters Mine Closure Liaison Committee

•

B

ootu Creek Manganese Mine Liaison Committee

•

R

edbank Mine Working Group.

During the 2014/2015 reporting year, the NLC provided Traditional Owners and native title parties with environmental advice, representation or presented formal submissions in response to publicly available documents in relation to the following proposed major developments and inquiries:

•

N

orthern Territory Public Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing - Addendum to the main submission to the Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing (submitted on 10th September 2014)

•

l

egacy environmental issues and remediation works at the former Redbank Mine Site

•

R

anger Uranium Mine

•

f

ormer Rum Jungle Uranium mine

•

f

ormer Woodcutters mine.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

The Northern Territory is believed to contain a large number of areas where gas and/or oil may exist in deep-seated ‘shale’ deposits. This has attracted the interest of many national and international petroleum companies. Several locations have already shown the presence of both oil and gas. New pipelines will be needed once production begins.

The NLC has concerns about the potential environmental risks and impacts associated with onshore petroleum exploration and production. These concerns relate to hydraulic fracturing activities and also broader issues including:

•

e

ffective regulation of the onshore petroleum industry in the Northern Territory

•

t

ransport and storage of chemicals and produced hydrocarbons

•

i

ntegrity and safety of petroleum wells to ensure the highest level of protection people and the environment, especially shared groundwater resources (aquifers)

•

h

abitat fragmentation, invasive species (weeds and pests), loss of biodiversity and other potential impacts on the natural environment

•

c

umulative and other potential impacts.

The NLC continues to liaise with Traditional Owners, government, industry representative groups, non-governmental organisations and other key stakeholders to strengthen oversight and achieve effective regulation of the onshore petroleum industry in the Northern Territory. The NLC will continue to engage with the onshore petroleum regulatory review and to meet with Traditional Owners, government, industry representative bodies and other key stakeholders in this process. The NLC is committed to continue consulting with and representing its core constituents by promoting efforts to safely and effectively regulate the onshore petroleum industry in the Northern Territory.

The NLC is committed to continue consulting with and representing its core constituents by promoting efforts to safely and effectively regulate the onshore petroleum industry in the Northern Territory.

FIGURE 12: MAP SHOWING THE KNOWN ONSHORE HYDROCARBON RESOURCE POTENTIAL OF THE NLC REGION

Populated place

Native Title

Aboriginal Land Trust

Demonstrated high potential

High potential, untested

Moderate to high potential

Moderate potential, untested

Low to moderate potential

Not considered prospective

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▲ Yarralin

Wadeye

Nauiyu

Minyerri

Ngukurr

Bauhinia Downs

Numbulwar

Timber Creek

Katherine

Darwin

Dunmarra

Elliott

Borroloola

Maningrida

Nhulunbury

Gapuwiyak Gan Gan

Bulman

Yarralin

Wadeye

Nauiyu

Minyerri

Ngukurr

Bauhinia Downs

Numbulwar

Timber Creek

Katherine

Darwin

Dunmarra

Elliott

Borroloola

Maningrida

Nhulunbuy

Gapuwiyak Gan Gan

Bulman

124 125

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

A key NLC objective is to represent the rights and interests of Aboriginal people in the Top End, whether they live in the bush or in major centres.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Over the last 12 months, the Regional Development Branch achieved the following:

•

o

rganised more than 100 section 19 land use and mining consultations that involved up to 3,000 Traditional Owners and affected Aboriginal groups

•

s

upported on-country consultations for native title and royalties

•

p

rocessed a high percentage of land access permits

•

a

ssisted the assessment of section 19 Land Use Expressions of Interest

•

a

ssisted the administration of funeral/burial applications

•

s

upported the logistics and running of Regional Council and Full Council meetings.

CHALLENGES

A large majority NLC staff in the Caring for Country branch are based in Darwin; however, a significant percentage of people that NLC represent live in the bush. A key challenge for NLC is to develop a regionalisation plan and strategy so it is in a position to shift resources and strengthen services to locations of high need.

Continuous investment in communication and information technology infrastructure and software upgrades is also critical to keeping our regional services up to date.

Important regional office service hubs like Katherine, Nhulunbuy and Jabiru will need to be carefully reviewed with a long term plan to address infrastructure, human resource and service delivery needs. NLC and Traditional Owners are keen to establish a permanent presence and office site in large Aboriginal communities like Wadeye, Maningrida and Galiwinku, which are also service hubs to outlying areas.

INDUSTRY CONFERENCES AND PROFESSIONAL TRAINING

The NLC continues to participate in conferences and forums associated with the minerals and energy sectors while addressing the development of resource-based proposals and infrastructure. The NLC aims to maintain a competitive edge by keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in the minerals and energy sectors and by investing in the professional development and training of staff. Participation at industry conferences and targeted training for staff are positive investments towards achieving the NLC’s strategic plan and other stated objectives.

Staff attended the following industry forums and training seminars to establish networks with project developers, government representatives and other stakeholders:

•

N

LC Staff Oil and Gas Workshop with the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and representatives from several petroleum companies

•

M

ining the Territory Conference

•

L

ife of Mine 2014 Conference.

Participation at these forums ensures that the NLC continues to develop an understanding of the resources industries, particularly those activities that relate to mine closure and remediation and onshore oil and gas exploration and production.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

The Minerals & Energy Branch continued to confront various challenges and opportunities during the reporting period, including:

•

D

ue to the branch being understaffed, resources had to be allocated among a number of competing projects in order to deliver effective consultations and to meet key objectives consistently throughout the year.

•

S

haring resources for better efficiency by combining multiple tenements/proponents to conduct consultations, where it was deemed suitable.

•

D

isputes within or between landholding groups resulted in additional on-country consultations to progress some tenement applications to a final decision.

•

We

ather conditions made it impossible to conduct on-country consultations during part of the Wet Season.

•

T

he Minerals & Energy Branch committed significant resources towards engaging with government, industry groups and other key stakeholders concerning the regulation of the onshore petroleum industry in the Northern Territory. The Branch also provided information and advice to council members, Traditional Owners and native title parties about this issue.

•

O

n-going issues related to environmental legacy, pollution and mine closure and rehabilitation at various current and former mine sites across the NLC region required on-going management by the branch.

126 127

PUBLIC ADVOCACY SERVICES

GOAL: Advocate on behalf of Aboriginal people to raise broader community awareness of the role and vision of the NLC.

A key NLC objective is to provide accurate, up to date information on issues affecting Aboriginal people throughout the NLC’s region.

PUBLIC AWARENESS AND EDUCATION

A core responsibility of the NLC is to increase public awareness of the work and policies of the NLC and promote the views of Aboriginal people in its region.

The NLC’s Media Unit has represented the organisation at various festivals, including GARMA, Barunga and NAIDOC events.

The NLC is planning a major upgrade of its website to give it a more modern look and make it more accessible.

The NLC gives Aboriginal people a voice and the tools - legal and anthropological expertise and negotiation skills - to make informed decisions about their land and their futures.

Opposite: Flag Raising at Yirrkala.

128 129

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

LAND RIGHTS NEWS northern edition “Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life” October 2014 / Edition 4 www.nlc.org.au

Land Rights under attack

Art that gets to the heart of the issue THE above artwork is the creation of Darwin artist Chips Mackinolty. Land Rights News publishes the work to highlight the issues raised by the contribution inside from linguist Murray Garde.

Mr Garde was engaged by the NLC to be a translator during consultations with Traditional Owners at Gunbalan-ya, who are struggling to grapple with

the complexities of an offer by the Commonwealth to lease their town-ship for 99 years. His assignment revealed serious deficiencies in the conduct of negotiations so far.

Chips Mackinolty’s work was exhib-ited at the Fremantle Art Centre Print Award. The following text accompa-nied the entry:

“We speak our mother’s tongue, as

the saying goes. The colonial project to rid Aboriginal languages from the Australian continent was at its most extreme in the forced removal of children from their mothers. Many old people remember being punished, including beatings, for using their mother’s tongue at school.

“Languages have thrived in some areas—but in many, not. Some have

remained strong, others are being revived. Many Aboriginal people tell of languages “sleeping”, waiting to be woken up.

“Minj ngarri-wokbawoyi kun-wok ngadberre is from Kunwok, a lan-guage group from western Arnhem Land.”

• Lost without translation: what the Bininj missed-P4, 5

ABORIGINAL land rights in the Northern Territory and Native Title rights across Northern Australia are under attack on several fronts, all in the name of promoting economic development, home ownership and employment.

After a meeting in Canberra of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on 10 October, NT Chief Minister Adam Giles announced that his government, with the Commonwealth and Queensland, would urgently investi-gate Indigenous land administration and land use, “to enable Traditional Owners to attract private sector investment and finance for development”.

“I firmly believe that the protracted and complicated processes for approving development projects on Aboriginal land are prohibiting Indigenous Territorians

from pulling themselves out of poverty through economic development,” Mr Giles said. “I am pleased that the Prime Minister

has agreed to work with the Northern Territory on ways to remove those bar-riers to the development of Aboriginal land.”

The announcement came in the wake of two official reports which attacked Aboriginal land tenure.

First, on 1 August, came the review of Indigenous training and employment programs, called “Creating Parity-the Forrest Review”.

Then, on 4 September, Federal Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Northern Australia tabled its final report, “Pivot North”.

The Forrest review was led by the West Australian billionaire miner,

Andrew Forrest. His commission by the Australian Government was to “hear breakthrough ideas that will end the disparity in employment for Indigenous Australians”.

“Seismic, not incremental, change is required and the time for action is now,” reported Mr Forrest and his team.

Their final chapter, “Empowering people in remote communities to end the disparity themselves,” is ominous reading. It represents rousing support for the Commonwealth’s plans for 99-year leases over Aboriginal communities (un-der section 19A of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act) and its plans to devolve the powers of land councils in the Northern Territory (under section 28A).

The report singles out the North-ern Land Council as an impediment to long-term leasing for private investment

and says the Commonwealth needs to consider how it will “ensure” that land councils “participate in and support the new arrangements”.

It identifies the ability to purchase and use available land for home ownership and business as “the key to prosperity, empowerment and financial independ -ence for first Australians and their fami -lies”. It talks about “unlocking...chroni-cally under-utilised” Indigenous lands to achieve “significant sustainable econom -ic advantages to first Australians”.

And it suggests that the Common-wealth should exercise the “significant leverage” it holds in the Northern Terri-tory, and favour spending on housing and infrastructure within those communities which agree to surrender control of their land under a Commonwealth lease.

• Continued Page 3

LAND RIGHTS NEWS northern edition “Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life” January 2015 - Edition 1 www.nlc.org.au

COAG Reviews Land Rights

WHEN the huge zinc-lead deposit at what’s now known as the McArthur River Mine was discovered 60 years ago, it was named HYC -- “Here’s Your Chance”.

Chance, in the sense of fortune or opportunity, has not come the way

of the four Aboriginal tribes in the Gulf country near Borroloola af-fected by the mine, since operations began in 1995.

They mounted yet another protest against environmental impacts of the mine in October last year, when

the Independent Monitor, appointed under NT Government legislation, reported adversely on the mine’s environmental performance.

Land Rights News devotes several pages of this issue (pages 11-15) to the sorry history of the development

and operation of the McArthur River Mine, and (pages 16-17) to the his-tory of dealings with local Aboriginal people by the mine’s successive own-ers, MIM, Xstrata and now Glencore, a Swiss-owned giant of the mining world.

Aboriginal imprisonment - Pages 8,9

INDIGENOUS Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has pointedly identi-fied the Northern Land Council as a target of an “urgent” investigation by the Council of Australian Gov-ernments (COAG) into Indigenous land administration and land use.

The investigation was announced in a communiqué at the end of the last COAG meeting in Canberra in Octo-ber last year: “…the Commonwealth, the Northern Territory and Queensland will urgently investigate Indigenous land administration and land use to enable traditional owners to readily

attract private sector investment and finance to develop their own land with new industries and businesses to pro-vide jobs and economic advancement for Indigenous people.”

The results of the investigation will be reported to the first COAG meeting of this year (a date has not yet been set).

The investigation will mean a review of the NT Aboriginal Land Rights Act and the Native Title Act.

“We’ve been tasked with having a review over the impediments to economic development in northern

Australia,” Mr Scullion told the ABC late last year. “As part of that we will look at all the legislation that has an issue.”

Three weeks before the 2013 federal election, Mr Scullion issued a joint news media statement with Tina MacFarlane, the CLP candidate for Lingiari: “The coalition has no plans to change, amend or review the Aboriginal Land Rights Act if we win Government.”

Of course, the Coalition did win Government, and Mr Scullion went on to win the Indigenous Affairs Ministry,

and a seat at the Cabinet table. NLC deputy chairman John Daly brandished the Scullion/MacFarlane media release during a news confer-ence at the NLC’s last Full Council meeting at South Alligator.

“Prior to him getting in as the Minister, this here says he wasn’t go-ing to do any review of anything like that without the consent of Traditional Owners and the Land Council,” Mr Daly told reporters.

“And this is just another broken promise of this government.”

Youth detention in crisis - Page 7

MRM: What a mess!

• Continued page 3 LAND RIGHTS NEWS

northern edition “Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life” April 2015 - Edition 2 www.nlc.org.au

Abbott’s “lifestyle” attacks

Upheaval for NLC ranger programs

Juvenile jailing: crisis confirmed

Tilmouth, Whitlam, Fraser: we remember

“RESIST!”: From a limited edition print by Chips Mackinolty

INFORMATION AND EDUCATION RESOURCES

The NLC produces a range of information and educational resources, and also produces Land Rights News - Northern Edition.

Land Rights News was first published in 1977 and is Australia’s longest-running Aboriginal newspaper. Four editions were produced during the reporting year - July and October 2014 and January and April 2015. Changes were made during late 2014 to achieve financial savings and to improve the look and presentation of the publication. Land Rights News is distributed free to Aboriginal communities across the NLC region.

MEDIA MANAGEMENT

The media unit deals with a large number of enquiries from local, national and international news media.

The arrival of Mr Joe Morrison as CEO has heightened the NLC’s public profile as Mr Morrison has made himself available for regular interviews across a wide range of news media outlets.

The NLC’s media unit also released several media statements covering a broad range of topics, which are posted on the NLC’s website.

Northern development and Northern Territory Government water allocation policies were also extensively covered in media releases and interviews. The decision in June 2014 to settle the Federal Court Muckaty case attracted widespread interest from national and international news media which flowed into the current reporting year.

Permission to film and photograph landscapes and interview members of local communities is considered by Traditional Owners and where these engagements are commercial in nature, a special agreement is negotiated. In 2016, the media unit is planning for the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

130 131

GOOD CORPORATE STANDARDS

GOAL: Operate in accordance with best practice and reporting standards and obligations.

DISTRIBUTION OF ROYALTIES

A key NLC objective is to manage the receipt and disbursement of royalty monies to Aboriginal people in a responsible and appropriate manner.

The NLC maintains a royalty trust account that receives monies on behalf of individuals and associations of Aboriginal people in accordance with section 35 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. The monies are disbursed in accordance with the terms of the Trust. The NLC makes distributions of rents, payments and royalties payable to Traditional Owners and royalty receiving associations and also administers the Ceremonial Purposes Fund.

Taking instructions and the distribution of royalties and payments is an intensive process. The primary responsibility for the co-ordination of meetings of Aboriginal landowners to determine distributions lies with regional office staff and anthropologists. The NLC also assists groups to resolve disputes over distributions.

OUTCOME

Under sections 15, 16 and 19 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, income of $15,499,000 was generated from Aboriginal land during 2014/2015.

Distributions have been made as per instructions from Traditional Owners in accordance with traditional decision making processes. A total of 8,674 royalty payments were made during the course of the financial year totalling $14,227,000.

TABLE 13: BREAKDOWN OF ROYALTY DISTRIBUTION PAYMENTS, 2014/2015

PAYMENTS $’000

Section 35(2) Statutory Royalties 10,954

Section 35(3) exploration and mining 14,227

Section 35(4) negotiated monies; rental and lease monies 14,395

Native title 1,633

TOTAL 41,209

Opposite: Yugul Mangi River Patrol.

Last financial year, we facilitated 109 new agreements and distributed $62 million dollars that derived from the many agreements struck on Aboriginal lands.

132 133

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

The NLC’s functions include (under s25 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act), a duty to ‘attempt the conciliation of disputes’:

Where a Land Council is informed that there is, or there may arise, a dispute with respect to land in the area of the Council between persons to whom this section applies, the Land Council shall use its best endeavours by way of conciliation for the settlement or prevention, as the case may be, of that dispute.

The NLC is also the arbiter for the identification of the Traditional Owners under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and consequently, in some cases the need arises for investigations of disputes, mediation and for formal findings by the NLC.

A successful conciliation was conducted by the NLC in March 2015 with respect to the dispute concerning payments from the RTA Gove Traditional Owners Agreement. Legal action was commenced in the Federal Court in 2014. A conciliation process was initiated by the NLC using the services of Mr Geoff Eames and the Hon. Fred Chaney. This resulted in the settlement of most issues concerning the allocation of payments among three Traditional Owner clan groups and a way forward to address a clan boundary dispute.

Above, left: NLC staff at Native Title meeting in Minyerri 2015.

ADMINISTERING ABORIGINAL LAND TRUSTS

A key NLC objective is to assist Aboriginal Land Trusts to act appropriately and in accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

Land Trusts are statutory bodies corporate that hold title to Aboriginal land under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act for the benefit of the Aboriginal people concerned, including Traditional Owners and Aboriginal persons who are entitled by tradition to use or occupy the land, whether or not that entitlement is qualified by place, time, circumstance, purpose or permission. Where land is granted in a deed of grant held in escrow by a Land Council, a Land Trust may acquire the estates and interests of other persons with a view of gaining the delivery of the title to the Land Trust. A Land Trust cannot exercise its functions in relation to land except in accordance with a direction given by the NLC.

Land Trusts usually comprise a Chairman and not fewer than three members who hold office for periods not exceeding five years. Land Trust members are usually Traditional Owners of the land held in trust.

The NLC assists Land Trusts in a number of ways including the secure storage of Deeds of Grant and Common Seals, administering and negotiating leases, receiving and distributing monies such as rents and royalty payments and the resolution and management of disputes.

OUTCOME

A total of 58 Aboriginal Land Trusts exist within the NLC’s jurisdiction. The memberships for five trusts expired during the reporting period; the memberships of nine other trusts were renewed.

MEDIATION AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION

A key NLC objective is to support Traditional Owners to manage and resolve disputes.

With its abundant natural resources, the northern region of the Northern Territory has always supported a large Traditional Owner population. Demand for coastal land and sea access, farming development, the uranium and mineral resources, mining, large township development and water resource exploitation all confront the Traditional Owner population. The social, economic and cultural gap can cause tension within and between groups.

In addition, issues arise with regard to traditional ownership. There may be boundary disputes between groups, or intra-group disputes regarding membership, or both.

134 135

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE APPROACH

A key NLC objective is to be accountable, transparent and open in all corporate dealings, and to operate with genuine integrity, leadership and commitment.

The enabling legislation of the NLC is the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. The responsible Minister for the 2014/2015 reporting period is Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion, Minister for Indigenous Affairs.

The performance of Directors is informally reviewed by their peers. NLC staff provide corporate governance support, advice and training, when required.

EXEMPTIONS GRANTED BY FINANCE MINISTER

No exemptions were granted by the Finance Minister in regard to reporting requirements in 2014/2015.

INSURANCE PREMIUMS FOR OFFICERS

No indemnity against liability has been given by agreement or other means to a current or former member of staff. Comcover provides general liability and professional indemnity insurance for NLC directors and officers and legal practitioners are covered by compulsory professional indemnity as required by the Northern Territory Law Society.

RISK MANAGEMENT AND ETHICS

NLC members are responsible for setting the policy and oversight of the risk management framework that integrates the process for managing risk into the organisations governance, strategic planning, management, reporting processes, policies, and organisational culture to comply with the Australian/New Zealand Risk Management Standard (AS/ANZ ISO 31000:2009).

The Leadership Group, including the Chief Executive Officer, is responsible for ensuring that management systems, processes and controls are in place to minimise risks and impacts to the organisation’s strategic objectives and desired operational outcomes.

The Audit Committee is responsible for monitoring financial risk, compliance and financial performance in conjunction with the Leadership Group. The risk management framework is an evolving document and will be updated along with the 2015-2019 Strategic Plan. The Audit Committee Charter sets out the role and purpose of the Audit Committee who also act as an advisory body on the operation and financial management controls and reporting responsibilities of the organisation, oversee internal and external audit functions, and provide independent and objective assurance that the systems, processes and risk management strategies of the NLC are robust and comply with acceptable standards and government requirements.

More than 63% of permit applications are processed within a 10-day timeframe.

LAND AND WATER ACCESS PERMITS

A key NLC objective is to ensure access to Aboriginal land is managed effectively and efficiently.

The Aboriginal Land Rights Act made Aboriginal land private land, and regulated the entry of persons without estates or interests in the land or traditional rights in the land. Amendments to the Act that took effect in 2008 removed the need for certain people to obtain permits in certain circumstances, such as anyone in ‘common areas’ within ‘community land’.

Community land refers to the five-year lease boundaries drawn around each of the communities prescribed in the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER). Permits are no longer required for anyone entering communities by aircraft or boat so long as the landing place (for example airstrip or boat ramp) is not part of a private lease and so long as there are roads that provide access from the landing place to the community common areas. The Northern Territory Police have the power to fine and remove people in violation of permit requirements. No prosecutions may take place without the authorisation of the NLC.

In addition to opening specified areas to the public, without Traditional Owner consent, the new legislation allows specific government employees to enter and remain on Aboriginal land. These changes did not lapse at the conclusion of the five year NTER period. This statutory protection from prosecution should not be confused with a right to enter and remain on Aboriginal land without a permit - work permits should still be sought in all circumstances.

The NLC has proposed that the permit system be reinstated, while ensuring that government agents and journalists working in a professional capacity - for example, in order to attend court sessions - can enter Aboriginal land without a permit. Government employees and contractors engaged in extracurricular activities without a permit, such as hunting or motor biking, may still be prosecuted. The NLC encourages all members of the public to obtain permits, as movement records can be useful in the event of an emergency, or notification of road closures.

ACHIEVEMENTS

The NLC continues to provide information about permit requirements and efficiently processes applications. Permits are available for collection from regional offices and special arrangements can be made if permits can’t be collected in person. In terms of the Blue Mud Bay decision, it is encouraging that individuals continue to apply on-line for permits which are issued automatically. Separate access consultations continue to focus on high recreation and commercial fishing areas of intertidal zone adjoining Aboriginal Land Trusts.

OUTCOME

The NLC has invested a significant amount of work to gain approvals from relevant Traditional Owners or permit delegates across all regions. Work-related permits are dealt with as a priority and an increased number of government, contractors and other agencies wishing to access Aboriginal land are applying for permits.

More than 63% of permit applications are processed within a 10-day timeframe. Complex research and media applications may require legal and anthropological input, and take longer. A new permit information management system has been developed internally, progressively trialled and is scheduled to be operational by late 2015.

136 137

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

CONSULTANTS - ABORIGINAL Lenore Dembski Paperbark Woman Bradshaw & Timber Creek Contracting & Resource Co.

$ 5

41.23

$ 7,

920.00

$ 8

,461.23

CONSULTANTS - ANTHROPOLOGISTS Anthropos Consulting Bennetts Anthropological Consultancies Delphine D. Morris Dr Mary Laughren Dr Philip Clarke Ellengowan Enterprises Frank McKeown - McKeown Ygoa & Associates Pty Ltd Gay English Consulting Ian White Jeffrey Stead Anthropological Consultant Jitendra Kumarage John Dymock Mick Reynolds Walter Zukowski

$ 6

4,005.74

$ 8

8,989.77

$ 2

8,078.26

$ 5

00.00

$ 2

0,631.38

$ 15

,318.00

$ 2

6,401.99

$ 8

9,518.18

$ 3

,800.00

$ 1

2,518.18

$ 2

0,000.00

$ 5

0,000.00

$ 66

,589.18

$ 3

7,323.20

$ 5

23,673.88

CONSULTANTS - OTHER Abs Scrofa (Australi) Pty Ltd Fire Stick And Associates Pty Ltd Ganamarr Consultants Pty Ltd Grant Sarra Consultancy Services Hds Technical Management and Consulting Pty Ltd Meltwater Australia Pty Ltd Mike Longton Nick Gambold Opus International Consultants (Aus) Pty Ltd NT Ots Management Pty Ltd Savanna Solutions Pty Ltd Savvy Community Devt Consult

$ 9,

090.91

$ 1

6,955.43

$ 9

,000.00

$ 7

1,541.88

$ 3

2,750.00

$ 1

5,300.00

$

3

5,544.00

$ 2

,960.00

$ 1

69,366.23

$ 4

4,270.77

$ 4

,825.00

$ 7

,500.00

$ 4

19,104.22

TOTAL $ 1

,644,688.35

During 2014/2015, the Audit Committee was independently chaired by Mr Jon Webster, and attended by Ms Suzanne Archbold, John Christophersen (West Arnhem region Executive Council member) and Helen Lee (Katherine region Executive Council member).

The General Manager Corporate Compliance of the NLC attends Audit Committee meetings, but is not a member of the committee. Mr Matthew Kennon of Merit Partners also has a standing invitation to attend meetings on behalf of the Australian National Audit Office.

The NLC’s Code of Conduct Policy and Council Member’s Handbook outlines ethical behavior standards at both personal and professional levels expected within the workplace. The NLC workplaces include an office environment and/or remote field environments. Each staff member is made aware of and has access to the Staff Code of Conduct on commencement, via the intranet and during reviews. Similarly, the Full Council members receive an induction and copy of the handbook, as well as a clear understanding of appropriate and acceptable behaviour.

RELATED ENTITY TRANSACTIONS

There were no payments for a good or service from another entity, or grants provided to another entity during the period. There were no loans or grants made to directors or director-related entities.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

NLC is exempt from reporting under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

CONSULTANT PROCEDURES, COMPETITIVE TENDERING AND CONTRACT MANAGEMENT

The procurement policy is consistent with the Commonwealth procurement principles.

During the reporting period, the NLC engaged the following list of consultants to do work in relation to the Council’s functions and exercise of powers under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, as required under s.37(8).

TABLE 14: CONSULTANT EXPENDITURE, 2014/2015

CONSULTANTS - LEGAL Appleby Consulting Camatta Lempens Pty Ltd Lawyers Eames Geoffrey Micheal Endeavour Consulting Group Foley’s List Pty Ltd Fred Chaney Garde, Murray Glacken, Sturt Glenn Miller Property Consultants Graeme Hill Jamie Dalziel Justin Edwards Keely T.P. Kim Barber Megan Eliza Brayne Sean Bowden Sue Meaghan Tallagandra Rural Consulting Pty Ltd

$ 1

6,657.04

$ 5

9,449.28

$ 4

7,500.00

$ 6

4,144.93

$ 1

,945.45

$ 3

3,000.00

$

2

,075.00

$ 2

72,147.65

$ 3

9,617.92

$ 5

7,636.36

$ 2

6,682.51

$ 4

,930.91

$ 2

1,636.37

$ 1

0,000.00

$ 1

0,345.60

$ 1

5,000.00

$ 9

,580.00

$ 1

,100.00

$ 6

93,449.02

138 139

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

INFORMATION MANAGEMENT

In consultation with the NLC, the National Archives of Australia (NAA) developed a Records Authority 2010/00643150 which sets out the requirements for managing records. This has required a significant commitment on NLC’s behalf to manage records of its activities. The Authority is based on the identification and analysis of NLC’s business by taking into account the legal and organisational records, management requirements and the interests of stakeholders and NAA.

The Authority also identifies those records that must be retained at NAA and specifies the minimum length of time that temporary records need to be kept. Under the Archives Act (Cth) 1983 the Authority permits the destruction of temporary records after the retention period has expired.

Policy Statement: Preserving the Past - Protecting the Present - Planning for the Future

In accordance with the policy, all information, both electronic and hard copy records provide evidence of NLC’s business activities and transactions. True and accurate records are vital to the achievement of objectives, legal process and the corporate and cultural history of the organisation. NLC information management practices must comply with all relevant legislation, standards, Commonwealth Government policies and guidelines and the Commonwealth Protection Security Manual. No officer employed by NLC has the right to destroy records unless it is in accordance with the Archive Act, which means an Authority to Destroy processed through the Information Management Unit and approved by the Chief Executive Officer or delegate.

Annual reviews of information management are required and reported to the NAA and this year we achieved a compliance rating of 3.28, a slight reduction from the previous year.

The main focus for the year was to convert data from old media formats (ie VHS, films, audio, photos, slides and negatives) to digital format for long-term preservation.

ACHIEVEMENTS

As indicated previously, this year, the NLC achieved an average compliance rating of 3.28 (out of a possible score of 5). The organisation received an overall ranking of 42nd across 166 Commonwealth agencies.

INFORMATION COMMUNICATION AND TECHNOLOGY

The Information Communication and Technology section has continued to deliver a high standard of service in despite high workloads and a limited budget.

Key IT projects during 2014/2015 included upgrading the Mail Server, from Exchange 2003 to 2012; critical servers were upgraded from either windows 2003 or windows 2008 to windows 2012; and a single point helpdesk was created through the deployment of Helpdesk software.

SUMMARY OF CONSULTANT EXPENDITURE

The following table and figure provides a summary of expenditure on consultants and contractors over the past four years.

TABLE 15: CONSULTANTS AND CONTRACTORS - SUMMARY, 2011-2015

CONSULTANTS AND CONTRACTORS

2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014 2014/2015

NO. VALUE

($000)

NO. VALUE

($000)

NO. VALUE

($000)

NO. VALUE

($000)

Aboriginal - - 3 8 3 15 2 8

Anthropology 27 877 28 729 22 864 14 524

Legal 17 692 15 809 11 769 18 693

Other 31 955 26 733 18 252 12 419

TOTAL 75 2,523 72 2,279 54 1,901 46 1,645

ADVERTISING AND MARKET RESEARCH

The NLC advertised during normal recruitment campaigns, released a number of media releases and published the Land Rights Newspaper. NLC members attended the Garma, NAIDOC and Barunga festivals to promote community awareness of its role and achievements. No market research, polling or direct mail activities were undertaken this financial year.

ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE

The key principles of ecologically sustainable development are considered in the key objectives of NLC’s Corporate and Strategic Plans and are addressed throughout consultations and negotiations of land use proposals. In particular, the economic, environmental, cultural and political impacts are considered during all decision making processes at both Traditional Owner and Full Council levels. This includes the precautionary principle, and monitoring and compliance of environmental impacts of exploration and mining on the natural and cultural resources.

The NLC leases the premises it occupies, therefore there are limitations in terms of influencing environmental management saving initiatives such as grey water recycling systems and alternative energy systems. However, practices to reduce waste management issues, increase recycling, and conserve energy through efficiencies of lighting, electrical appliances and refrigeration are always considered and where appropriate have been implemented.

Community based land management rangers are at the forefront of reducing the carbon footprint through on-ground savannah fire management systems including the sustainable use of wildlife resources, evasive species management and maintaining and conserving biodiversity. Some of those activities are described in the land and sea management section of this report.

140 141

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

FLEET AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

The NLC maintains a fleet of more than 100 vehicles including a range of four wheel drives, sedans, trailers and buses. The ranger program requires specialised vehicles like quad bikes and boats. The entire fleet is maintained to roadworthy and safe standards. The fleet is funded from several sources including ABA, native title or grant funding. All 4WD fleet vehicles are appropriately fitted out to operate both locally and remotely and in harsh environments.

The NLC occupies a number of remote offices and other property including ranger outposts that require maintenance.

COMMITTEES

No new committees were appointed in accordance with section 29A of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. The current 29A committees are the Executive Council and the Regional Councils.

AUDIT COMMITTEE

The NLC has an Audit Committee in compliance with section 45 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and PGPA Rule section 17 Audit Committee for Commonwealth Entities.

The Audit Committee plays a key role in assisting the Council in respect of financial reporting, performance reporting, risk oversight and management, internal control and compliance with relevant laws and policies.

The functions of the audit committee include assisting the Council, management and the Accountable Authority to comply with obligations under the PGPA Act, providing a forum for communication between the Council, leadership group and external auditors.

TABLE 17: AUDIT COMMITTEE ATTENDANCE

NAME MEETINGS HELD MEETINGS ATTENDED

Jon Webster (independent Chair from 24/04/15)

2 2

Suzanne Archbold (independent Chair to 24/04/15

6 4

John Christopherson 6 5

Helen Lee 6 6

TABLE 16: NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ICT KEY PROJECTS 2014/2015

PROJECT PURPOSE

Installation of new servers for Regional Offices Replacement of obsolete server hardware with new hardware. Domain controller server hardware for NLC Darwin, Palmerston, Jabiru, Katherine

and Nhulunbuy Server

Upgrade Domain Controller Server from 2003 to Windows 2012

Upgrade domain controller Server’s Operating system from version 2003 to Windows 2012 for following sites: •

T

wo domains controller for Darwin •

K

atherine •

N

hulunbuy •

J

abiru

•

P

almerston

DHCP Server Setup new DHCP server to lease IP address to desktop computers

DNS Server Setup new Domain Name Server. For computer/network devices name resolution across network

Active Directory migration Migrate active directory database from Windows 2003 to Windows 2012 domain

Certificate Server Setup new internal certificate server to increase security on the network

WSUS Server upgrade Setup new Windows update server to schedule deployment of security and patches to all servers and desktop clients automatically when Microsoft releases their updates

VMWare upgrade Upgrade V center & 3 ESX Hosts to 5.5 version

Printer Queue Install 64 bit printer drivers and setup new queues on windows 2008 Server. Staff automatically mapped to their departmental printer though the setup from Group Policy

Microsoft Exchange Server upgrade

Upgrade email Server from 2003 to Exchange 2013 Server

Desktop OS upgrade Upgrade all desktop/laptop from various versions of Microsoft Windows to Windows 7 OS

HR System (Attache) Server upgrade

Install Windows 2012 Server and migrate attache database to new Server. Update attache drive mapping for user in through Group Policy

Accpac Server upgrade Upgrade Accpac to Sage 300 and perform database migration

Backup Software upgrade Upgrade to Data Protector backup Software to version 8

Implement Online PO Implement online PO - Stage 1 and provide user training

Development of new Permit database Migrate Permit data to the new system. Testing and decommission old Permit Server

Deployment of Helpdesk System Create a single point of helpdesk through the deployment of Helpdesk software

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS

Internal governance

Audit Committee Jon Webster (Non-Executive Member) - Chair commenced 24 April 2015 Suzanne Archbold (Non-Executive Member) - Interim Chair to 24 April 2015 John Christophersen (Executive Member) Nominated Nov 2013 Helen Lee (Executive Member) Nominated Nov 2013

Enterprise Agreement Committee July 2014

Management Joe Morrison Steven Lawrence Cindy Hoban

CPSU and Staff Tamara Cole Garrett Smith (resigned) Kirsty Howey Rebecca Sirilas Joy Cardona Adam Thompson

External governance

Aboriginals Benefit Account Advisory Committee Membership during the year was as follows: East Arnhem

D

jawa Yunupingu

Ngukurr

G

race Daniels

Darwin-Daly-Wagait J

ames Sing

Borroloola Barkly

K

eith Rory

West Arnhem

W

ayne Wauchope

Victoria River Downs

E

laine Watts

Katherine

L

isa Mumbin

DELEGATIONS

At its 110th meeting at Barunga, the Full Council resolved that the 1996 delegations to the Executive Council be varied as follows:

1.

T

he Executive shall have the power to direct a Land Trust to grant, transfer or surrender any estate or interest in land or any licence in respect of land under Section 19 of the Act where the proposed grant or other transaction is for a term not exceeding forty (40) years without regard to the amount of any payment or receipt and whether or not the transaction requires the consent of the Minister.

2.

T

he Executive Council shall have the following powers: (i)

T

o consent to the grant of exploration licences under section 40 & 42(1)(a) of the Act and to enter into an agreement under section 40; (ii)

T

o agree upon terms and conditions under subsection 46(3); and (iii)

T

o enter into mining agreements under section 45(a).

WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEE

The WHS committee has eight members including the WHS co-ordinator and WHS officer who were seconded to the committee. The committee is active and meets regularly.

The role and responsibilities of the committee are articulated in the Work Health Safety Act 2011 and the current committee is operating effectively under the legislative guidelines contained in the Act. The committee has been engaged with the introduction of new policies and procedures required under statutory obligations. The committee has provided timely advice to the CEO on WHS matters and is focused on improving the safety standards for all NLC employees to ensure a safe workplace and to be compliant under the legislation.

A recent Comcare Safety Audit confirmed that the committee was operating effectively.

Work Health and Safety Committee members: Steven Lawrence (Chair) Greg McDonald Kirsty Kassman Jeffrey Yoelu Brooke Watson - resigned June 2015 Cindy Hoban Ian Amy Hidayat Nurslanis

ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT COMMITTEE

The NLC Enterprise Agreement 2011 expired on 1 July 2013 and negotiations between employee representatives, Community and Public Sector Union and NLC Management commenced on 18 June 2013. The NLC was in caretaker mode, with an acting CEO, to February 2014 which stalled progress on the Agreement.

NLC salaries are substantially lower in comparison to organisations such as the Central Land Council, Northern Territory Public Service and the Australian Public Service for similar classifications.

As at April 2015, the Enterprise Agreement document was in its final draft, but due to advice from the Minister, the process was put on hold.

144 145

Land use planning, agreement-making and development of an Indigenous prospectus for investment in northern Indigenous lands to articulate the kinds of development Indigenous people want should be the primary focus.

DEVELOPMENT PROSPECTUS

The NLC is producing a prospectus to articulate how and where development opportunities can be realised on Aboriginal-owned land within its region. The prospectus will provide guidance for how Traditional Owners and communities wanting to develop Aboriginal owned lands and waters would like that to proceed.

This ambitious approach would consider economic, social and cultural development as equal objectives to drive a new paradigm for development in northern Australia. The prospectus would encourage partnerships with business, industry and ethical investors to ensure that free, prior and informed consent will enhance Aboriginal and indeed the nation’s prosperity.

The NLC’s proposal has been met with enthusiasm by the Commonwealth Indigenous Affairs Minister, the Northern Territory Chief Minister and NLC council members.

PART IV: THE YEAR AHEAD - KEY INITIATIVES AND PROJECTS

Opposite: Garngi Rangers visit Mamaruni School on Croker Island, 2015.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2014/2015

NATIVE TITLE MATTERS

The NLC will continue consultations with Traditional Owners about two huge development proposals in the far-west of its region - Ord Stage 3A and Legune Station - both of which are controversial due to the extensive networks of sacred sites and dreaming tracks within the landscapes.

ORD STAGE 3A

Ord Stage 3A, if approved, will extend the Ord River irrigation scheme across the Western Australia border into the Northern Territory. The Northern Territory Government is seeking to extinguish native title over 4000 hectares on the Knox Plain, within the Spirit Hills pastoral lease. Within that area, 1800 hectares are earmarked for irrigation; the rest of the land, which includes sacred sites, is proposed as a buffer zone.

LEGUNE STATION

Further north, on Legune Station, Traditional Owners will be asked to consider a proposal by the Seafarms Group for a huge prawn aquaculture development called Project Sea Dragon.

Seafarms has done a pre-feasibility study for a feed mill, hatchery and breeding centres, processing plant, and growing ponds which would ultimately cover up to 10,000 hectares.

CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION

NLC Full Council members will continue to track progress towards a referendum on the recognition of Indigenous peoples in the Australian Constitution.

Full Council meetings have been briefed on the proposal, including a visit from ‘Recognise’ .

The NLC is well-placed to help the organisation of Indigenous peoples’ conventions within its region to consider referendum options.

Above, top: Traditional Owners Gerard Meeyai (left) and Teddy Carlton at a sacred site in the proposed Ord 3A buffer zone, near the WA border. Above, below: NLC anthropologist Chris Brown (left) at native title discussions about Ord Stage 3A irrigation scheme with Traditonal Owners (from left) Laurie Roberts, Teddy Carlton, Gerard Meeyai and Ronnie Carlton.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

The Commonwealth Government has given financial support for the NLC to scope the establishment of a Community Development Unit. This approach could potentially invest royalty and other monies back into communities, to secure opportunities for Aboriginal people. It would maximise opportunities for Aboriginal engagement, ownership and control of their own resources, in order to generate social, cultural and economic benefits.

KENBI LAND CLAIM

The NLC will continue to press for an early settlement of the Kenbi land claim, lodged in 1979 and finally upheld by the Land Commissioner, the Hon. Justice Peter Gray in December 2000.

The Commonwealth Parliament has accepted the recommendation of its Public works Committee to approve the expenditure of more than $31 million to remediate contaminated sites within the claim area.

The NLC is pleased that the committee noted the opportunities for Aboriginal participation and employment arising from the remediation works, and will press the Department of Finance, which has carriage of the project, to make a range of positions available to local Aboriginal people.

The NLC will also continue to urge the Department of Finance to enable the claim to be settled before the remediation works are completed. The NLC, in a submission to the Public Works Committee, said it wants the Commonwealth to transfer the land as soon as possible to the Kenbi Land Trust. The Trust would then be able to grant a lease back to the Commonwealth over those areas of land which need remediation.

NLC TO HOST NATIONAL NATIVE TITLE CONFERENCE

The NLC has accepted an invitation to co-convene, with the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Islander Studies (AIATSIS), the 2016 Native Title conference in Darwin. The 2015 conference was held in Pt Douglas, and attracted around 900 attendees.

The NLC and AIATSIS will consult Larrakia Traditonal Owners about planning and logistics, and the development of the conference program. 2016 will mark the 40th anniversary of the passing of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, and the 50th anniversary of the Wave Hill walk-off.

It’s expected that the conference will be held in the first week of June.

… as we approach its 40th anniversary, it remains a beautiful thing - a beacon that marks the high point of recognising dispossession, of customary ownership and enduring practice of an ancient culture rooted in the land and waters of the Northern Territory.

148 149

PART V: 2014/2015 FINANCIAL REPORT

Opposite: Artist: Thompson Yulidjirri; Title: dji Djang.

© estate of the artist licensed by Aboriginal Artists Agency Ltd. (NLC Darwin Office)

NLC ANNUAL FINANCIAL STATEMENT

FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

CONTENTS

STATEMENT BY THE DIRECTORS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND GENERAL MANAGER CORPORATE COMPLIANCE 1

52

STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME

1

53

STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION

1

54

STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN EQUITY

1

55

CASH FLOW STATEMENT

1

56

SCHEDULE OF COMMITMENTS

1

57

NOTE 1: S ummary of significant accounting policies 15 8

NOTE 2:

E

vents after the reporting period

16

8

NOTE 3:

E

xpenses 16

8

NOTE 4:

O

wn Source Income

17

0

NOTE 5:

I

ncome tax expense (competitive neutrality)

17

1

NOTE 6:

F

air value measurements

17

2

NOTE 7:

F

inancial assets

17

4

NOTE 8:

N

on-financial assets

17

6

NOTE 9:

P

ayables 17

9

NOTE 10:

P

rovisions 18

0

NOTE 11:

C

ash flow reconciliation

18

0

NOTE 12:

C

ontingent assets and liabilities

18

1

NOTE 13:

R

elated party disclosures

18

1

NOTE 14: S

enior management personnel remuneration 18

2

NOTE 15:

R

emuneration of auditors

18

2

NOTE 16:

F

inancial instruments

18

3

NOTE 17:

R

oyalty assets held in trust account

18

5

NOTE 18A:

A

boriginal Beneifit Account appropriations

18

8

NOTE 18B:

A

BA - Special purpose grant: funeral and ceremonial activities

18

9

NOTE 18C:

A

BA - Top End Land and Sea Management Program - S64 (4)

19

0

152 153

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30 JUNE 2015

NET COST OF SERVICES

NOTES

2015 $’000

2014 $’000

EXPENSES

Employee benefits 3A 18,233 20,851

Suppliers 3B 14,528 17,408

Depreciation 3C 893 680

Write-down and impairment of assets 3D 882 434

Loss on disposal of assets 3E 125 -

Other expenses 3F 440 4,287

Total expenses 35,101 43,660

OWN-SOURCE INCOME

Own-source revenue

Sale of goods and rendering of services 4A 5,137 4,393

Interest 4B 114 163

Total own-source revenue 5,251 4,556

Gains

Gain from sale of assets 4C - 310

Reversals of previous asset write-downs and impairments 4D - 410

Total gains - 720

Total own-source income 5,251 5,276

Net cost of services 29,850 38,384

Revenue from Government - DPMC 4E 8,073 4,999

Revenue from ABA S64 (1) 4F 18,768 17,569

Revenue from Government - Special Purpose Grant 4G 9,111 9,025

Total revenue from Government 35,952 31,593

Surplus/(deficit) before income tax on continuing operations

Income tax expense - -

Surplus/(deficit) after income tax on continuing operations 6,102 (6,791)

Surplus/(deficit) attributable to the Commonwealth Government 6,102 (6,791)

OTHER COMPREHENSIVE INCOME

Items not subject to subsequent reclassification to net cost of services - -

Change in asset revaluation surplus - 1,929

Total other comprehensive income - 1,929

Total comprehensive income/(loss) attributable to the Commonwealth Government

6,102 (4,862)

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

STATEMENT BY THE ACCOUNTABLE AUTHORITIES AND GENERAL MANAGER CORPORATE COMPLIANCE

In our opinion, the attached financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2015 comply with subsection 42(2) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), and are based on properly maintained financial records as per subsection 41(2) of the PGPA Act.

In our opinion, at the date of this statement, there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Northern Land Council will be able to pay its debts as and when they fall due.

This statement is made in accordance with a resolution of the directors.

Signed: Si

gned:

Samuel Bush-Blanasi

J

oe Morrison

C

HAIRMAN

C

HIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

ACCOUNTABLE AUTHORITY

A

CCOUNTABLE AUTHORITY

S

igned:

S

teven Lawrence

A

CTING GENERAL MANAGER CORPORATE COMPLIANCE

05 October 2015

154 155

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN EQUITY FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30 JUNE 2015

RETAINED EARNINGS

ASSET REVALUATION

TOTAL EQUITY

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

2015 $’000

2014 $’000

2015 $’000

2014 $’000

Opening balance

Balance carried forward from previous period 1,302 8,093 1,973 44 3,275 8,137

Adjusted opening balance 1,302 8,093 1,973 44 3,275 8,137

Comprehensive income

Other comprehensive income - - - 1,929 - 1,929

Surplus (deficit) for the period 6,102 (6,791) - - 6,102 (6,791)

Total comprehensive income 6,102 (6,791) - 1,929 6,102 (4,862)

Closing balance attributable to the Commonwealth Government

7,404 1,302 1,973 1,973 9,377 3,275

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION AS AT 30 JUNE 2015

NOTES

2015 $’000

2014 $’000

ASSETS

Financial assets

Cash and cash equivalents 7A 6,588 2,545

Trade and other receivables 7B 676 1,547

Total financial assets 7,264 4,092

Non-financial assets

Land and buildings 8A 4,269 3,417

Property, plant and equipment 8B 3,396 3,694

Other non-financial assets 8D 82 92

Total non-financial assets 7,747 7,203

Total assets 15,011 11,295

LIABILITIES

Payables

Suppliers 9A 1,868 2,997

Other payables 9B 733 1,161

Total payables 2,601 4,158

Provisions

Employee provisions 10 3,033 3,862

Total provisions 3,033 3,862

Total liabilities 5,634 8,020

Net assets 9,377 3,275

EQUITY

Asset revaluation reserves 1,973 1,973

Retained surplus 7,404 1,302

Total equity 9,377 3,275

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

156 157

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

SCHEDULE OF COMMITMENTS AS AT 30 JUNE 2015

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

BY TYPE

Commitments receivable

Net GST recoverable on commitments (351) (476)

Total commitments receivable (351) (476)

Other commitments

Operating leases1 3,776 4,904

Operational commitments 97 337

Total other commitments 3,873 5,241

Net commitments by type 3,522 4,765

BY MATURITY

Commitments receivable

Operating lease income

Within 1 year (170) (201)

Between 1 to 5 years (157) (242)

More than 5 years (24) (33)

Total operating lease income (351) (477)

Commitments payable

Operating lease commitments

Within 1 year 1,779 1,879

Between 1 to 5 years 1,731 2,664

More than 5 years 266 361

Total operating lease commitments 3,776 4,904

Operational commitments

One year or less 97 337

Total operational commitments 97 337

Total commitments payable 3,873 5,241

Net commitments by maturity 3,522 4,765

Note: Commitments are GST inclusive where relevant.

T

he nature of operating leases relates to the leases for office accommodation and office equipment.

1.

L

ease payments are subject to annual increases in accordance with upwards movements in the Consumer Price Index. The initial periods of office accommodation leases are still current and each may be renewed for up to ten years at the Northern Land Council’s option, following a once-off adjustment of rentals to current market levels.

O

perational Commitments are various goods & services ordered and not yet received.

The above schedule should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

CASH FLOW STATEMENT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30 JUNE 2015

NOTES

2015 $’000

2014 $’000

OPERATING ACTIVITIES

Cash received

Sales of goods and rendering of services 5,559 5,397

Receipts from Government 37,639 36,883

Interest 114 163

Total cash received 43,312 42,443

Cash used

Employees (19,185) (20,384)

Suppliers (17,547) (19,031)

Distribution of old S64(1) funding (440) (4,287)

Net GST paid (524) 508

Total cash used (37,696) (43,194)

Net cash from/(used by) operating activities 11 5,616 (751)

INVESTING ACTIVITIES

Cash received

Proceeds from sales of property, plant and equipment 247 377

Total cash received 247 377

Cash used

Purchase of property, plant and equipment (1,820) (1,658)

Total cash used (1,820) (1,658)

Net cash from/(used by) investing activities (1,573) (1,281)

Net increase/(decrease) in cash held 4,043 (2,032)

Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the reporting period 2,545 4,577

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the reporting period 11 6,588 2,545

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

Outcome 10: S upporting Aboriginal people to maintain and protect their sacred sites and cultural heritage.

Outcome 11:

H

elp Aboriginal people achieve their development potential by facilitating access to leadership and governance programs, resources, infrastructure and government services.

Outcome 12:

R

eceive and distribute statutory and other payments for Aboriginal people.

Outcome 13:

A

ssist Land Trusts to act appropriately and in accordance with the ALRA.

Outcome 14:

S

upport Traditional Owners to manage and resolve disputes.

The funding conditions of the Northern Land Council are laid down by the ALRA, and any special purpose grant guidelines. Accounting for monies received from the ABA is subject to conditions approved by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs.

The continued existence of the Northern Land Council in its present form with its present programs is dependent on Government policy and on continuing funding by Parliament for the Northern Land Council’s administration and programs.

1.2 B ASIS OF PREPARATION OF THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

The financial statements are general purpose financial statements and are required by section 42 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.

The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with:

a)

F

inancial Reporting Rule (FRR) for reporting periods ending on or after 1 July 2014; and

b)

A

ustralian Accounting Standards and Interpretations issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) that apply for the reporting period.

T

he financial statements have been prepared on an accrual basis and in accordance with the historical cost convention, except for certain assets and liabilities at fair value. Except where stated, no allowance is made for the effect of changing prices on the results or the financial position.

The financial statements are presented in Australian dollars and all values are rounded to the nearest thousand dollars unless otherwise specified.

Unless an alternative treatment is specifically required by an accounting standard or the FRR, assets and liabilities are recognised in the statement of financial position when and only when it is probable that future economic benefits will flow to the NLC or a future sacrifice of economic benefits will be required and the amounts of the assets or liabilities can be reliably measured. However, assets and liabilities arising under executory contracts are not recognised unless required by an accounting standard. Liabilities and assets that are unrecognised are reported in the schedule of commitments or contingencies note.

Unless alternative treatment is specifically required by an accounting standard, income and expenses are recognised in the statement of comprehensive income when, and only when, the flow, consumption or loss of economic benefits has occurred and can be reliably measured.

NOTE 1: SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES

1.1 O BJECTIVES OF THE NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL

The Northern Land Council is an Commonwealth Government controlled entity. It is a not-for-profit entity. The objectives of the Northern Land Council are to:

•

A

dvocate, protect and acquire Aboriginal property rights and interest in our traditional lands, water and seas through land claims and the native title process.

•

E

nsure the sustainable use and management of natural and cultural resources on Aboriginal lands.

•

P

rotect Aboriginal sacred sites, places and object of significant cultural heritage.

•

S

upport Aboriginal people to maintain sustainable communities, outstations and healthy lives.

•

F

acilitate economic opportunities that lead to viable and sustainable regional commercial activities and development in the regions.

•

A

dvocate on behalf of Aboriginal people to raise broader community awareness of the role and vision of the NLC.

•

O

perate in accordance with best practice and reporting standards and obligations.

The Northern Land Council is a statutory authority formed within the provision of Section 21 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (ALRA). The Northern Land Council receives appropriations from the Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) pursuant to ministerially approved estimates prepared in accordance with Section 34 of the Act and made available under Section 64 of the Act.

The Northern Land Council is structured to meet the following outcomes:

Outcome 1:

A

ccess to Aboriginal Land is managed effectively and efficiently.

Outcome 2:

T

raditional Owners are assisted to manage their land, sea and natural resources in a sustainable manner.

Outcome 3:

T

o assist Aboriginal people to obtain or acquire property rights over their traditional land and seas.

Outcome 4:

T

o secure economic, social and cultural benefits for traditional owners from developments taking place on Aboriginal land.

Outcome 5:

D

evelop employment and training plans in partnership with industry and government stakeholders, and facilitate the implementation of these plans.

Outcome 6:

E

fficiently process exploration and mining license applications and provide accurate advice on potential environmental impacts and benefits.

Outcome 7: E

mpower Aboriginal people to carry out commercial activities and build sustainable enterprises.

Outcome 8:

A

dvocate on behalf of Aboriginal people and express their views.

Outcome 9:

R

aise public awareness of the NLC’s work and the views of Aboriginal people.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

AASB 2013-3 Amendments to AASB 136 - Recoverable Amount Disclosures for Non-Financial Assets

The amendments to AASB 136 Impairment of Assets address the disclosure of information about the recoverable amount of impaired assets if that amount is based on fair value less costs of disposal. The standard does not impact the financial statements.

AASB 2014-1 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards (Part A - Annual Improvements 2010-2012 and 2011-2013 Cycles)

Part A of the standard makes amendments to various Australian Accounting Standards (AASB 2, 3, 8, 9, 13, 116, 119, 124, 137, 138, 139, 140 & 1052 and Interpretation 129) arising from the issuance by IASB of IFRSs Annual Improvements to IFRS 2010-2012 Cycle and Annual Improvements to IFRSs 2011-2013 Cycle. The standard does not impact the financial statements.

All other new/revised/amending standards and/or interpretations that were issued prior to sign-off date and are applicable to the current reporting period did not have a material effect, and are not expected to have a future material impact on the Northern Land Council’s financial statements.

FUTURE AUSTRALIAN ACCOUNTING STANDARD REQUIREMENTS

The following new/revised/amending standards and/or interpretations were issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board prior to the signing of the statement by the accountable authority, chief executive officer and general manager corporate compliance, on the entity’s financial statements for future reporting period(s):

STANDARD/ INTERPRETATION APPLICATION DATE NATURE OF IMPENDING CHANGE/S IN ACCOUNTING POLICY AND LIKELY IMPACT ON INITIAL APPLICATION

AASB 9 Financial Instruments (Dec 2014), AASB 2014-1 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards (Part E - Financial Instruments), AASB 2014-7 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards arising from AASB 9 (Dec 2014)

1 Jan 2018 The final version of AASB 9 brings together the classification and measurement, impairment and hedge accounting phases of the IASB’s project to replace AASB 139 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement. This version adds a new expected loss impairment model and limited amendments to classification and measurement for financial assets. The standard does not impact the financial statements.

AASB 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers, AASB 2014-5 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards arising from AASB 15

1 Jan 2017 AASB 15 outlines a single comprehensive model for entities to use in accounting for revenue arising from contracts with customers. It replaces several Standards and Interpretations, including AASB 111 Construction Contracts, AASB 118 Revenue, Interpretation 15 Agreements for the Construction of Real Estate, and Interpretation 18 Transfers of Assets from Customers. The standard does not impact the financial statements.

AASB 2014-4 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards - Clarification of Acceptable Methods of Depreciation and Amortisation (AASB 116 & 138)

1 Jan 2016 Amends AASB 116 Property, Plant and Equipment and AASB 138 Intangible Assets to provide additional guidance on how the depreciation or amortisation of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets should be calculated. The standard does not impact the financial statements.

All other new/revised/amending standards and/or interpretations that were issued prior to the sign-off date and are applicable to future reporting period(s) are not expected to have a future material impact on the Northern Land Council’s financial statements.

1.3 C HANGE IN ACCOUNTING ESTIMATES

Estimates and underlying assumptions are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Revisions to accounting estimates are recognised in the period in which the estimates are revised and in any future periods affected.

In 2015 Northern Land Council reviewed the useful life of motor vehicles and changed its accounting estimate on the estimated useful life of motor vehicles from 3 years to range from 3 years to 10 years (refer to note 1.16). This change in accounting estimate is based on management’s historical experience and on other various factors.

As a result of the change, this affects the depreciation expense for the current period and for each future period during the asset’s remaining useful life as follows:

$’000 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 LATER

(Decrease) increase in depreciation expense (432) (432) (469) 337 290 706

1.4 S IGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING JUDGEMENTS AND ESTIMATES

No accounting assumptions or estimates have been identified that have a significant risk of causing a material adjustment to the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities within the next reporting period.

1.5 N EW AUSTRALIAN ACCOUNTING STANDARDS

ADOPTION OF NEW AUSTRALIAN ACCOUNTING STANDARD REQUIREMENTS

No accounting standard has been adopted earlier than the application date as stated in the standard.

The following new/revised/amending standards and/or interpretations were issued prior to the signing of the statement by the accountable authority, chief executive officer and general manager corporate compliance, were applicable to the current reporting period on the entity’s financial statements:

STANDARD/ INTERPRETATION NATURE OF CHANGE IN ACCOUNTING POLICY AND ADJUSTMENT TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

AASB 1031 Materiality (2013), AASB 2013-9 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards - Conceptual Framework, Materiality and Financial Instruments, AASB 2014-1 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards (Part C - Materiality)

Revised AASB 1031 is an interim standard that cross-references to other standards and the Framework for the Preparation and Presentation of Financial Statements that contain guidance on materiality. The standard does not impact the financial statements.

AASB 2012-3 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards - Offsetting Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities (AASB 132)

The standard addresses inconsistencies in current practice when applying the offsetting criteria in AASB 132 Financial Instruments: Presentation. The standard does not impact the financial statements.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

1.8 E MPLOYEE BENEFITS

Liabilities for ‘short-term employee benefits’ (as defined in AASB 119 Employee Benefits) and termination benefits due within twelve months of the end of reporting period are measured at their nominal amounts.

The nominal amount is calculated with regard to the rates expected to be paid on settlement of the liability.

LEAVE

The liability for employee benefits includes provision for annual leave and long service leave. No provision has been made for sick leave as all sick leave is non-vesting and the average sick leave taken in future years by employees of the Northern Land Council is estimated to be less than the annual entitlement for sick leave.

The leave liabilities are calculated on the basis of employees’ remuneration at the estimated salary rates that applied at the time the leave is taken, including the Northern Land Council’s employer superannuation contribution rates to the extent that the leave is likely to be taken during service rather than paid out on termination.

The estimate of the present value of the long service leave liability takes into attrition rates and pay increases through promotion and inflation.

1.9 L EASES

A distinction is made between finance leases and operating leases. Finance leases effectively transfer from the lessor to the lessee substantially all the risks and rewards incidental to ownership of leased assets. An operating lease is a lease that is not a finance lease. In operating leases, the lessor effectively retains substantially all such risks and benefits.

Where an asset is acquired by means of a finance lease, the asset is capitalised at either the fair value of the lease property or, if lower, the present value of minimum lease payments at the inception of the contract and a liability is recognised at the same time and for the same amount.

T

he discount rate used is the interest rate implicit in the lease. Leased assets are amortised over the period of the lease. Lease payments are allocated between the principal component and the interest expense.

O

perating lease payments are expensed on a straight line basis which is representative of the pattern of benefits derived from the leased assets.

1.10 F AIR VALUE MEASUREMENT

The Land Council deems any transfers between levels of the fair value hierarchy to have occurred at the end of the reporting period.

1.11 C ASH

Cash is recognised at its nominal amount. Cash and cash equivalents include:

a)

c

ash on hand

b)

d

emand deposits in bank accounts with an original maturity of 3 months or less that are readily convertible to known amounts of cash and subject to insignificant risk of changes in value.

1.6 REVENUE

Revenue from the sale of goods is recognised when:

a)

t

he risks and rewards of ownership have been transferred to the buyer;

b)

t

he Northern Land Council retains no managerial involvement or effective control over the goods;

c)

t

he revenue and transaction costs incurred can be reliably measured; and

d)

i

t is probable that the economic benefits associated with the transaction will flow to the Northern Land Council.

Revenue from rendering of services is recognised by reference to the stage of completion of contracts at the reporting date. The revenue is recognised when:

a)

t

he amount of revenue, stage of completion and transaction costs incurred can be reliably measured; and

b)

t

he probable economic benefits with the transaction will flow to the Northern Land Council.

The stage of completion of contracts at the reporting date is determined by reference to the proportion that costs incurred to date bear to the estimated total costs of the transaction.

Receivables for goods and services, which have 30 day terms, are recognised at the nominal amounts due less any impairment allowance account. Collectability of debts is reviewed as at the end of the reporting period. Allowances are made when collectability of the debt is no longer probable.

Interest revenue is recognised using the effective interest method as set out in AASB 139 Financial Instruments: recognition and Measurement.

REVENUES FROM GOVERNMENT

Funding received or receivable from Government is recognised as Revenue from Government when the Northern Land Council gains control of the appropriation, except for certain amounts that are reciprocal in nature, in which case revenue is recognised only when it is earned.

Appropriations receivable are recognised at their nominal amounts.

1.7 G AINS

SALE OF ASSETS

Gains from disposal of assets are recognised when control of the asset has passed to the buyer.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

1.13 F INANCIAL LIABILITIES

Financial liabilities are classified as other financial liabilities. Financial liabilities are recognised and derecognised upon trade date.

OTHER FINANCIAL LIABILITIES

Other financial liabilities, including borrowings, are initially measured at fair value, net of transaction costs. Other financial liabilities are subsequently measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method, with interest expense recognised on an effective yield basis.

The effective interest method is a method of calculating the amortised cost of a financial liability and of allocating interest expense over the relevant period. The effective interest rate is the rate that exactly discounts estimated future cash payments through the expected life of the financial liability, or, where appropriate, a shorter period.

Supplier and other payables are recognised at amortised cost. Liabilities are recognised to the extent that the goods or services have been received (and irrespective of having been invoiced).

1.14 C ONTINGENT LIABILITIES AND CONTINGENT ASSETS

Contingent liabilities and contingent assets are not recognised in the statement of financial position but are reported in notes. They may arise from uncertainty as to the existence of a liability or asset or represent an asset or liability in respect of which the amount cannot be reliably measured. Contingent assets are disclosed when settlement is probable but not virtually certain and contingent liabilities are disclosed when settlement is greater than remote.

1.15 A CQUISITION OF ASSETS

Assets are recorded at cost on acquisition except as stated below. The cost of acquisition includes the fair value of assets transferred in exchange and liabilities undertaken. Financial assets are initially measured at their fair value plus transaction costs where appropriate.

Assets acquired at no cost, or for nominal consideration, are initially recognised as assets and income at their fair value at the date of acquisition, unless acquired as a consequence of restructuring of administrative arrangements. In the latter case, assets are initially recognised as contributions by owners at the amounts at which they were recognised in the transfer of Northern Land Council’s accounts immediately prior to the restructuring.

1.12 F INANCIAL ASSETS

The Northern Land Council classifies its financial assets in the following categories:

a)

loans and receivables’.

The classification depends on the nature and purpose of the financial assets and is determined at the time of initial recognition. Financial assets are recognised and derecognised upon trade date.

EFFECTIVE INTEREST METHOD

The effective interest method is a method of calculating the amortised cost of a financial asset and of allocating interest income over the relevant period. The effective interest rate is the rate that exactly discounts estimated future cash receipts through the expected life of the financial asset, or, where appropriate, a shorter period.

Income is recognised on an effective interest rate basis except for financial assets that are recognised at fair value through profit or loss.

LOANS AND RECEIVABLES

Trade receivables, loans and other receivables that have fixed or determinable payments that are not quoted in an active market are classified as ‘loans and receivables’. Loans and receivables are measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method less impairment. Interest is recognised by applying the effective interest rate.

IMPAIRMENT OF FINANCIAL ASSETS

Financial assets are assessed for impairment at each reporting period.

Financial assets held at amortised cost - if there is objective evidence that an impairment loss has been incurred for loans and receivables or held to maturity investments held at amortised cost, the amount of the loss is measured as the difference between the asset’s carrying amount and the present value of estimated future cash flows discounted at the asset’s original effective interest rate. The carrying amount is reduced by way of an allowance account. The loss is recognised in the statement of comprehensive income.

Available for sale financial assets - if there is objective evidence that an impairment loss on an available for sale financial asset has been incurred, the amount of the difference between its cost, less principal repayments and amortisation, and its current fair value, less any impairment loss previously recognised in expenses, is transferred from equity to the statement of comprehensive income.

Financial assets held at cost - if there is objective evidence that an impairment loss has been incurred the amount of the impairment loss is the difference between the carrying amount of the asset and the present value of the estimated future cash flows discounted at the current market rate for similar assets.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

DEPRECIATION

Depreciable property, plant and equipment assets are written-off to their estimated residual values over their estimated useful lives to the Northern Land Council using, in all cases, the straight-line method of depreciation.

Depreciation rates (useful lives), residual values and methods are reviewed at each reporting date and necessary adjustments are recognised in the current, or current and future reporting periods, as appropriate.

Depreciation rates applying to each class of depreciable asset are based on the following useful lives:

2015 2014

Buildings on freehold land 10 to 40 years 10 to 40 years

Leasehold improvements Lease term Lease term

Office furniture and equipment 3 to 5 years 3 to 5 years

Motor vehicles 3 to 10 years 3 years

Plant and equipment 3 years 3 years

IMPAIRMENT

All assets were assessed for impairment at 30 June 2015. Where indications of impairment exist, the assets’ recoverable amount is estimated and an impairment adjustment if the asset’s recoverable amount is less than its carrying amount.

The recoverable amount of an asset is the higher of its fair value less costs of disposal and its value in use. Value in use is the present value of the future cash flows expected to be derived from the asset. Where the future economic benefit of an asset is not primarily dependent on the asset’s ability to generate future cash flows, and the asset would be replaced if the Northern Land Council were deprived of the asset, its value in use is taken to be its depreciated replacement cost.

DERECOGNITION

An item of property, plant and equipment is derecognised upon disposal or when no further future economic benefits are expected from its use or disposal.

1.17 T AXATION/COMPETITIVE NEUTRALITY

The Northern Land Council is exempt from all forms of taxation except fringe benefits tax (FBT) and the goods and services tax (GST).

Revenues, expenses and assets are recognised net of GST except:

a)

w

here the amount of GST incurred is not recoverable from the Australian Taxation Office; and

b)

f

or receivables and payables.

COMPETITIVE NEUTRALITY

The Northern Land Council does not provide services on a for-profit basis. Therefore the Land Council is not required to make Australian Income Tax Equivalent payments to the Government.

1.16 P ROPERTY, PLANT AND EQUIPMENT

ASSET RECOGNITION THRESHOLD

Purchases of property, plant and equipment are recognised initially at cost in the statement of financial position, except for purchases below the capitalisation threshold, which are expensed in the year of acquisition (other than where they form part of a group of similar items which are significant in total). The capitalisation thresholds values are:

Land $20,000

Buildings $20,000

Leasehold improvements $5,000

Furniture and equipment $5,000

Information technology (hardware) $5,000

Information technology (software) $5,000

Motor vehicles $10,000

REVALUATIONS

Fair values for each class of asset are determined as shown below:

ASSET CLASS FAIR VALUE MEASUREMENT

Land Market selling price

Buildings excluding leasehold improvements Market selling price

Leasehold improvements Depreciated replacement cost

Other property plant and equipment Market selling price

Following initial recognition at cost, property plant and equipment are carried at fair value less subsequent accumulated depreciation and accumulated impairment losses. Valuations are conducted with sufficient frequency to ensure that the carrying amounts of assets do not differ materially from the assets’ fair values as at the reporting date. The regularity of independent valuations depends upon the volatility of movements in market values for the relevant assets.

Revaluation adjustments are made on a class basis. Any revaluation increment is credited to equity under the heading of asset revaluation reserve except to the extent that it reverses a previous revaluation decrement of the same asset class that was previously recognised in the surplus/deficit. Revaluation decrements for a class of assets are recognised directly in the surplus/deficit except to the extent that they reverse a previous revaluation increment for that class.

Any accumulated depreciation as at the revaluation date is eliminated against the gross carrying amount of the asset and the asset restated to the revalued amount.

168 169

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 3C: DEPRECIATION Depreciation:

Property, plant and equipment 446 477

Buildings and leasehold 447 203

Total depreciation 893 680

NOTE 3D: WRITE-DOWN AND IMPAIRMENT OF ASSETS Impairment on financial instruments 882 434

Total write-down and impairment of assets 882 434

NOTE 3E: LOSS ON DISPOSAL OF ASSETS

Intangibles

Proceeds from sale 247 -

Carrying value of assets disposed 372 -

Total loss from assets sales 125 -

NOTE 3F: OTHER EXPENSES Distribution of old S64(1) funding 440 4,287

Total other expenses 440 4,287

NOTE 2: EVENTS AFTER THE REPORTING PERIOD

There are no subsequent events that had the potential to significantly affect the ongoing structure and Financial Activities of the entity.

NOTE 3: EXPENSES

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 3A: EMPLOYEE BENEFITS Wages and salaries 15,929 17,574

Superannuation:

Defined contribution plans 1,921 2,119

Leave and other entitlements 383 1,158

Total employee benefits 18,233 20,851

NOTE 3B: SUPPLIERS Goods and services supplied or rendered

Consultants 1,940 2,508

Stationery 291 367

Travel 2,283 4,198

Vehicle expenses 1,260 2,008

Office accommodation 856 940

IT/communications 902 1,379

Payment to grant partners 1,906 739

Other 2,706 2,980

Total goods and services supplied or rendered 12,144 15,119

Goods and services in connection with:

Provision of goods - external parties 5,200 5,328

Rendering of services - external parties 6,863 9,725

Rendering of services - related parties 81 66

Total goods and services supplied or rendered 12,144 15,119

Other suppliers

Operating lease rentals in connection with:

External parties

Minimum lease payments 1,863 1,851

Workers compensation expenses 521 438

Total other suppliers 2,384 2,289

Total suppliers 14,528 17,408

170 171

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 4G: REVENUE FROM GOVERNMENT - SPECIAL PURPOSE GRANTS Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet 5,506 5,566

Indigenous Land Corporation 975 1,160

Department of Defence 157 168

Department of Environment 209 -

Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries 180 180

Department of Land Resource Management 1,915 1,425

Others 169 526

9,111 9,025

NOTE 5: INCOME TAX EXPENSE (COMPETITIVE NEUTRALITY)

The Northern Land Council has been approved as a Public Benevolent Institution. The services of the Council are provided on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis. Therefore the Northern Land Council is not subject to the Commonwealth Government’s Competitive Neutrality policy.

NOTE 4: OWN-SOURCE INCOME

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

OWN-SOURCE REVENUE

NOTE 4A: SALE OF GOODS AND RENDERING OF SERVICES

Rendering of services in connection with:

Related entities 316 179

External parties 4,821 4,214

Total sale of goods and rendering of services 5,137 4,393

NOTE 4B: INTEREST Deposits 114 163

Total interest 114 163

GAINS

NOTE 4C: GAINS FROM SALE OF ASSETS Infrastructure, plant and equipment

Proceeds from sale - 377

Carrying value of assets sold - (67)

Total gain from sale of assets - 310

NOTE 4D: REVERSALS OF PREVIOUS ASSET WRITE-DOWNS AND IMPAIRMENTS Reversal of impairment losses - 410

Total reversals of previous asset write-downs and impairments - 410

REVENUE FROM GOVERNMENT

NOTE 4E: REVENUE FROM GOVERNMENT - PMC Native Title Program 3,664 4,499

Revenue from ABA S64 (4) 4,069 -

Others 340 500

8,073 4,999

NOTE 4F: ABA S64 (1) DPMC - Revenue from ABA S64 (1) 18,768 17,569

18,768 17,569

172 173

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

NOTE 6: FAIR VALUE MEASUREMENTS

The following tables provide an analysis of assets and liabilities that are measured at fair value.

T

he different levels of the fair value hierarchy are defined below.

L

evel 1:

Q

uoted prices (unadjusted) in active markets for identical assets or liabilities that the entity can access at measurement date.

L

evel 2:

I

nputs other than quoted prices included within Level 1 that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly.

L

evel 3:

U

nobservable inputs for the asset or liability.

NOTE 6A: FAIR VALUE MEASUREMENTS, VALUATION TECHNIQUES AND INPUTS USED

FAIR VALUE MEASUREMENTS AT THE END OF THE REPORTING PERIOD

FOR LEVELS 2 AND 3 FAIR VALUE MEASUREMENTS

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

CATEGORY (LEVEL 1, 2 OR 3)

VALUATION TECHNIQUE (1)

INPUTS USED

RANGE (WEIGHTED AVERAGE) (2)

Non-financial assets (3)

Land 299 200 Level 2 Market comparables Observable prices or

recent market transactions

NA

Buildings 2,009 2,060 Level 2 Market comparables Observable prices or

recent market transactions

NA

Leasehold improvements 1,961 1,157 Level 2 Depreciated replacement cost Observable prices or

recent market transactions

NA

Property, plant and equipment 3,396 3,694 Level 2 Market comparables Observable prices or

recent market transactions

NA

Total non-financial assets 7,665 7,111

Total fair value measurements of assets in the statement of financial position

7,665 7,111

(1)

N

o change in valuation technique occurred during the period.

(

2)

S

ignificant unobservable inputs only. Not applicable for assets or liabilities in the Level 2 category.

(

3)

F

air value measurements - highest and best use differs from current use for non-financial assets (NFAs).

T

he highest and best use of all non-financial assets are the same as their current use.

174 175

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

Trade and other receivables (gross) aged as follows:

Not overdue 409 980

Overdue by:

0 to 30 days 550 234

31 to 60 days 244 9

61 to 90 days 106 168

More than 90 days 697 1,298

Total trade and other receivables (gross) 2,006 2,689

Impairment allowance aged as follows:

Not overdue (24) -

Overdue by:

0 to 30 days (384) -

31 to 60 days (119) -

61 to 90 days (106) -

More than 90 days (697) (1,142)

Total impairment allowance (1,330) (1,142)

NOTE 7B: TRADE AND OTHER RECEIVABLES

RECONCILIATION OF THE IMPAIRMENT ALLOWANCE MOVEMENTS IN RELATION TO 2015

GOODS AND SERVICES 2015 $’000

GRANTS

RECEIVABLES 2015 $’000

GST 2015 $’000

TOTAL 2015 $’000

Opening balance 1,142 - - 1,142

Amounts written off (694) - - (694)

Amounts recovered and reversed - - - -

Increase/(decrease) recognised in cost of services 595 213 74 882

Closing balance 1,043 213 74 1,330

MOVEMENTS IN RELATION TO 2014

GOODS AND SERVICES 2014 $’000

GRANTS

RECEIVABLES 2014 $’000

GST 2014 $’000

TOTAL 2014 $’000

Opening balance 1,118 - - 1,118

Amounts written off - - - -

Amounts recovered and reversed (410) - - 410

Increase/(decrease) recognised in cost of services 434 - - 434

Closing balance 1,142 - - 1,142

NOTE 7: FINANCIAL ASSETS

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 7A: CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS Cash on hand or on deposit 6,588 2,545

Total cash and cash equivalents 6,588 2,545

NOTE 7B: TRADE AND OTHER RECEIVABLES Goods and services receivables in connection with:

External parties 1,550 1,641

Total goods and services receivable 1,550 1,641

Grant receivables

External parties 40 -

Related parties 173 641

Total grant receivables 213 641

Total trade receivables 1,763 2,282

Other receivables

GST receivable from the Australian Taxation Office 243 407

Total other receivables 243 407

Total trade and other receivables (gross) 2,006 2,689

Less impairment allowance

Grants receivable (213) -

Goods and services (1,043) (1,142)

GST (74) -

Total impairment allowance (1,330) (1,142)

Total trade and other receivables (net) 676 1,547

Trade and other receivables (net) expected to be recovered:

No more than 12 months 676 1,547

More than 12 months - -

Total trade and other receivables (net) 676 1,547

176 177

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

NOTE 8C: RECONCILIATION OF THE OPENING AND CLOSING BALANCES OF PROPERTY, PLANT AND EQUIPMENT

R

ECONCILIATION OF THE OPENING AND CLOSING BALANCE OF PROPERTY, PLANT AND EQUIPMENT FOR 2015

LAND $’000

BUILDINGS $’000

LEASEHOLD IMPROVEMENTS $’000

OTHER PP&E $’000

TOTAL $’000

As at 1 July 2014

Gross book value 200 2,060 1,157 3,694 7,111

Accumulated depreciation and impairment - - - - -

Total as at 1 July 2014 200 2,060 1,157 3,694 7,111

Additions by purchase 99 - 1,207 514 1,820

Revaluation and impairments recognised in other comprehensive income - - - - -

Depreciation - (51) (396) (446) (893)

Disposals - other - - (7) (366) (373)

Total as at 30 June 2015 299 2,009 1,961 3,396 7,665

Total as at 30 June 2015 represented by:

Gross book value 299 2,060 2,344 3,838 8,541

Accumulated depreciation - (51) (383) (442) (876)

Total as at 30 June 2015 299 2,009 1,961 3,396 7,665

NOTE 8: NON-FINANCIAL ASSETS

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 8A: LAND AND BUILDINGS Land at fair value 299 200

Total land 299 200

Buildings on leasehold land:

Fair value 2,060 2,060

Accumulated depreciation (51) -

Total buildings on leasehold land 2,009 2,060

Leasehold improvements:

Fair value 2,344 1,157

Accumulated depreciation (383) -

Total leasehold improvements 1,961 1,157

Total land and buildings 4,269 3,417

REVALUATIONS OF NON-FINANCIAL ASSETS

All revaluations are conducted in accordance with the revaluation policy stated at Note 1. On 30 June 2014, an independent valuer conducted the revaluations.

N

o indicators of impairment were found for land and buildings and leasehold improvements.

N

o land, buildings or leasehold improvements are expected to be sold or disposed of within the next 12 months.

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 8B: PROPERTY, PLANT AND EQUIPMENT Property, plant and equipment:

Fair value 3,838 3,694

Accumulated depreciation (442) -

Total property, plant and equipment 3,396 3,694

REVALUATIONS OF NON-FINANCIAL ASSETS

All revaluations are conducted in accordance with the revaluation policy stated at Note 1. On 30 June 2014, an independent valuer conducted the revaluations.

N

o indicators of impairment were found for property, plant and equipment.

N

o property, plant and equipment is expected to be sold or disposed of within the next 12 months.

178 179

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

NOTE 9: PAYABLES

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 9A: SUPPLIERS Trade creditors and accruals 1,868 2,997

Total suppliers 1,868 2,997

Suppliers expected to be settled in:

No more than 12 months 1,868 2,997

More than 12 months - -

Total suppliers 1,868 2,997

Suppliers in connection with:

External parties 1,662 2,997

Related entities 206 -

Total suppliers 1,868 2,997

Settlement was usually made within 30 days.

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 9B: OTHER PAYABLES Salaries and wages 564 537

Superannuation 148 280

Other 21 344

Total other payables 733 1,161

Total other payables expected to be settled

No more than 12 months 733 1,161

Total other payables 733 1,161

RECONCILIATION OF THE OPENING AND CLOSING BALANCE OF PROPERTY, PLANT AND EQUIPMENT FOR 2014

LAND $’000

BUILDINGS $’000

LEASEHOLD IMPROVEMENTS $’000

OTHER PP&E $’000

TOTAL $’000

As at 1 July 2013

Gross book value 182 1,944 2,084 1,062 5,272

Accumulated depreciation and impairment - (22) (979) - (1,001)

Total as at 1 July 2013 182 1,922 1,105 1,062 4,271

Additions by purchase - - 40 1,618 1,658

Revaluation and impairments recognised in other comprehensive income 18 203 150 1,558 1,929

Depreciation - (65) (138) (477) (680)

Disposals - other - - - (67) (67)

Total as at 30 June 2014 200 2,060 1,157 3,694 7,111

Total as at 30 June 2014 represented by:

Gross book value 200 2,060 1,157 3,694 7,111

Accumulated depreciation - - - - -

Total as at 30 June 2014 200 2,060 1,157 3,694 7,111

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 8D: OTHER NON-FINANCIAL ASSETS Other 13 5

Prepayments 69 87

Total other non-financial assets 82 92

Other non financial assets to be recovered

No more than 12 months 82 92

More than 12 months - -

82 92

No indicators of impairment were found for other non-financial assets.

180 181

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

NOTE 12: CONTINGENT ASSETS AND LIABILITIES

CLAIMS FOR DAMAGES OR COSTS

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

Contingent Liabilities

Balance from previous period 160 208

New contingent liabilities recognised 90 160

Obligations expired - (208)

Total contingent liabilities 250 160

QUANTIFIABLE CONTINGENCIES

The above table contains $250,000 of contingent liabilities disclosed in respect to claims for damages/ costs (2014: $160,000). The amount represents an estimate of the Northern Land Council’s liability based on precedent cases. The Council is defending the claims.

T

he nature of decisions of the Northern Land Council mean that at times the decisions are subject to dispute and judical review. Specific information about legal matters is not disclosed where the information would be prejudicial to the Land Council.

NOTE 13: RELATED PARTY DISCLOSURES

The Council Executive Members who held office during the year ended 30 June 2015 were:

Samuel Bush-Blanasi Chairperson

John Daly Deputy Chairperson

Helen Lee Executive

Bill Risk Executive

John Christophersen Executive

Raymond Hector Executive

Leonard Norman Executive

Virginia Nundhirribala Executive

David Djalangi Executive

Full Council elections were held in November 2013. The elections are held every three years to elect a new Full Council and Executive Council. The next call for nominations will be held in November 2016.

There were no loans made to directors or other transactions with Directors or Director - Related Entities during the year.

NOTE 10: EMPLOYEE PROVISIONS

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

Leave 3,033 3,862

Total employee provisions 3,033 3,862

Employee provisions expected to be settled in:

No more than 12 months 2,137 2,880

More than 12 months 896 982

Total employee provisions 3,033 3,862

NOTE 11: CASH FLOW RECONCILIATION

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

Reconciliation of cash and cash equivalents as per statement of financial position to cash flow statement

Cash and cash equivalents as per:

Cash flow statement 6,588 2,545

Statement of financial position 6,588 2,545

Discrepancy - -

Reconciliation of net cost of services to net cash from/(used by) operating activities:

Net cost of services (29,850) (38,384)

Revenue from Government 35,952 31,593

Adjustments for non-cash items

Depreciation/amortisation 893 680

(Gain)/loss on disposal of assets 126 (310)

Movements in assets and liabilities

Assets

(Increase)/decrease in net receivables 633 4,424

(Increase)/decrease in GST receivables 238 671

(Increase)/decrease in other assets 11 47

Liabilities

Increase/(decrease) in other payables (428) (236)

Increase/(decrease) in employee provisions (829) 596

Increase/(decrease) in supplier payables (1,129) 169

Net cash from operating activities 5,616 (751)

182 183

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

NOTE 16: FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 16A: CATEGORIES OF FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS Financial assets

Loans and receivables

Cash and cash equivalents 6,588 2,545

Trade and other receivables 507 1,139

Total loan and receivables 7,095 3,684

Total financial assets 7,095 3,684

Financial liabilities

Financial liabilities measured at amortised cost

Suppliers 1,868 2,997

Other payables 733 1,160

Total financial liabilities at amortised cost 2,601 4,157

Total financial liabilities 2,601 4,157

NOTE 16B: NET GAIN OR LOSSES ON FINANCIAL ASSETS Loans and receivables

Interest revenue 114 163

Net gain/(losses) on loans and receivables 114 163

The net interest income from financial assets not at fair value through profit or loss is $114,000 (2014: $163,000).

NOTE 16C: FAIR VALUE OF FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

The carrying amount of the financial assets and liabilities is a reasonable approximation of fair value due to their short-term nature.

NOTE 16D: CREDIT RISK

The Council is exposed to minimal credit risk as loans and receivables are cash and trade receivables. The maximum exposure to credit risk was the risk that arises from potential default of a debtor. This amount was equal to the total amount of trade receivables (2015: $2,007,018 and 2014: $2,688,558). The council has assessed the risk of the default on payment and had allocated $1,330,428 in 2015 (2014: $1,143,215) to an impairment allowance account.

The Council only trades with recognised, creditworthy third parties. Exposure to credit risk is monitored by management on an ongoing basis. The Council holds no collateral to mitigate against credit risk.

NOTE 14: SENIOR MANAGEMENT PERSONNEL REMUNERATION

2015 2014

Short-term employee benefits:

Salary 1,517,028 1,327,863

Performance bonus - -

Total short-term employee benefits 1,517,028 1,327,863

Post-employment benefits:

Superannuation 205,310 187,536

Total post-employment benefits 205,310 187,536

Other long-term employee benefits:

Annual leave 134,120 108,716

Long-service leave 6,878 9,091

Total other long-term employee benefits 140,998 117,807

Termination benefits

Termination payout - 29,547

Total termination benefits - 29,547

Total senior executive remuneration expenses 1,863,336 1,662,753

The total number of senior management personnel that are included in the above table are 11 (2014: 10 senior management personnel).

NOTE 15: REMUNERATION OF AUDITORS

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

Remuneration to auditors for the reporting period are as follows:

Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) - statutory audit 84 63

Merit Partners - grant audits 12 12

96 75

The audit fees above report the costs associated with auditing each financial year.

N

o other services were provided by the Australian National Audit Office.

184 185

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

NOTE 16F: MARKET RISK

The Council held basic financial instruments that did not expose the Council to certain market risks, such as ‘Currency risk’ and ‘Other price risk’.

INTEREST RATE RISK

Interest rate risk is the risk that the fair value or future cash flows of a financial instument will fluctuate because of changes in interest rates. The Council is exposed to interest rate risk primarily from cash at bank and short term deposits. The Council manages its interest rate risk by maintaining floating rate cash.

NOTES

2015 $’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 16G: FINANCIAL ASSETS RECONCILIATION Total financial assets as per statement of financial position 7,264 4,092

Less: Non-financial instrument components

Other Recievables 7B 169 407

Total non-financial instrument components 169 407

Total financial assets as per financial instruments note 7,095 3,685

NOTE 17: ROYALTY ASSETS HELD IN TRUST ACCOUNT

MONETARY ASSETS

The Northern Land Council maintains a Royalty Trust Account. Monies received on behalf of Associations of Aboriginal people and individuals, in accordance with Section 35 of the Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) Act [ALR (NT) Act], are held in the royalty trust account, and are distributed in accordance with the requirements of the ALR (NT) Act. These monies are not available for other purposes of the Northern Land Council, and are not recognised in the financial statements.

NON-MONETARY ASSETS

The Council had no non-monetary assets held in trust in both the current and prior reporting periods.

CREDIT QUALITY OF FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS NOT PAST DUE OR INDIVIDUALLY DETERMINED AS IMPAIRED

NOT PAST DUE NOR IMPAIRED 2015

$’000

NOT PAST DUE NOR IMPAIRED 2014

$’000

PAST DUE OR IMPAIRED 2015

$’000

PAST DUE OR IMPAIRED 2014

$’000

Cash and cash equivalents 6,588 2,545 - -

Receivables for good and services 216 573 1,622 1,709

Total 6,804 3,118 1,622 1,709

AGEING OF FINANCIAL ASSETS THAT WERE PAST DUE BUT NOT IMPAIRED FOR 2015

0 TO 30

DAYS $’000 31 TO 60 DAYS $’000 61 TO 90

DAYS $’000 90+ DAYS $’000

TOTAL $’000

Receivables for good and services 167 125 - - 292

Total 167 125 - - 292

AGEING OF FINANCIAL ASSETS THAT WERE PAST DUE BUT NOT IMPAIRED FOR 2014

0 TO 30

DAYS $’000 31 TO 60 DAYS $’000 61 TO 90

DAYS $’000 90+ DAYS $’000

TOTAL $’000

Receivables for good and services 234 9 168 155 565

Total 234 9 168 155 565

NOTE 16E: LIQUIDITY RISK

The Northern Land Council’s financial liabilities were payables. The exposure to liquidity risk was based on the notion that the Northern Land Council will encounter difficulty in meeting its obligations associated with financial liabilities. This is highly unlikely due to grants and government funding available to the council and internal policies and procedures put in place to ensure there were appropriate resources to meet its financial obligations.

The Council had no derivative financial liabilities in either the current or prior year.

MATURITIES FOR NON-DERIVATIVE FINANICAL LIABILITIES

2015

WITHIN 1 YEAR $’000

2014

WITHIN 1 YEAR $’000

Trade creditors 1,868 2,997

Other payables 733 1,160

186 187

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

DETERMINATION PURSUANT TO SECTION 35(2) ABORIGINAL LAND RIGHTS ACT

GOVE RIO ALCAN PROJECT ROYALTY EQUIVALENTS RECEIVED PURSUANT TO SECTION 64(3)

The Northern Land Council determines pursuant to sub-section 35(2) that for the next 5 years (subject to any further determination within that period) amounts equal to all monies received under s.64(3) with respect to the Gove Alcan Project are to be apportioned and paid as follows:

•

G

umatj Aboriginal Corporation 65%

•

R

irratjingu Aboriginal Corporation 20%

•

L

aynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation 15%

Resolution Number: C110/4784

Note: This determination will expire on 17 June 2020.

DETERMINATION PURSUANT TO SECTION 35(2) ABORIGINAL LAND RIGHTS ACT

RANGER PROJECT ROYALTY EQUIVALENTS RECEIVED PURSUANT TO SECTION 64(3)

The Northern Land Council determines pursuant to sub-section 35(2) that for the next 5 years amounts equal to all monies received under s.64(3) with respect to the Ranger Project are to be paid to Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation.

Resolution Number: C110/4785

Note: This determination will expire on 17 June 2020.

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

ROYALTY TRUST ACCOUNT - MONETARY ASSET

Total amount held at the beginning of the reporting period 39,648 58,035

Add : RECEIPTS

ABA Section 64 (3) royalty equivalents 10,954 7,666

Section 15, 16 & 19 15,499 14,205

Section 42, 43 and 44 mining exploration negotiated monies

16,552 22,386

Native title 2,231 1,453

Other monies 926 880

Total receipts 46,162 46,590

Less: PAYMENTS

ABA Section 35 (2) royalty equivalents (10,954) (8,352)

Section 35 (3) rental and lease monies (14,227) (31,902)

Section 35 (4) negotiated monies (14,395) (20,936)

Native title (1,633) (1,155)

(41,209) (62,345)

GST Paid (2,892) (2,159)

Contract Administration (354) (473)

Total amount held at the end of the reporting period 41,356 39,648

Cash at bank 41,356 39,648

The reporting requirements of the ALR (NT) Act 1976 are detailed in section 37 (3)-(5), and refer to the application of monies received by the Northern Land Council under various sections of the Act, in particular under sub-section 64(3).

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

Receipts under section 64(3), as referred in section 35(3):

Opening balance - 666

Funds received 10,954 7,666

Funds distributed to the following associations:

Gumatj Aboriginal Corporation (5,964) (3,158)

Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation (1,835) (977)

Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation (1,377) (733)

Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (1,722) (2,701)

Guyanggan Aboriginal Corp (56) (763)

Funds awaiting distribution - -

Closing balance - -

188 189

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

2011/2012 ACTUAL $

2012/2013 ACTUAL $

2013/2014 ACTUAL $

2014/2015 ACTUAL $

TOTAL ACTUAL $

NOTE 18B: ABA SPECIAL PURPOSE GRANT: FUNERAL AND CEREMONIAL ACTIVITIES

Income

Aboriginals Benefit Account 500,000 500,000 500,000 340,379 1,840,379

Recoveries - 2,980 - - 2,980

Total Income 500,000 502,980 500,000 340,379 1,843,359

Expenditure

Borroloola/Barkly region 40,933 64,429 26,295 43,285 174,942

Darwin/Daly region 131,425 212,689 110,203 82,068 536,385

Jabiru region 118,418 182,395 82,057 75,330 458,200

Katherine region 97,477 80,050 65,739 56,049 299,315

Ngukurr region 45,551 29,091 44,477 24,518 143,637

Nhulunbuy region 154,743 135,477 77,804 66,735 434,759

Tennant Creek 13,325 33,747 11,826 14,486 73,384

Timber Creek (VRD) region 28,932 33,962 14,545 15,441 92,880

Administration 1,833 3,653 (1,681) 1,400 5,205

Total expenditure 632,637 775,493 431,265 379,312 2,218,707

Commitments

Surplus (deficit) (132,637) (272,513) 68,735 (38,933) (375,348)

ABA APPROVED

ESTIMATES 2014/2015 $’000

ABA ACTUAL 2014/2015 $’000

ABA VARIANCE 2014/2015 $’000

NOTE 18A: ABORIGINAL BENEFIT ACCOUNT APPROPRIATIONS Surplus/(deficit) as at 30 June 2014 (3,736)

Balance carried forward

Income

ABA

S64(1) 18,768 18,768 100%

Total ABA income 18,768 18,768 100%

Other

Recoveries 2,586 1,648 64%

Other activity generated income 76 130 171%

Interest 78 26 33%

Sale of equipment 150 185 123%

Total other 2,890 1,989 69%

Total Income 21,658 20,757 96%

Expenditure

Salaries 12,195 11,899 98%

Operating 9,233 8,077 87%

Capital 230 67 29%

Total expenditure 21,658 20,043 93%

ABA surplus/(deficit) for the year 714

Less: carry forward 2015/2016 690

ABA surplus/(deficit) as at 30 June 2015 (3,712)

190 191

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

TABLE CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE

2009/2010 ACTUAL $

2010/2011 ACTUAL $

2011/2012 ACTUAL $

2012/2013 ACTUAL $

2013/2014 ACTUAL $

2014/2015 ACTUAL $

TOTAL ACTUAL $

NOTE 18C: ABA TOP END LAND AND SEA MANAGEMENT PROGRAM - S64

Income

Grant income - operational 2,278,812 1,286,772 - - - 2,156,466 5,722,050

Grant income - infrastructure - - - 870,000 - 1,912,874 2,782,874

Recoveries - 6,600 37,270 - 16,927 (29,425) 31,372

Total Income 2,278,812 1,293,372 37,270 870,000 16,927 4,039,915 8,536,296

Expenditure

Acacia Larrakia ranger group 45,425 49,571 21,153 - - - 116,149

Adjumarllarl ranger group 17,376 55,656 39,851 - - 57,268 170,150

SE Arafura/Gurrwiling ranger group 50,877 141,455 16,306 - 101,481 54,467 364,585

Asyrikarrak Kirim ranger group 44,165 42,881 72,282 - - - 159,328

Warramunburr 984 57,709 706 - - - 59,400

Bulgul ranger group 70,282 50,259 43,200 - 116,701 97,005 377,448

Garawa & Waanyi ranger group 62,374 113,846 65,109 - 111,458 133,864 486,651

Garngi ranger group 58,638 43,463 34,032 - 59,493 76,080 271,706

Malak Malak ranger group 53,949 13,735 15,618 - 37,617 43,815 164,735

Mardbalk ranger group 150,050 31,916 17,443 - 118,761 83,352 401,522

Gumurr Marthakal ranger group 161,536 30,225 - - - - 191,761

Mimal ranger group 34,944 59,590 63,569 - 78,132 130,443 366,678

Minyerri ranger group - - - - - - -

Numbulwar ranger group 2,461 19,186 23,137 - 10,886 13,936 69,606

Timber Creek ranger group 25,885 56,723 34,438 - 39,724 - 156,769

Wagiman Guwardagun ranger group 89,875 50,748 25,264 - 83,277 70,570 319,734

Wanga Djakamirr ranger group 46,652 22,667 50,246 - 33,916 43,228 196,710

Warramunburr ranger group 51,292 20,897 1,118 - - - 73,308

Wudicupildiyerr ranger group 50,973 47,946 29,905 - 12,969 - 141,793

Yugal Mangi ranger group 113,062 98,994 66,357 - 119,707 102,411 500,531

Infrastucture budget - - 422,018 275,954 73,107 1,475,944 2,247,022

Kenbi (Belyuen) - - 18,168 - 105,225 235 123,628

Bagala - - 124,803 - 25,970 26,993 177,766

Gurruwiling 17,866 55,255 73,121

Administration/project managment - NLC 20,809 172,546 491,146 - - - 684,501

Total expenditure 1,151,608 1,180,013 1,675,870 275,954 1,146,289 2,464,867 7,894,602

Commitments

Grant funds available 1,127,204 113,359 (1,638,600) 594,046 (1,129,362) 1,575,048 641,694

192 193

FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

NLC NATIVE TITLE REPRESENTATIVE BODY FINANCIAL STATEMENT

Opposite: NLC CEO Joe Morrison (left) in talks with the Indigenous Affairs Minister, Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion, at Gunyangara, during the visit of the Prime Minister to north east Arnhem Land, September 2014.

194 195

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

CONTENTS

STATEMENT BY THE DIRECTORS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER 1

96

STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME

1

97

STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION

1

98

STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN EQUITY

1

99

CASH FLOW STATEMENT

2

00

SCHEDULE OF COMMITMENTS

2

01

NOTE 1: S ummary of significant accounting policies 2 02

NOTE 2:

E

vents after the reporting period

20

8

NOTE 3:

E

xpenses 209

N

OTE 4:

I

ncome

2

10

NOTE 5:

F

inancial assets

2

11

NOTE 6:

P

ayables 2

13

NOTE 7:

P

rovisions 2

13

NOTE 8:

C

ash flow reconciliation

2

14

NOTE 9:

C

ontingent assets and liabilities

2

14

NOTE 10:

D

irectors and senior executive remuneration

2

14

NOTE 11:

R

emuneration of auditors

2

15

NOTE 12:

F

inancial instruments

2

15

NOTE 13:

D

PM&C grant: Native Title Representative Services

2

16

196 197

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30 JUNE 2015

NET COST OF SERVICES

NOTES

2015 $’000

2014 $’000

EXPENSES

Employee benefits 3A 2,593 3,243

Suppliers 3B 1,456 2,333

Write-down and impairment of assets 3C 284 167

Total expenses 4,333 5,743

OWN-SOURCE INCOME

Own-source revenue

Sale of goods and rendering of services 4A 1,434 1,125

Interest 4B 24 19

Total own-source revenue 1,458 1,144

Gains

Reversals of previous asset write-downs and impairments 4D - 393

Total gains - 393

Total own-source income 1,458 1,537

Net cost of services 2,875 4,206

Revenue from Government 4C 3,664 4,499

Surplus/(deficit) attributable to the Commonwealth Government 789 293

OTHER COMPREHENSIVE INCOME

Total other comprehensive income/(loss) - -

Total comprehensive income/(loss) attributable to the Commonwealth Government

789 293

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

STATEMENT BY THE ACCOUNTABLE AUTHORITIES AND GENERAL MANAGER CORPORATE COMPLIANCE

The Northern Land Council (NLC) is a Native Title Representative Body (NTRB) as prescribed in the Native Title Act 1993 and a land council under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. Since being recognised as an NTRB, the NLC has performed the functions of the NTRB in association with other NLC functions.

While separate books and records are not maintained by the NLC for the NTRB, the revenue and expenditure is recorded as separate cost centres within the NLC financial books and records for the current year and assets and liabilities have been able to be separately identified as detailed in note 1.

In our opinion, the attached financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2015 comply with subsection 42(2) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), and are based on properly maintained financial records as per subsection 41(2) of the PGPA Act.

In our opinion, at the date of this statement, there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Body will be able to pay its debts as and when they fall due.

This Statement is made in accordance with a resolution of the directors.

Si

gned: Si

gned:

Samuel Bush-Blanasi

J

oe Morrison

C

HAIRMAN

C

HIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

ACCOUNTABLE AUTHORITY

A

CCOUNTABLE AUTHORITY

S

igned:

S

teven Lawrence

A

CTING GENERAL MANAGER CORPORATE COMPLIANCE

05 October 2015

198 199

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN EQUITY FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30 JUNE 2015

RETAINED EARNINGS

TOTAL EQUITY

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

2015 $’000

2014 $’000

Opening balance

Balance carried forward from previous period 392 99 392 99

Comprehensive income

Surplus (deficit) for the period 789 293 789 293

Total comprehensive income 789 293 789 293

Closing balance attributable to the Commonwealth Government

1,181 392 1,181 392

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION AS AT 30 JUNE 2015

NOTES

2015 $’000

2014 $’000

ASSETS

Financial assets

Cash and cash equivalents 5A 2,311 1,312

Trade and other receivables 5B 160 256

Total financial assets 2,471 1,568

Total assets 2,471 1,568

LIABILITIES

Payables

Inter-entity payables 6A 663 570

Other payables 6B 269 155

Total payables 932 725

Provisions

Employee provisions 7A 358 451

Total provisions 358 451

Total liabilities 1,290 1,176

Net assets 1,181 392

EQUITY

Retained surplus/(accumulated deficit) 1,181 392

Total equity 1,181 392

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

SCHEDULE OF COMMITMENTS AS AT 30 JUNE 2015

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

BY TYPE

Commitments receivable

Net GST recoverable on commitments (4) -

Total commitments receivable (4) -

Commitments payable

Other commitments

Operational commitments 48 2

Total other commitments 48 2

Net commitments by type 44 2

BY MATURITY

Commitments receivable

Other commitments receivable

Within 1 year (4) -

Total other commitments receivable (4) -

Commitments payable

Other commitments

Within 1 year 48 2

Total other commitments 48 2

Net commitments by maturity 44 2

Note: Commitments are GST inclusive where relevant.

T

he nature of operational commitments are various goods & services ordered and not yet received.

The above schedule should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

CASH FLOW STATEMENT FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30 JUNE 2015

NOTES

2015 $’000

2014 $’000

OPERATING ACTIVITIES

Cash received

Receipts from Government 4,030 4,949

Sales of goods and rendering of services 1,371 1,257

Interest 24 19

Total cash received 5,425 6,225

Cash used

Employees (2,697) (3,154)

Suppliers (1,362) (2,331)

Net GST paid (367) (352)

Total cash used (4,426) (5,837)

Net cash from/(used by) operating activities 999 388

Net increase/(decrease) in cash held 999 388

Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the reporting period 1,312 924

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the reporting period 8 2,311 1,312

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

future economic benefits will flow to the entity or a future sacrifice of economic benefits will be required and the amounts of the assets or liabilities can be reliably measured. However, assets and liabilities arising under executor contracts are not recognised unless required by an accounting standard. Liabilities and assets that are unrecognised are reported in the schedule of commitments or contingencies note.

Unless alternative treatment is specifically required by an accounting standard, income and expenses are recognised in the statement of comprehensive income when, and only when the flow, consumption or loss of economic benefits has occurred and can be reliably measured.

1.3 S IGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING JUDGEMENTS AND ESTIMATES

No accounting assumptions or estimates have been identified that have a significant risk of causing a material adjustment to carrying amounts of assets and liabilities within the next reporting period.

1.4 N EW ACCOUNTING STANDARDS

ADOPTION OF NEW AUSTRALIAN ACCOUNTING STANDARD REQUIREMENTS

No accounting standard has been adopted earlier than the application date as stated in the standard.

The following new/revised/amending standards and/or interpretations were issued prior to the signing of the statement by the accountable authority, chief executive officer and general manager corporate compliance, were applicable to the current reporting period on the entity’s financial statements:

STANDARD/ INTERPRETATION NATURE OF CHANGE IN ACCOUNTING POLICY AND ADJUSTMENT TO FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

AASB 1031 Materiality (2013), AASB 2013-9 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards - Conceptual Framework, Materiality and Financial Instruments, AASB 2014-1 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards (Part C - Materiality)

Revised AASB 1031 is an interim standard that cross-references to other standards and the Framework for the Preparation and Presentation of Financial Statements that contain guidance on materiality. The standard does not impact the financial statements.

AASB 2012-3 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards - Offsetting Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities (AASB 132)

The standard addresses inconsistencies in current practice when applying the offsetting criteria in AASB 132 Financial Instruments: Presentation. The standard does not impact the financial statements.

AASB 2013-3 Amendments to AASB 136 - Recoverable Amount Disclosures for Non-Financial Assets

The amendments to AASB 136 Impairment of Assets address the disclosure of information about the recoverable amount of impaired assets if that amount is based on fair value less costs of disposal. The standard does not impact the financial statements.

AASB 2014-1 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards (Part A - Annual Improvements 2010-2012 and 2011-2013 Cycles)

Part A of the standard makes amendments to various Australian Accounting Standards (AASB 2, 3, 8, 9, 13, 116, 119, 124, 137, 138, 139, 140 & 1052 and Interpretation 129) arising from the issuance by IASB of IFRSs Annual Improvements to IFRS 2010-2012 Cycle and Annual Improvements to IFRSs 2011-2013 Cycle. The standard does not impact the financial statements.

NOTE 1: SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES

1.1 O VERVIEW

The Northern Land Council (NLC) is a Native Title Representative Body (NTRB) as prescribed in the Native Title Amendment Act 1998 and a Land Council under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. Since being recognised as an NTRB, the NLC has performed the functions of the NTRB in association with other NLC functions. It is a not-for-profit entity.

The general functions of the NTRB are to:

•

a

ssist claimants in the preparation of anthropological and historical evidence in support of their claim applications;

•

p

rovide claimants with legal representation e.g. negotiations for an Indigenous Land Use Agreement; and

•

a

ct as mediators between the claimants and the Government.

The NTRB is dependent on the continued release of these funds for its continued existence and ability to carry out its normal activities. The funding conditions of the NTRB are laid down by the Native Title Act, and any special purpose grant guidelines. Accounting for monies received from the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet (DPMC) is subject to conditions approved by the Land Rights Branch.

1.2 B ASIS OF PREPARATION OF THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

The financial statements are general purpose financial statements and are required by section 42 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and section 203DC (4) of the Native Title Amendment Act 1998.

The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with:

a)

F

inancial Reporting Rule (FRR) for reporting periods ending on or after 1 July 2014; and

b)

A

ustralian Accounting Standards and Interpretations issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) that apply for the reporting period.

The NLC has prepared the statement of comprehensive income, statement of financial position and cash flow statement applicable to the NTRB operation and function. All NTRB account balances have been identified from within the NLC financial information system and accurately extracted from the NLC accounts, representing the completeness and existence of all assets and liabilities of the NTRB. The NLC maintains an NTRB revenue and expenditure cost centre and the statement of comprehensive income is a complete and accurate record of NTRB revenue and expenditure.

The NTRB financial statements have been prepared on an accrual basis and in accordance with historical cost convention, except for certain assets and liabilities at fair value. Except where stated, no allowance is made for the effect of changing prices on the results or the financial position.

The financial statements are presented in Australian dollars and values are rounded to the nearest thousand dollars unless otherwise specified.

Unless an alternative treatment is specifically required by an accounting standard or the FRR, assets and liabilities are recognised in the NTRB statement of financial position when and only when it is probable that

204 205

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

1.5 R EVENUE

Revenue from the sale of goods is recognised when:

a)

t

he risks and rewards of ownership have been transferred to the buyer;

b) t

he Northern Land Council as an NTRB retains no managerial involvement or effective control over the goods;

c)

t

he revenue and transaction costs incurred can be reliably measured; and

d)

i

t is probable that the economic benefits associated with the transaction will flow to the NTRB.

Revenue from rendering of services is recognised by reference to the stage of completion of contracts at the reporting date. The revenue is recognised when:

a)

t

he amount of revenue, stage of completion and transaction costs incurred can be reliably measured; and

b)

t

he probable economic benefits with the transaction will flow to the entity.

The stage of completion of contracts at the reporting date is determined by reference to the proportion that costs incurred to date bear to the estimated total costs of the transaction.

Receivables for goods and services, which have 30 day terms, are recognised at the nominal amounts due less any impairment allowance account. Collectability of debts is reviewed as at the end of the reporting period. Allowances are made when collectability of the debt is no longer probable.

Interest revenue is recognised using the effective interest method as set out in AASB 139 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement.

REVENUES FROM GOVERNMENT

Funding received or receivable are recognised as Revenue from Government when the entity gains control of the appropriation, except for certain amounts that relate to activities that are reciprocal in nature, in which case revenue is recognised only when it is earned.

All other new/revised/amending standards and/or interpretations that were issued prior to sign-off date and are applicable to the current reporting period did not have a material effect, and are not expected to have a future material impact on the Northern Land Council’s financial statements.

FUTURE AUSTRALIAN ACCOUNTING STANDARD REQUIREMENTS

The following new/revised/amending standards and/or interpretations were issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board prior to the signing of the statement by the accountable authority, chief executive officer and general manager corporate compliance, on the entity’s financial statements for future reporting period(s):

STANDARD/ INTERPRETATION APPLICATION DATE NATURE OF IMPENDING CHANGE/S IN ACCOUNTING POLICY AND LIKELY IMPACT ON INITIAL APPLICATION

AASB 9 Financial Instruments (Dec 2014), AASB 2014-1 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards (Part E - Financial Instruments), AASB 2014-7 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards arising from AASB 9 (Dec 2014)

1 Jan 2018 The final version of AASB 9 brings together the classification and measurement, impairment and hedge accounting phases of the IASB’s project to replace AASB 139 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement. This version adds a new expected loss impairment model and limited amendments to classification and measurement for financial assets. The standard does not impact the financial statements.

AASB 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers, AASB 2014-5 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards arising from AASB 15

1 Jan 2017 AASB 15 outlines a single comprehensive model for entities to use in accounting for revenue arising from contracts with customers. It replaces several Standards and Interpretations, including AASB 111 Construction Contracts, AASB 118 Revenue, Interpretation 15 Agreements for the Construction of Real Estate, and Interpretation 18 Transfers of Assets from Customers. The standard does not impact the financial statements.

AASB 2014-4 Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards - Clarification of Acceptable Methods of Depreciation and Amortisation (AASB 116 & 138)

1 Jan 2016 Amends AASB 116 Property, Plant and Equipment and AASB 138 Intangible Assets to provide additional guidance on how the depreciation or amortisation of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets should be calculated. The standard does not impact the financial statements.

All other new/revised/amending standards and/or interpretations that were issued prior to the sign-off date and are applicable to future reporting period(s) are not expected to have a future material impact on the NTRB’s financial statements.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

1.9 F INANCIAL ASSETS

The NTRB classifies its financial assets in the following categories:

a)

loans and receivables’.

The classification depends on the nature and purpose of the financial assets and is determined at the time of initial recognition. Financial assets are recognised and derecognised upon trade date.

LOANS AND RECEIVABLES

Trade receivables, loans and other receivables that have fixed or determinable payments that are not quoted in an active market are classified as ‘loans and receivables’. Loans and receivables are measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method less impairment. Interest is recognised by applying the effective interest rate.

IMPAIRMENT OF FINANCIAL ASSETS

Financial assets are assessed for impairment at each reporting period.

Financial assets held at amortised cost - if there is objective evidence that an impairment loss has been incurred for loans and receivables or held to maturity investments held at amortised cost, the amount of the loss is measured as the difference between the asset’s carrying amount and the present value of estimated future cash flows discounted at the asset’s original effective interest rate. The carrying amount is reduced by way of an allowance account. The loss is recognised in the statement of comprehensive income.

1.10 F INANCIAL LIABILITIES

Financial liabilities are classified as either financial liabilities ‘at fair value through profit or loss’ or other financial liabilities. Financial liabilities are recognised and derecognised upon ‘trade date’.

OTHER FINANCIAL LIABILITIES

Other financial liabilities, including borrowings, are initially measured at fair value, net of transaction costs. These liabilities are subsequently measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method, with interest expense recognised on an effective yield basis.

The effective interest method is a method of calculating the amortised cost of a financial liability and of allocating interest expense over the relevant period. The effective interest rate is the rate that exactly discounts estimated future cash payments through the expected life of the financial liability, or, where appropriate, a shorter period.

Supplier and other payables are recognised at amortised cost. Liabilities are recognised to the extent that the goods or services have been received (and irrespective of having been invoiced).

1.6 E MPLOYEE BENEFITS

Liabilities for ‘short-term employee benefits’ (as defined in AASB 119 Employee Benefits) and termination benefits expected within twelve months of the end reporting period are measured at their nominal amounts

The nominal amount is calculated with regard to the rates expected to be paid on settlement of the liability.

LEAVE

The liability for employee benefits includes provisions for annual leave and long service leave. No provision has been made for sick leave as all sick leave is non-vesting and the average sick leave taken in future years by employees of the NTRB is estimated to be less than the annual entitlement for sick leave.

The leave liabilities are calculated on the basis of employees’ remuneration at the estimated salary rates that will be applied at the time the leave is taken, including the NTRB’s employer superannuation contribution rates to the extent that the leave is likely to be taken during service rather than paid out on termination.

The estimate of the present value of the long service leave liability takes into attrition rates and pay increases through promotion and inflation.

1.7 L EASES

A distinction is made between finance leases and operating leases. Finance leases effectively transfer from the lessor to the lessee substantially all the risks and rewards incidental to ownership of leased assets. An operating lease is a lease that is not a finance lease. In operating leases, the lessor effectively retains substantially all such risks and benefits.

Operating lease payments are expensed on a straight-line basis which is representative of the pattern of benefits derived from the leased assets.

1.8 C ASH

Cash is recognised at its nominal amount. Cash and cash equivalents include:

a)

c

ash on hand; and

b)

d

emand deposits in bank accounts with an original maturity of 3 months or less that are readily convertible to known amounts of cash and subject to insignificant risk of changes in value.

NTRB cash is received into the NTRB bank account. All payments are made from the NLC operating account. On a regular basis the funds are transferred from the NTRB bank account to the NLC operating account for the value of payments on behalf of the NTRB.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

NOTE 3: EXPENSES

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 3A: EMPLOYEE BENEFITS Wages and salaries 2,134 2,748

Superannuation 290 319

Leave and other entitlements 169 176

Total employee benefits 2,593 3,243

NOTE 3B: SUPPLIERS Goods and services supplied or rendered

Consultants 605 661

Stationery 26 20

Travel 256 892

Vehicle 128 257

Training 11 31

IT/communications 121 89

Other 194 248

Total goods and services supplied or rendered 1,341 2,198

Goods and services in connection with:

Provision of goods - external parties 274 499

Rendering of services - external parties 1,058 1,687

Rendering of services - external parties 9 12

Total goods and services 1,341 2,198

Other suppliers

Operating lease rentals:

Minimum lease payments 73 71

Workers compensation expenses 41 64

Total other supplier expenses 115 135

Total supplier expenses 1,456 2,333

NOTE 3D: WRITE-DOWN AND IMPAIRMENT OF ASSETS Impairment on financial instruments 284 167

Total write-down and impairment of assets 284 167

1.11 C ONTINGENT LIABILITIES AND CONTINGENT ASSETS

Contingent liabilities and contingent assets are not recognised in the statement of financial position but are reported in the notes. They may arise from uncertainty as to the existence of a liability or asset or represent an asset or liability in respect of which the amount cannot be reliably measured. Contingent assets are disclosed when settlement is probable but not virtually certain and contingent liabilities are disclosed when settlement is greater than remote.

1.12 TAXATION/COMPETITIVE NEUTRALITY

The NTRB is exempt from all forms of taxation except Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) and the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Revenues, expenses and assets are recognised net of GST except:

•

w

here the amount of GST incurred is not recoverable from the Australian Taxation Office; and

•

f

or receivables and payables.

COMPETITIVE NEUTRALITY

The NTRB does not provide any services on a for-profit basis. Under Competitive Neutrality arrangements, the NTRB is not required to make Australian Income Tax Equivalent payments to the Government.

NOTE 2: EVENTS AFTER THE REPORTING PERIOD

There are no events that have occurred after reporting date that have been brought to account in the 2014/2015 Financial Report.

210 211

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

NOTE 5: FINANCIAL ASSETS

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 5A: CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS Cash on deposit 2,311 1,312

Total cash and cash equivalents 2,311 1,312

NOTE 5B: TRADE AND OTHER RECEIVABLES Goods and services receivables in connection with:

External parties 617 429

Total goods and services receivable 617 429

Less impairment allowance

Goods and services (457) (173)

Total impairment allowance (457) (173)

Total trade and other receivables (net) 160 256

Trade and other receivables (net) expected to be recovered:

No more than 12 months 160 256

More than 12 months - -

Total trade and other receivables (net) 160 256

Trade and other receivables (gross) aged as follows:

Not overdue 24 63

Overdue by:

Less than 30 days 392 56

30 to 60 days 94 -

61 to 90 days 106 -

More than 90 days 1 310

Total trade and other receivables (gross) 617 429

Impairment allowance aged as follows:

Not overdue (24) (7)

Overdue by:

Less than 30 days (233) (57)

30 to 60 days (94) -

61 to 90 days (106) -

More than 90 days - (109)

Total impairment allowance (457) (173)

NOTE 4: INCOME

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

OWN-SOURCE REVENUE

NOTE 4A: SALE OF GOODS AND RENDERING OF SERVICES

Rendering of services external parties 1,434 1,125

Total sale of goods and rendering of services 1,434 1,125

NOTE 4B: INTEREST Deposits 24 19

Total interest 24 19

REVENUE FROM GOVERNMENT

NOTE 4C: REVENUE FROM GOVERNMENT Revenue from Government:

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet grant 3,664 4,499

Total revenue from Government 3,664 4,499

NOTE 4D: REVERSAL OF PREVIOUS ASSET WRITE-DOWNS AND IMPAIRMENTS Reversal of impairment losses - 393

Total reversals of previous asset writedowns and impairments - 393

212 213

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

NOTE 6: PAYABLES

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 6A: INTER-ENTITY PAYABLES

Payable to Northern Land Council 663 570

NOTE 6B: OTHER PAYABLES Trade payables 192 77

Salaries and wages 63 74

Accruals 14 4

Total other payables 269 155

Total payables 932 725

Total payables expected to be settled in:

No more than 12 months 932 725

More than 12 months - -

Total payables 932 725

Total payables in connection with:

External parties 677 570

Related entities 255 155

932 725

Settlement was usually made within 30 days.

NOTE 7: PROVISIONS

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 7A: EMPLOYEE PROVISIONS

Leave 358 451

Total employee provisions 358 451

Employee provisions expected to be settled in:

No more than 12 months 266 317

More than 12 months 92 134

Total employee provisions 358 451

NOTE 5B: TRADE AND OTHER RECEIVABLES (CONT’D)

RECONCILIATION OF THE IMPAIRMENT ALLOWANCE MOVEMENTS IN RELATION TO 2015

2015 $’000

GOODS AND SERVICES

TOTAL

Opening balance 173 173

Amounts recovered and reversed - -

Impairment allowance 284 284

Closing balance 457 457

MOVEMENTS IN RELATION TO 2014

2014 $’000

GOODS AND SERVICES

TOTAL

Opening balance 399 399

Amounts recovered and reversed (393) (393)

Impairment allowance 167 167

Closing balance 173 173

214 215

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

NOTE 11: REMUNERATION OF AUDITORS

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

Financial statement audit services provided to the Northern Land Council in regard to NTRB by the Australian National Audit Office:

Fair value of the services provided

Financial statement audit services 9 9

Total 9 9

No other services were provided by the auditor of the financial statements.

NOTE 12: FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

NOTE 12A: CATEGORIES OF FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS Financial assets

Loans and receivables

Cash on deposit 2,311 1,312

Trade and other receivables 160 256

Total financial assets 2,471 1,568

Financial liabilities

Amortised cost:

Inter-entity payables 663 570

Other payables 269 155

Total carrying amount of financial liabilities 932 725

NOTE 12B: NET GAIN OR LOSSES ON FINANCIAL ASSETS Loans and receivables

Interest revenue (see note 4B) 24 19

Net gain/(loss) on loans and receivables 24 19

NOTE 12C: FAIR VALUES OF FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

The carrying amount of the financial instruments are reasonable approximation of fair value due to their short-term nature.

NOTE 8: CASH FLOW RECONCILIATION

2015

$’000

2014 $’000

Reconciliation of cash and cash equivalents as per statement of financial position to cash flow statement

Cash and cash equivalents as per:

Cash flow statement 2,311 1,312

Statement of financial position 2,311 1,312

Difference - -

Reconciliation of net cost of services to net cash from operating activities:

Net cost of services (2,875) (4,206)

Revenue from Government 3,664 4,499

Movements in assets and liabilities

(Increase)/decrease in net receivables 96 (168)

(Increase)/decrease in employee provisions (93) 46

(Increase)/decrease in inter-entity payables 93 150

(Increase)/decrease in other payables 114 67

Net cash from (used by) operating activities 999 388

NOTE 9: CONTINGENT ASSETS AND LIABILITIES

QUANTIFIABLE CONTINGENCIES

T

he Northern Land Council as NTRB has undertaken an assessment of the reasonable potential liability arising out of litigation to which the NTRB is a party. As at 30 June 2015 the potential liability has been assessed as nil (no contigent liabilities in 2013/2014).

NOTE 10: SENIOR MANAGEMENT PERSONNEL REMUNERATION

There were no accountable authorities or executive remuneration payments made during the period with NTRB monies.

216 217

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

2014/2015

APPROVED BUDGET $

2014/2015

ACTUAL $

2014/2015

ACTUAL VS. BUDGET $

2014/2015

ACTUAL VS. BUDGET%

Services

Accommodation 72,930 72,930 - 100%

Motor vehicles - corporate 109,395 44,749 (64,646) 41%

Repair and maintenance - equipment 9,738 9,738 - 100%

Repair and maintenance - buildings 9,738 9,738 - 100%

Bank charges 12,604 - (12,604) 0%

Audit fees 13,134 11,700 (1,434) 89%

Consultants - attributable 806,732 581,346 (225,386) 0%

Communications, telephones, fax and IT 92,161 121,887 29,726 132%

Insurance 9,396 9,396 - 100%

Training and development

Governing committee 9,138 - (9,138) 0%

Staff 88,236 65,806 (22,430) 75%

Meeting expenses

Claimants 173,418 133,407 (40,011) 77%

Travel and allowances

Claimants 100,285 34,147 (66,138) 34%

Staff travel - corporate 19,865 1,825 (18,040) 9%

Staff travel - attributable 341,710 185,151 (156,559) 54%

Supplies and consumables

Office supplies and consumables - corporate 27,673 17,411 (10,263) 63%

Other operational

Recruitment and relocation 17,503 32,476 14,973 186%

Security 4,543 4,543 - 100%

Equipment 30,003 - (30,003) 0%

Policy and liaison 31,827 37,626 5,799 118%

Educational resources - land rights 31,827 25,379 (6,448) 80%

Other

NNTC contribution 20,000 12,000 (8,000) 60%

Pastoral lease claims 600,000 - (600,000)

Contested litigation - Borroloola 83,000 - (83,000)

Total expenditure 5,450,472 4,140,474 (1,309,998) 76%

Surplus (deficit) - 1,356,401 1,356,401 -

Carried forward 2015/2016 - 683,000 683,000 0%

Carried forward 2015/2016 projects - 185,000 185,000 0%

Surplus (deficit) after commitments - 488,401 488,401 -

NOTE 12D: CREDIT RISK

The NTRB was exposed to minimal credit risk as loans and receivables were cash and trade receivables.

The carrying amount of financial assets recorded in the financial statements, net of any allowances for losses, represents the NTRB’s maximum exposure to credit risk.

The NTRB only trades with recognised, creditworthy third parties. Exposure to credit risk is monitored by management on an ongoing basis.

The NTRB held no collateral to mitigate against credit risk.

NOTE 12E: LIQUIDITY RISK

The NTRB’s financial liabilities were payables. The exposure to liquidity risk was based on the notion that the NTRB will encounter difficulty in meeting its obligations associated with financial liabilities. This was highly unlikely due to government funding and mechanisms available to the entity and internal policies and procedures put in place to ensure there were appropriate resources to meet its financial obligations.

NOTE 12F: MARKET RISK

The NTRB held basic financial instruments that did not expose the entity to certain market risks, such as currency risk and other price risks.

NOTE 13: DEPARTMENT OF PRIME MINISTER & CABINET (DPMC) GRANT: NATIVE TITLE REPRESENTATIVE SERVICES

2014/2015

APPROVED BUDGET $

2014/2015

ACTUAL $

2014/2015

ACTUAL VS. BUDGET $

2014/2015

ACTUAL VS. BUDGET%

INCOME

Income 2014/2015 brought forward - 741,958 741,958 0%

Prior year deficit brought forward - (367,474) (367,474) 0%

DPMC funding - operational 3,723,000 2,981,042 (741,958) 80%

Other project income 984,472 1,433,991 (449,519) 146%

Interest income 60,000 24,359 35,641 41%

Supplementary bid 2014/2015 to be c/forward 683,000 683,000 - 100%

Total income 5,450,472 5,496,876 (781,352) 101%

EXPENDITURE

Operational

Salaries

Corporate staff (eg. accounting admin.) 89,693 254,212 164,519 283%

Project staff (eg. legal, anthropologists, field) 2,645,923 2,475,006 (170,917) 94%

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

ABORIGINAL LAND RIGHTS ACT

REQUIREMENT REFERENCE PAGE NO.

FEES Specify the total fees received for services provided by the land council: a)

u

nder Part IV (Mining); and b)

u

nder 33A for services prescribed by the regulations that it provides in performing any of its functions, whether in the reporting year or the previous year. Specify total fees received under s33B (other fees charged to the Commonwealth).

s37(2) 18

SECTION 35 DETERMINATIONS Include details of payments by the Council under Sec. 35 (2) or (3) and any determinations made by the Minister under Sec. 35 (6) made during the reporting year. Details of payments made by determination or otherwise under 35(2), 35(6), 35(4), 35(4B), 35(11), and 67B (6) must be provided and include, the recipient of the amount; the subsection under which the amount was paid; and the total of the amount paid.

s37(3) s37(4)

186, 187

DETAILS OF AMOUNTS HELD IN TRUST In respect of amounts paid to the Council and held in trust at the end of the year; provide details of the amount paid to Council and the year it was paid, the amount held in trust, and the mining operation concerned.

s37(5) 131

DELEGATIONS If there is a delegation under s28, particulars of activities during the year related to any delegated functions or activities must be provided.

s37(6) 142

COMMITTEES If a committee has been appointed under s29A to assist the Council in relation to the performance of any of its functions or the exercise of any of its powers, detailed information of its activities must be included.

s37(7) 141, 143

CONSULTANTS Specify each consultant engaged by council during the year and the amount paid to each consultant. In order for comprehensive information to be reported details of the nature of work undertaken the total cost of the consultancy and the reasons why a consultant was required could be included in addition to the details required by this provision.

s37(8) 136

COMMONWEALTH COMPLIANCE INDEX

PUBLIC GOVERNANCE, PERFORMANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT 2013 AND COMMONWEALTH ANNUAL REPORTING ORDERS

REQUIREMENT ANNUAL REPORTING

ORDERS 2011 CLAUSE

PAGE NO.

Approval by Directors Clause 6 11, 150

Details of exemptions granted by Finance Minister in regard to reporting requirements Clause 7 135

Enabling legislation Clause 10 135

Responsible Minister Clause 11 135

Ministerial Directions Clause 12 18

General Policy Orders Clause 12 18

Work Health and Safety Clause 12 142

Advertising and Market Research Clause 12 138

Disability Reporting Mechanisms Clause 12 NIL

Ecologically sustainable development and environmental performance

Clause 12 138

Information about Directors Clause 13 40-42

Organisational Structure Clause 14 46

Board Committees and their main responsibilities Clause 14 141, 143

Main corporate governance practices (i.e. risk management, ethics, education and performance review for directors) Clause 14 135

Related Entity Transaction Clause 15 136

Operational and financial results Clause 16 (b) 18, 149

Key changes to the authority’s state of affairs or principal activities Clause 16 (c) 18

Amendments to authority’s enabling legislation Clause 16 (d) 18

Significant judicial or administrative tribunal decisions Clause 17 (a) NIL

Reports made about the authority Clause 17 (b) NIL

Obtaining information from subsidiaries Clause 18 NIL

Indemnities and insurance premiums Clause 19 135

220 221

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL FINANCIAL REPORT 2014/2015

JACS T he NLC’s Jobs and Careers Service Unit

Land Council

A

n Aboriginal Land Council established in accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights Act

LIMS

T

he Northern Land Council’s Land Information Management System

LIR

L

and Interest Reference

Mining Act

M

ining Act Minerals Titles Act 2010

NAA

N

ational Archives of Australia

NAIDOC

N

ational Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee

NLC

N

orthern Land Council established under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act

NRETAS

N

orthern Territory Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts

NTA

C

ommonwealth Native Title Act 1993

NTRB

N

ative Title Representative Body

PBC

P

rescribed Body Corporate

SIR

S

trategic Indigenous Reserve, an amount of water set aside in a water allocation plan for Indigenous people in a water allocation plan area to support future water trading and economic development

TNRM

T

erritory Natural Resource Management - an independent, not-for-profit organisation that works with landholders, industry and government to ensure sustainable management of our water, land, soils, plants and animals

Traditional Owners

T

raditional Aboriginal Owners - a local descent group of Aboriginals who have common spiritual affiliations to a site on the land, being affiliations that place the group under a primary spiritual responsibility for that site and for the land; and are entitled by Aboriginal tradition to forage as or right over that land

WoC

W

orking on Country funding initiative of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

WoNS

We

eds of National Significance

Back cover: Flora and landscape, West Arnhem Land.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

AGREEMENTS

Land Use Agreements are generally leases or licences for the use of or to carry out activities on Aboriginal land issued in accordance with section 19 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

Indigenous Land Use Agreements are native title agreements about the management and use of lands and waters between native title claimants/ holders and other parties. Agreements reached through the native title negotiations process either before or after a native title determination is made.

Part IV Mining Agreements Exploration and mining agreements are entered into in accordance with the Part of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

ACRONYMS

ABA A boriginals Benefit Account

Aboriginal Land

L

and held by a Land Trust for an estate in fee simple; or land the subject of a deed of grant held in escrow by a Land Council. Aboriginal Land Trust established under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. Section 5 sets out the functions of Land Trusts. Section 7 deals with membership of Land Trusts

ALRA

A

boriginal Land Rights Act

APO NT

T

he Aboriginal Peak Organisations Northern Territory, which is an alliance between Northern Land Council (NLC), Central Land Council (CLC), North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA), Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the NT (AMSANT), Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS)

ATSI

A

boriginal and Torres Strait Islander

CFI

C

arbon Farming Initiative

CLC

C

entral Land Council established under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976

CSIRO

C

ommonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

DPMC

D

epartment of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

GIS

G

eographic Information System

IBA

I

ndigenous Business Australia

ICT

I

nformation and Communication Technology

ILC

I

ndigenous Land Corporation

ILUA

I

ndigenous Land Use Agreement

IPA

I

ndigenous Protected Area

IPP

I

ndigenous Pastoral Program

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL 45 Mitchell Street, Darwin NT 0800 | PO Box 1222, Darwin NT 0801 Phone: (08) 8920 5100 | Fax: (08) 8920 5256 Email: info@nlc.org.au | Website: www.nlc.org.au