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Northern Land Council—Report for 2018-19


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Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19

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Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

© Commonwealth of Australia 2019 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 2018/19, is provided under a Creative Commons Licence.

The details of the relevant licence conditions are available on the Creative Commons website at creativecommons.org/licences/by/3.0/au/, as is the full legal code for the CC BY 3 AU licence.

Wagiman rangers at fire management camp

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 INTRODUCTION

OUR VALUES We will:

• Consult with and act with the informed consent of Traditional Owners in accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights Act

• Communicate clearly with Aboriginal people, taking into account the linguistic diversity of the region

• Respect Aboriginal law and tradition

• Be responsive to Aboriginal peoples’ needs and effectively advocate for their interests

• Be accountable to the people we represent

• Behave in a manner that is appropriate and sensitive to cultural differences

• Act with integrity, honesty and fairness

• Uphold the principles and values of social justice

• Treat out stakeholders with respect

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.

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.

Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

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Saltmarsh

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19

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About this report About this report

The Northern Land Council’s Annual Report 2018/19 provides a comprehensive account of its performance from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 in accordance with its obligations under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, the Native Title Act 1993 and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (referred to throughout this document as the ALRA, the NTA and the PGPA Act, respectively).

The Annual Report 2018/19 is divided into five parts:

• About Us: Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life; history; our people and organisational structure.

• The Year in Review: the major issues and achievements for the reporting year.

• Corporate Governance and Management.

• Financial Statements: details on income and expenses for both the NLC as a Commonwealth entity and as a native title representative body.

• Appendices and references.

The NLC submits this report to the Minister for Indigenous Australians for tabling in the Australian Parliament.

INTRODUCTION

Pandanus on the Roper River at Ngukurr

Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 INTRODUCTION

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Contents OUR VALUES OUR VISION iii

ABOUT THIS REPORT v

THE NLC’S ACCOUNTABLE AUTHORITY 03 FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE SUMMARY 04 FINANCIAL SUMMARY 2018/19 06 FROM OUR CHAIRMAN 09

FROM OUR CEO 13

PART 1: ABOUT US 17

EXECUTIVE COUNCIL 23

MANAGEMENT 29

PART 2: THE YEAR IN REVIEW 35

Anthropology Branch 38

Branch Review and Restructure 38 Payment Agreement (Royalties) Policy and Processes 40

Dispute Conciliation 40

Present and Future Challenges 41 Land Interest References 41

GIS Section 42

Regional Profiles 43

Legal Branch 52

Sea Country 64

Background 64

Resolution 65

Caring for Country Branch 70

Learning on Country 72

Indigenous Protected Areas 83

Key Partnerships 88

National Parks 89

Information Technology 93

Training, Exchanges and Capacity Building 95

Women’s and Youth engagement 100

Regional Development Branch 104

Land Use Agreements 111

Commercial Development 119

Pastoral 121

ABA Homelands Project 127

Consultations 131

Minerals & Energy Branch 136

Activities 137

Land Rights Act Part IV (Mining) 146 Native Title Act (1993) 150

Community Planning & Development Unit 152

PART 3: CORPORATE 161

Corporate Plan 163

Strategic Plan 164

Human resources management 172 Capability 172

Workforce Diversity and Inclusion 175 Northern Land Council Annual Performance Statements 2018/2019 186

PART 4: FINANCIAL STATEMENTS 199

PART 5: APPENDICES 263

Council Meetings Attendance 264

Compliance Index 270

Glossary of Terms and Acronyms 273

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REGION LOCATION ADDRESS PHONE FAX

Darwin/Daly/ Wagait Darwin 45 Mitchell Street, Darwin NT 0800

(08) 8920 5100 (08) 8920 5255

Wadeye Lot 788, Kanarlda Street, Wadeye NT 0822 0418328843

West Arnhem Jabiru 3 Government Building, Flinders Street, Jabiru NT 0886

(08) 8938 3000 (08) 8979 2650

Maningrida Lot 739, Maningrida NT 0822 0456467984

East Arnhem Nhulunbuy Endeavour Street, Nhulunbuy NT 0880 (08) 8986 8500 (08) 8987 1334

Galiwin’ku Lot 78, Nurruwurrunhan Road, Galiwin’ku (08) 8970 5025

Katherine Katherine 5 Katherine Terrace, Katherine NT 0850 (08) 8971 9899 (08) 8972 2190

Ngukurr Ngukurr Balamurra Street,

Ngukurr NT 0852

(08) 8977 2500 (08) 8975 4601

Victoria River District Timber Creek

43 Wilson Street, Timber Creek NT 0850 (08) 8974 5600 (08) 8975 0664

Borroloola Barkly Borroloola Robinson Road, Mara Mara Camp, Borroloola NT 0854

(08) 8975 7500 (08) 8975 8745

Tennant Creek

178 Paterson Street, Tennant Creek NT 0860 (08) 8962 1884 (08) 8962 1636

CONTACT US

P: +61 (8) 8920 5100 / 1800 645 299 (Free Call) 8:00 - 4:30 pm (CST) weekdays F: +61 (8) 8945 2633

www.nlc.org.au

Northern Land Council GPO Box 1222, Darwin NT 0801

YOU CAN VISIT THE NLC AT THE FOLLOWING OFFICES:

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The Hon. Ken Wyatt AM MP Minister for Indigenous Australians PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister,

In accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, the Native Title Act 1993 and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, I am pleased to submit the Northern Land Council’s 2018/19 Annual Report.

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 Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014.

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 ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 INTRODUCTION

Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

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Burketown Ranger Forum

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19

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Highlights From Highlights From 2018/19 Activities 2018/19 Activities

• The Executive Council, Full Council and Chief Executive Officer approved 107 land use agreements under s19 of the Land Rights Act.

• The NLC held land use agreement consultations, which involved 11,145 Traditional Owners and met at 61 locations.

• The first sitting of the High Court of Australia in Darwin - in September 2018 - heard the Timber Creek Compensation case and was the first successfully litigated application for native title compensation in Australia.

• The NLC represented native title holders of the Jabiru and Pine Creek townships in consent determination proceedings in the Federal Court of Australia.

• Negotiation and signing of a Heads of Agreement at the Nitmiluk Full Council Meeting on 28 June 2019 as a significant step towards permanently settling the sea rights High Court matter commonly known as Blue Mud Bay.

• Development of TO-led sea country plans at three locations: Limmen Bight, Maningrida and Blue Mud Bay.

• Secured significant project capital from the Northern Territory Government’s inactive Ranger Grants Program.

• Worked with the NT Government to reform the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act to help secure powers for Indigenous rangers.

• NLC awarded the contract to host the Northern Australian Ranger forum in August 2019.

• Secured a substantial compliance and related training investment from the Australian Government.

• Grew the Learning on Country investment from six sites to twelve.

• Under the ALRA, income of $62,172,000 was generated from Aboriginal land during 2018/19.

• A total of 7709 royalty payments were made during 2018/19, worth $60,469,000.

• Eight Aboriginal groups committed more than $6.5 million for community benefit purposes, working with the NLC’s C P & D Program, and have delivered 24 community-led projects valued at about $2.5 million.

INTRODUCTION

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Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

The NLC’s Accountable Authority The Northern Land Council’s Accountable Authority, under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), comprises the Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer.

Mr 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 Bush-Blanasi is a strong advocate for the rights and interests of Aboriginal people.

He is committed to achieving equality for Aboriginal people to enable them to take part in social, political and economic activities, and to ensure the maintenance and protection of their cultural knowledge.

This is Mr Bush-Blanasi’s sixth term at the NLC.

He is also a board member of the Aboriginal Investment Group and has a long record of service on boards of several other Aboriginal bodies.

SAMUEL BUSH-BLANASI, CHAIRMAN

MARION SCRYMGOUR, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Ms Scrymgour took up the CEO’s position on a full-time basis in May 2019, becoming the first woman CEO of any land council in the Northern Territory. She was born and raised in Darwin. Her mother was a Tiwi Islander and her father was a member of the Stolen Generations, who was taken from his parents at Ti Tree in Central Australia.

After attending St Mary’s Catholic Primary School and O’Loughlin College, Ms Scrymgour went on to enjoy a successful career as a health service administrator in Katherine. In 2001, she was elected Member of the Legislative Assembly for the seat of Arafura, which covers the Tiwi Islands. Ms Scrymgour became the first Indigenous woman in parliament and later became the first Indigenous leader of an Australian government in history when she was made Deputy Chief Minister. She retired from politics at the 2012 election.

After working for several years for the Australian Red Cross, Ms Scrymgour returned to Katherine’s Wurli Wurlinjang Aboriginal Corporation as its CEO and was elected chairperson of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory. Her work was recognised in 2013 when the University of Sydney awarded her an honorary Doctor of Health Sciences degree.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 INTRODUCTION

Financial Performance Summary The NLC is primarily funded through the Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA), an account into which the Australian 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 the Native Title Act, the NLC receives funding under a number of separate grants.

The NLC is required to prepare audited financial statements for two separate accounting entities under two acts of the Commonwealth Parliament - the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA) and the Native Title Act. The NLC’s auditor is the Australian National Audit Office.

Financial statements that apply for the reporting period 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).

The full audited statements are reproduced from page 199.

External Funding NLC receives additional grant-based funding from a number of sources. The major external funding sources include:

• Working on Country funding for ranger groups - Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

• Real Jobs funding for ranger groups - Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC).

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 (PGPA), which stipulates that the NLC recover costs regarding the provision of products or services where it is efficient to do so.

Fees In accordance with subsection 37(2) of the ALRA, fees received for services by the NLC can be found at page 271.

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Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

Wagiman rangers camp at Menggen

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 INTRODUCTION

Financial Summary 2018/19 An operating surplus of $2.8 million was recorded in 2018/19, compared with a surplus of $800,000 in 2017/18.

Funding amounting to $2.6 million received against Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) was not rolled over to the next year, which is in line with the accounting standards. Funds were received for different projects with few of them in the later half of the year 2018/19 and NLC did not spend the complete amount by year end. So income has been recorded in 2018/19 while the expenditure will be incurred in 2019/20.

In 2018/19, the NLC’s operating result was $5.2 million favourable compared

with the annual forecast, with an actual surplus of $2.8 million compared with a budgeted deficit of $2.4 million.

Part of this variance is due to ABA funds (explained above) while the remaining is due to income relating to different fundings taken forward to the next financial year (originally budgeted for in 2018/19). Similarly, the expenses relating to these fundings were not incurred this year.

It is merely timing difference as income and expenditure were budgeted this year but will be incurred in next financial year.

FIGURE 1: Results: comparison with previous year and budget

ACTUAL 2018/19 $M

ACTUAL 2017/18 $M

VARIANCE

$M

BUDGET 2018/19 $M

VARIANCE

$M

Income 57.9 48.2 9.7 59.5 (1.6)

Expenses 55.1 47.4 7.7 61.9 (6.8)

Surplus / Deficit 2.8 0.8 2.0 (2.4) 5.2

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Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

Net Result

INCOME

In 2018/19, there was an overall increase in funding of $9.7 million (20%) compared with 2017/18. Funding can vary significantly from year to year depending on a number of factors, such as the number of major projects

being undertaken, litigation matters and the availability of funds in general from various sources. Figure 2 compares the change in income from 2017/18 with 2018/19 and the actual and budgeted results for 2018/19.

FIGURE 2: 2017/18 actual vs 2018/19 actual and budget

FIGURE 3: sources of revenue 2018/19

Figure 3 shows the sources of revenue in 2018/19 in percentage terms.

In 2018/19, 54% of the NLC’s income was via ABA funding (55% in 2017/18). The Native Title percentage went down to 10% (11% in 2017/18) while the Working on Country percentage went down to 13% (17% in 2017/18).

This was due to the addition of a new funding stream, Learning on Country, which formed 4% of the NLC’s income.

Other funding, which includes grants for numerous projects, recoverable works, revenue and minor sundry incomes, is the same as last year.

ABA Native Title

Working on Country Other

Leaning on Country

54%

13%

4%

10%

19%

0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000

ABA

Working on Country

Learning on Country

Native Title

Other

Actuals 17-18

Budget 18-19

Actuals 18-19

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 INTRODUCTION

Employee Costs

Supplies and Other Expenses

Other

52%

44%

4%

EXPENSES

Total expenses increased by $7.7 million in 2018/19 compared with 2017/18.

This was in line with increased revenues. Figure 4 shows the change in expenses

from 2017/18 to 2018/19 and the actual and budgeted results for 2018/19, while Figure 5 shows the 2018/19 expenditure in percentage terms.

FIGURE 4: 2017/18 actual vs 2018/19 actual and budget

In 2018/19, NLC’s employee costs accounted for 52% of total expenditure compared with 53% in 2017/18.

Supplier and other expenses increased to 44% in 2018/19 (up from 41% in the previous year) and other expenses, which include depreciation and amortisation, decreased from 6% to 4% as useful lives of assets was changed last year.

FIGURE 5: expenditure breakdown 2018/19

Actuals 17-18

Budget 18-19

Actuals 18-19

0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000

Employee Costs

Supplies & Other Expenses

Other

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Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

One of the most important events of the year was the 120th NLC Full Council meeting at Nitmiluk in late June 2019.

It was important for several reasons.

Firstly, it was the first held after the extraordinary Full Council meeting in early March 2019 called by the former Indigenous Affairs Minister. At the conclusion of that meeting Full Council members took strong action to ensure the NLC remained unified and I was heartened to see that resolve confirmed at the Nitmiluk meeting.

Secondly, after too many years of inaction and confusion, the Full Council meeting at Nitmiluk saw the signing of Heads of Agreement between the seafood industry, recreational and commercial fishers, the NLC and the NT Government to provide a path forward for final settlement of all of the outstanding issues related to the Blue Mud Bay court case.

Thirdly, all members at the Nitmiluk Full Council meeting welcomed our new CEO, Marion Scrymgour, who started work with the NLC on a part-time basis in late March and full-time from early May 2019.

Marion brings her exceptional management, political and personal skills to the NLC. I know that I speak for all of the NLC members in welcoming her to the NLC.

HOUSING Better housing for our people continues to be a big issue, which the NLC is determined to keep fighting for. We need to make sure we look after countrymen and women living in the larger towns as well as those living on homelands and outstations.

I have had a personal interest in improving housing in the bush from my days growing up in Bamilyi (now Barunga). Back then I lived in a small Kingstrand hut, which was hot in the wet season and freezing cold in the dry. Thankfully, those days are long past, but we are still faced with a remote housing system that is in crisis and has been for far too long.

Thankfully, there are signs of progress. Since 2015, I have been an active member of Aboriginal Housing NT (AHNT), a peak body organisation for all of the Aboriginal housing organisations across the NT.

Samuel Samuel Bush- Bush- Blanasi Blanasi

FROM OUR CHAIRMAN

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19

Great strides have been made in the past few years, including AHNT winning the 2018 NT Human Rights Commission’s Fitzgerald Award for Diversity. AHNT is expected to be incorporated as an Aboriginal corporation in the next few months and will continue its good work of collaborating with government, land councils and key stakeholders to progress Aboriginal housing outcomes in the NT to effect substantive change and to ensure the return of local decision-making on housing matters to communities.

Another important development for the NLC concerning housing is the establishment of the Joint Steering Committee (the JSC) on which representatives from all of the NT land councils, along with NT and Commonwealth government officers, will sit as full members to consider strategic and operational decisions and monitor progress of the next round of the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing (NPARIH).

NPARIH is expected to significantly reduce severe overcrowding, increase the

supply of new houses and improve the condition of existing ones, and ensure that rental houses in remote communities are well maintained and managed.

Like the earlier ones, the next NPARIH round will not provide housing to the smaller outstation and homeland communities in the NLC area. That is an important issue we will be concentrating on in the near future. There is some good news for outstation and homeland residents, though. For the past year, the NLC’s regional services branch has been involved in an ABA project specifically designed to provide infrastructure support to homelands. This will provide critical infrastructure improvements, which will address environmental health issues, reduce diesel consumption and create significant savings for homeland residents across the NLC area. These projects are expected to directly benefit hundreds of homes occupied by more than 1500 homeland residents and a large percentage of all Aboriginal people living on homelands across the NLC area.

INTRODUCTION

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Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

TREATY COMMISSIONER Another highlight of the Nitmiluk Full Council meeting was the presentation by the NT’s recently appointed Treaty Commissioner, Mick Dodson AM.

Commissioner Dodson has stressed the need to consult with our people as widely as possible and also to ensure that voices of women and youth are heard as part of that process. I welcome the announcement that a female deputy Treaty Commissioner will be appointed in the near future. The NLC looks forward to working closely with the Commissioner and his deputy in the coming months and years.

THANKS Finally I’d like to give warm thanks to the NLC members who have worked hard over the past year to represent their communities and organisations, especially the members of the Executive Council, which now has an increasing workload because of its delegation to approve most land use agreements.

Also, I take the opportunity to thank all of our staff who have, as they always do, put in a superb effort to manage and administer an increasing workload.

The organisation is in much better shape because of their dedication and hard work.

Samuel Bush-Blanasi CHAIRMAN

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19

Towards a Northern Territory Treaty - Treaty Principles TREATY PRINCIPLES The principles guiding the treaty consultation process, as laid out in the MoU, are:

• It is envisaged that should a Treaty ultimately be negotiated, it will be the foundation of lasting reconciliation between the First Nations of the Territory and other citizens with the object of achieving a united Northern Territory.

• All Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory need to be heard and the consultation process agreed to in this MoU needs to be inclusive, accessible and transparent to all.

• Traditional owners, as the original owners and occupiers of the Northern Territory, and represented by the Aboriginal land councils, are integral to consultation concerning a Treaty.

• All Territorians should ultimately benefit from any Treaty agreed in the Northern Territory.

• The NT Government must not exclude from discussions any legitimate issue raised by the parties or other Aboriginal people for inclusion in a Treaty while the consultation process agreed to in this MoU is underway.

It is agreed that:

• Aboriginal people, the First Nations, were the prior owners and occupiers of the land, seas and waters that are now called the Northern Territory of Australia.

• The First Nations of the Northern Territory were self-governing in accordance with their traditional laws and customs.

• First Nations peoples of the Northern Territory never ceded sovereignty of their lands, seas and waters.

• It is also agreed there has been deep injustice done to the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory, including violent dispossession, the repression of their languages and cultures, and the forcible removal of children from their families, which have left a legacy of trauma, and loss that needs to be addressed and healed.

• The Treaty must provide for substantive outcomes and honour the Articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

• Recognising that a treaty is of much wider significance than a normal agreement between the State and Indigenous peoples, it is also recognised that Treaty making involves the acceptance of responsibilities and obligations by all parties.

• The Treaty should aim to achieve successful co-existence between all Territorians, which starts with “truth telling” and involves hearing about, acknowledging and understanding the consequences of the Northern Territory’s history.

INTRODUCTION

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Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

GOVERNANCE CHALLENGES I first took on the role of NLC CEO on an interim part-time basis from late March 2019 after the Interim CEO was hospitalised. I then began working in the position on a substantive full-time basis from early May 2019.

The organisation had experienced some significant internal disruptions and governance challenges. Some of these arose from the structural tension arising from the nature of the NLC’s relationship with AIG.

Another continuing area of difficulty has been the interpretation and implementation of the “method of choice” process for selecting Full Council members approved by the previous Minister. In my view, the existing process should be further reviewed in the interests of both transparency and operational efficiency, but for the time being the existing process is in place and has been used to select the Full Council members, who will assemble for the first meeting of the new Council at the beginning of December.

It will then be up to the new Council and the new Executive to consider the best way forward. The goal will be to ensure

that the process is fully and appropriately inclusive of Traditional Owners and native title holders across their respective estates and regions within the NLC’s boundaries.

We will all be trying our best to preserve and develop the legacy of NLC members, leaders, and dedicated staff members, who have worked hard over the decades to achieve and harness land rights for our people in the Northern Territory.

There is general agreement that there is strength in unity and diversity. The NLC’s size and substance in terms of being an authoritative voice for Traditional Owners from the Western Australia border to the Queensland border is part of what gives the organisation its capacity to achieve outcomes on critical issues.

The challenge for the future is to ensure that the NLC is operationally sensitive and attuned to the needs and wishes of even our smallest communities, so that our broad-based model of governance can remain intact and undiminished.

Marion Marion Scrymgour Scrymgour

FROM OUR CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19

ALRA The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act (ALRA) has enabled many Aboriginal Traditional Owner groups in the Northern Territory to enjoy what is by far the strongest form of land title for Indigenous people in this country. Through a combination of the scheduling of reserve and some special areas, and the successful claiming of other Crown land available for claim, the NLC now administers a large part of the Top End, including much of its coastline.

The main mechanism for making use of this land under ALRA title is the s19 lease or licence. In my relatively short period as CEO, I have heard and taken on board the concerns of some communities and Traditional Owners and will be looking to review our s19 processes in the coming year with a view to improving our service delivery. Because use and development of ALRA land requires leasing, the NLC and the other three land councils necessarily have a place at the table when it comes to improving the way governments deliver community housing in ALRA land communities. The relationships between the land councils and the NT and Commonwealth governments are in the process of being reconfigured, and a new entity has been established to progress these changes, with our Chairman as first Chair. Although no fresh land claims can be submitted under ALRA, there is a backlog of past claims still to be pursued, mostly to beds and banks of rivers. This is a priority area of NLC work to be undertaken in the coming year, and will be the subject of future reports.

One important example of the superiority of ALRA title is that the grants of coastal land around the Top End have extended to the low water mark. This has meant that the land and waters in the inter-tidal zone in effect belong to the Traditional Owners who are the beneficiaries of the relevant land trust.

This concept, confirmed as a result of the lengthy Blue Mud Bay case litigation, has been hard for some non-Aboriginal stakeholders to absorb, but the climate of hostility and opposition that followed the initial court decisions is now being replaced by a sensible relationship of cooperation and pragmatism. The Deputy Chairman in particular is to be commended for his nuanced and carefully articulated messaging in the media. This has been to the effect that while Aboriginal ownership is to be respected and access rules complied with, there is a pathway forwards to mutual benefit and co-existence between stakeholders.

The land councils established under ALRA are funded through the Aboriginals Benefits Account (ABA), which is sourced from mining royalty equivalents and has been used to pay for a range of projects and capital works over the decades. Allocations from ABA are ultimately determined by the Commonwealth minister responsible for ALRA. The CEOs of the other three NT land councils and I are looking forward to working with Minister Wyatt in relation to a process for the vetting and approval of ABA applications that better reflect the interests of Traditional Owners and the issues that the ALRA was enacted to address.

INTRODUCTION

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Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

NATIVE TITLE Not long before my commencement at the NLC, the High Court handed down its judgement in relation to the Timber Creek native title compensation case. The clarification of the law in this area provides potential opportunities to be pursued but will also require the two mainland land councils to work together to hose down concerns raised by some stakeholders that their operations and interests will be threatened. This in particular relates to potential compensation claims relating to structural works undertaken on pastoral land. The preservation and protection of native title rights in pastoral country is likely to be an important issue over the coming year, in circumstances where pastoralists are seeking increasingly streamlined approval processes for undertaking non-pastoral business operations on land allocated to them for the running of cattle. The Northern Territory Government is proposing an enhancement of Native Title Act rights in relation to applications over a stipulated projected dollar value, to be called a “Territory right to negotiate”. The NT Cattlemen’s Association is strongly opposed to that course, and the competing arguments that we will

have to engage in will take us back to the High Court’s judgement in the Wik case.

It is to be hoped that common sense and fair dealing all round will prevail, in a way that does not leave historically marginalised native title claimants and holders with no real say in how their traditional country is developed.

The other big development in the native title area has been the Full Federal Court’s judgement in the Quall case. The process of consultation that preceded the ILUA entered into for the purpose of finalising the Kenbi Land Claim will be the subject of internal review. There are always going to be things that the NLC can do better and it is particularly important that the NLC engages in full consultations with identified Larrakia stakeholders. Nevertheless, the technical legal issue in the Quall case relates to a delegation process that has been routinely adopted not just by the NLC but by native title registered bodies throughout the country. In those circumstances, the Full Council has made the decision to try to appeal further to the High Court.

Marion Scrymgour, The Hon Minister Ken Wyatt, Joe Martin-Jard (CEO Central LC), Andrew Tipungwuti (CEO Tiwi LC) and Mark Hewitt {CEO Anindiliyakwa LC)

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19

NLC and AIG The purpose of the Aboriginal Investment Group has always been to generate and grow investment for current and future generations of Aboriginal people living in the NLC area, in particular those residing on Aboriginal land.

AIG and NLC have different jobs to do, and although the NLC is AIG’s major shareholder, the difficulties we have encountered this year arise from the NLC Executive also playing the role of directors of AIG. The Executive of the NLC have made it clear that a new pathway needs to be found and taken. The Executive members have recognised this for many years and the work towards a greater degree of structural separation between NLC and AIG has now commenced.

In the meantime, as a result of independent legal advice that the NLC has obtained, it has become apparent that the NLC must “consolidate” its accounts together with those of AIG to comply with the relevant applicable Australian accounting standard. That is a completely new development for the NLC and to some extent introduces an element of uncertainty into our financial planning.

INTRODUCTION

Marion Scrymgour, Pat Turner and Trish Rigby - Nitmiluk, June 2019

ADVOCACY and NEGOTIATION As well as having a number of extremely constructive meetings with our new Minister, Ken Wyatt and his NIAA staff, I have had numerous meetings with representatives of the Northern Territory Government and various stakeholder bodies.

Issues covered have ranged from community housing, permit reform, outstations/homeland infrastructure funding, regional development, leases to NT local government bodies, the role of Traditional Owners and land councils in the development of the NT (in particular at the Facing The North conference), water security, hydraulic fracturing, morgues and remote health service provision.

THANKS I thank the Chairman and the Council for the opportunity to try to make a difference for our mob on the ground. In particular, I thank all the NLC’s hardworking staff, including those located at our more remote regional offices, for their commitment and dedication.

Marion Scrymgour CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

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About Us About Us Part 1 Part 1 OUR LAND, OUR SEA, OUR LIFE

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 ABOUT US

History The Northern Land Council became a corporate Commonwealth entity, responsible for assisting Aboriginal people in the northern region of the Northern Territory to acquire and manage traditional land and seas, following the enactment of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA).

The ALRA was passed by the Coalition government led by Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and was largely based on a bill proposed by the previous Labor government led by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.

Whitlam’s bill was in response to many years of agitation for land rights by Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory, especially in response to the Gove Land Rights case (Milirrpum & others v. Nalbalco Pty. Ltd. and the Commonwealth of Australia).

In 1963, the Yolngu people of east Arnhem Land had presented the Commonwealth Parliament with a bark petition, protesting against plans by Nabalco (the North Australian Bauxite and Alumina Company) to use a great swathe of their land on the Gove Peninsula for bauxite mining (the petition remains on display at Parliament House in Canberra).

The Yolngu took the matter to the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, claiming that their lands had been unlawfully invaded.

Justice Richard Blackburn decided against the Yolngu in April 1971, ruling that the common law did not recognise communal native title and that any pre-existing rights to land would have been extinguished by the assertion of sovereignty by the British crown.

There had been protests for land rights elsewhere in the Northern Territory. 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.

Soon after gaining government in 1972, Prime Minister Whitlam appointed Justice Edward Woodward to conduct a Commission of Inquiry into the appropriate way to recognise Aboriginal land rights in the Northern Territory.

The Northern Land Council 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.

More than 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 impacting on their lands, seas and communities. The ALRA 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.

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Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

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, their 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 ALRA and the Native Title Act - and the views of our stakeholders. A full explanation of our legislative obligations and how these are being addressed is provided in the NLC’s Corporate Plan 2018/2019-2022/2023.

Visit the NLC’s website at www.nlc.org.au

Whom we serve The diversity of skills and experience of our staff helps to build strong relationships and effective partnerships. We undertake to:

• Consult with and act with the informed consent of Traditional Owners in accordance with the ALRA.

• Communicate clearly with Aboriginal people, taking into account the linguistic diversity of the region.

• Respect Aboriginal law and tradition.

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

• Be accountable to the people we represent.

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

• Act with integrity, honesty and fairness.

• Uphold the principles and values of social justice.

• Treat our stakeholders with respect.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 ABOUT US

Traditional Owners Since the enactment of the ALRA and the Native Title Act, approximately 50 per cent of land in the Northern Territory has become legally Aboriginal-owned, including 85 per cent 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 per cent live in regional and remote areas - in nearly 200 communities ranging in size from small family outstations to communities with populations of about 3000.

The majority of Aboriginal people in the NLC region speak an Aboriginal language as their first language. Many are multilingual, 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 and 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 take part in planning and development activities while at the same time protecting their cultural integrity.

Regions The NLC is divided into seven regions: Darwin/Daly/Wagait, West Arnhem, East Arnhem, Katherine, VRD, Ngukurr and Borroloola-Barkly, each represented by a regional council. One member from each region is elected to sit on the NLC’s Executive Council.

The NLC has 10 offices beyond Darwin - in Katherine, Jabiru, Nhulunbuy, Timber Creek, Tennant Creek, Ngukurr, Borroloola, Wadeye, Maningrida and Galiwin’ku.

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Our Council The responsible Commonwealth Minister approves the method of choosing members of the NLC, including the community and/ or outstation area represented. Section 29 of the ALRA 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 elected for a three-year term. The next Full Council election will be in late 2019.

A list of Council members by region, and attendance tables for regional council meetings during the reporting year, can be found in the appendix (page 264).

The Full Council shapes the policy and strategic direction of the NLC. The Full Council, which meets twice a year, has delegated most of its powers to approve exploration and petroleum licence applications, and section 19 land use agreements under the ALRA to the Executive and Regional councils.

The Chairman (Mr Samuel Bush- Blanasi) and Deputy Chairman (Mr John Christophersen) were elected at the first meeting of the current Full Council at Timber Creek in November 2016.

Along with one member nominated from each of the NLC’s 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 Executive Council meets at least six times a year and is responsible for managing business between Full Council meetings.

Full, Executive Council and Regional Council meetings receive operational and financial reports from NLC branch managers to provide direction for staff to meet performance objectives and targets.

Induction and governance training sessions are provided to all new and returning council members. Capacity building also occurs during council meetings when government officials, politicians and various experts are invited to make special presentations.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 ABOUT US

Darwin

Jabiru

Nhulunbuy

Katherine

Ngukurr

Wadeye

Timber Creek

Borroloola

Tennant Creek

Central Land Council

Tiwi Land Council

Anindilyakwa Land Council

Maningrida

Galiwin’ku

Darwin/Daly/Wagait

West Arnhem

Ngukurr

East Arnhem

Victoria River District

Borroloola / Barkly

FIGURE 6: NLC regions and regional offices

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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 an artist who brings a wealth of administrative and social experience to the NLC.

This is Mr Blanasi’s sixth term at the NLC. He is also a board member of the Aboriginal Investment Group and has a long record of community service.

NLC Executive Council Members

WEST ARNHEM REGION

John Christophersen Deputy Chairman

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 is 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.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 ABOUT US

BORROLOOLA/BARKLY REGION

Richard Dixon Executive Member

Richard Dixon is a Garawa man from Robinson River, and is the senior Traditional Owner for the community area lease. He is a member and former director of the Gulf Savannah NT Aboriginal Corporation, whose principal function is to provide Community Development Program services to the Gulf region. He is also a member and former chairman of the Mungoorbada Aboriginal Corporation, which delivers a range of essential services to Robinson River residents, including through its community store. His vision is to help his people and the government to work together.

DARWIN/DALY/WAGAIT REGION

Elizabeth Sullivan Executive Member

Elizabeth Sullivan is a Wagaman woman who lives in Pine Creek and has been a Council member since 2012. She has also worked for the NLC as a casual ranger. In her position as an Executive Councillor, she wants to help members in her region develop economically: “I’m not superhuman, but I will do the best I can to support their decisions and interests for the best possible outcome.”

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EAST ARNHEM REGION

Bobby Wunungmurra Executive Member

Bobby Wungunmurra, a Dhalwangu man, lives at Gapuwiak, where he works as an employment consultant and is a liaison officer at Miwatj Employment Participation. He was elected to the Executive Council in November 2016 and his appointment ceased in February 2019. He has served on the Executive previously. He was also an NLC member in the late 1980s. “I want to look after the people better and help to improve relations so that we get better government services,” Bobby says. His vision is for Aboriginal people to run their own businesses.

Djawa Yunupingu

Djawa Yunupingu was appointed as executive council representative for the East Arnhem Region on the 21 February 2019.

WEST ARNHEM REGION

Ronald Lami Lami Executive Member

Ronald Lami Lami is a Mayurrulibj man from the East Wellington Range on the mainland, south of South Goulburn Island. This is his first term as an NLC member. Schooled at Kormilda College and Darwin High School, he did an apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic and worked first at Perkins Shipping. In the 1980s, he worked on the Pancontinental Jabiluka project before undertaking a 12-month Community Development course and using those skills at ERA’s Community Development Unit at Jabiru. Later he was manager of the Red Lily Health Board. He’s also been a member of ATSIC, and chaired its Jabiru Regional Council. As an NLC member he wants to help countrymen gain a better knowledge of the NLC: “They rely on the NLC a lot, but many don’t understand enough about what the NLC does,” he says.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 ABOUT US

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. Helen is keen to promote women’s issues and wants to help Aboriginal people develop economic enterprises on homelands.

NGUKURR

Peter Lansen Executive Member

Peter Lansen, who is of Alawa and Mara heritage, is a long-standing member of the NLC; this is his third non-consecutive term as a member of the Executive Council. He works as a labourer at Minyerri.

Last year, he returned as a director of the Alawa Aboriginal Corporation and is a former director of Sunrise Health. “I want to perform well for my people,” Peter says. “I’m still young, and I want to pave the way for tomorrow’s children. I want to be that voice for tomorrow.”

VICTORIA RIVER DISTRICT

Raymond Hector Executive Member

Raymond Hector was born in Darwin in 1970 and schooled at Kormilda College. He was a health worker for many years at home in Pigeon Hole.

As a member of the Executive Council, Raymond, who is from the Billarna people, says his position 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 to care for and control their land.

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Administration 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 and is responsible for the leadership and management of the organisation, with the delegation to employ and dismiss all staff, implementing Full Council decisions, driving the NLC’s strategic direction, setting priorities and enforcing sound corporate governance.

Seven branches support the CEO:

• Executive (previously Secretariat): provides support to the CEO and Chairman and to the NLC’s elected arms; manages policy, communications, complaints and sea country matters;

• Legal: provides sound legal advice to the administrative and elected arms;

• Anthropology: identifies and consults with Traditional Owners to secure and protect rights in land.

• Regional Development: oversees the NLC’s network of regional offices beyond Darwin and provides logistic support for consultations required under ALRA and the Native Title Act.

• Caring 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. Also, the branch will soon assume management of the Commonwealth- funded Learning on Country program.

• Minerals and Energy: provides advice to enable Aboriginal people to understand and consider proposals to explore for and mine minerals or petroleum products on their land.

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

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 ABOUT US

FIGURE 7: NLC Organisational Structure

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ANTHROPOLOGY

Dr Stephen Johnson Branch Manager

Dr Stephen Johnson was appointed manager of the Anthropology Branch in August 2015. He has extensive experience working with Indigenous people in land and sea management, community and economic development and sustainable resource use.

The branch employs anthropologists, mapping professionals and administrative staff.

A key objective of the NLC is to help Aboriginal people obtain property rights. The branch contributes by undertaking research for land claims, native title claims and distribution of royalties.

Cultural heritage, site clearances and geographic information services are essential for effective consultations with Traditional Owners and native title holders. The Land Interest Reference Register informs staff as to whom they need to consult.

CARING FOR COUNTRY

Matthew Salmon Branch Manager

Matthew Salmon was appointed manager of the Caring for Country Branch in April 2016.

He played a major role in the design and development of land management and ranger programs in Central Australia for 10 years and had most recently been Director of Operations and Policy for Parks Australia with responsibility for Kakadu and Uluru national parks.

The Caring for Country Branch supports 16 ranger groups and three Indigenous Protected Areas. It also oversees the joint management of national parks.

Management

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 ABOUT US

CORPORATE SERVICES

Joe Valenti (to 22 March 2019)

Irfan Bashir Bhat Chief Financial Officer

Joe Valenti was appointed to the new role of Chief Financial Officer in November 2015, having had extensive experience in university and business sectors.

Irfan Bhat, who has had extensive experience in senior financial roles during his career, has been with the NLC since 2013 working in various position within finance and was appointed to the role of Chief Financial Officer in June 2019.

The Corporate Services Branch provides the financial administration, manages operational funding and oversees the corporate compliance within the NLC to meet strategic planning outcomes. It presides over Financial Management, Royalty, the Project Management Unit (PMU), Information Technology, Information Management, Fleet and Property and Human Resources Services to provide an essential, professional and accountable customer service.

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EXECUTIVE BRANCH

Murray McLaughlin (to 4 December 2018)

Robert Gosford (from 6 March 2019)

Manager Policy and Communications

Murray McLaughlin joined the NLC in October 2013 and was appointed manager in October 2016. Robert Gosford has a long history of working for NT Aboriginal organisations, including the Northern and Central land councils.

The Executive Branch was renamed from Secretariat Branch in 2017. It works closely with the CEO and Chairman, co-ordinates council meetings and liaises with council members.

The branch also incorporates the new Community Planning and Development Unit. It also develops (external) policies, including Sea Country matters, and manages communications, including publications and dealings with news media.

It also provides advice to the NLC, Traditional Owners and Aboriginal corporations on matters such as agreements, litigation and law reform.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 ABOUT US

LEGAL BRANCH

Michael O’Donnell Principal Legal Officer (to 22 March 2019)

Michael O’Donnell joined the NLC as Principal Legal Officer in 2015 after an extensive career as a barrister with expertise in native title law, policy and practice, and Indigenous legal issues. He was legal adviser to the Kimberly Land Council in the negotiation of the Native Title Act in 1993.

The Legal Branch is one of the biggest legal practices in the Northern Territory and provides advice to the NLC, Traditional Owners and Aboriginal corporations on matters including agreements, litigation and law reform.

MINERALS AND ENERGY BRANCH

Rhonda Yates (to October 2019)

Greg MacDonald (from October 2019)

Branch Manager

Rhonda Yates had a long career across various branches of the NLC before she was appointed Manager of the Minerals and Energy Branch in 2013.

Greg McDonald has been employed with the NLC since 2012 and was appointed Manager Minerals and Energy in October 2018. Before joining the NLC, he held senior management roles in the humanitarian relief, environmental management and mining sectors.

The Minerals and Energy Branch is responsible for oversight of the NLC’s obligations related to mining, petroleum and associated activities under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, the Native Title Act 1993, and minerals and energy agreements.

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REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT BRANCH

Jonathan McLeod Manager North

Jonathan McLeod had extensive experience working in Indigenous Affairs for the Commonwealth Government before he joined the NLC in September 2011.

The NLC’s jurisdiction covers a vast area of land and sea, and the branch’s operations are divided in two, north and south.

The branch manages the regional office network, the Indigenous pastoral program and section 19 land use agreements. It also processes applications for permits and funeral grants.

Mr McLeod oversees the NLC’s Darwin/ Daly/ Wagait, West Arnhem and East Arnhem regions.

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT BRANCH

Rick Fletcher Manager South

Rick Fletcher joined the NLC in August 2015, having had extensive experience with other Indigenous organisations at management level.

His operations are similar to those in the northern area, including oversight of land use agreements and the NLC’s pastoral program, and the processing of applications for permits and funeral grants.

Mr Fletcher manages the NLC’s Katherine, Ngukurr, Borroloola/Barkly and Victoria River District regions.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 ABOUT US

COMMUNITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT

Dr Danielle Campbell (to 27 September 2018)

Lorrae McArthur Manager

Danielle Campbell played a lead role in designing and delivering the Central Land Council’s Community Development Program and managed its rapid expansion between 2007 and 2016. Dr Campbell joined the NLC in 2016 to start a similar program in the Top End.

Lorrae McArthur

During this period, Aboriginal Traditional Owner and community groups planned, funded and implemented hundreds of development initiatives using more than $50 million of their own income from land use agreements.

HUMAN RESOURCES

Kathryn Laferla Manager (To May 2019)

Kathryn Laferla was appointed Human Resources Manager in December 2016. She has worked in human resources for more than 10 years in the mining and construction industry and recently for a large Pilbara-based Aboriginal corporation.

The Human Resource Team is responsible for end-to-end human resource functions, including payroll and remuneration, workplace health and safety, and training and development.

The Year The Year in Review in Review

Part 2 Part 2

Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

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Wagiman country

OUR LAND, OUR SEA, OUR LIFE

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

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The major issues and achievements for the reporting year This part of the annual report will inform you of the extensive range of activities undertaken by the NLC over the past year, branch by branch, unit by unit.

The NLC’s outdoor activities extend over a vast area of land and sea, requiring dedicated staff prepared to travel long distances to conduct consultations and other business in very remote country.

During the last reporting year the NLC’s vehicle fleet travelled more than two million kilometres.

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Marralum homeland, Keep River district

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Anthropology Branch Anthropology Branch

The Anthropology Branch encountered many challenges during the 2018/19 financial year. In spite of these, many of the positive reforms identified in previous reporting periods have been progressed and, in some cases, either partially or fully implemented. These gains, as well as challenges, are summarised below and are followed by an overview of the various sections that make up the Anthropology Branch, including a synopsis of five of the regions that fall within our jurisdiction.

Branch Review and Restructure Recently introduced structural reforms have successfully addressed unacceptable management-to-staff ratios. To consolidate this success, funding has been reserved to enable an upgrade to existing positions within the branch and the creation of a new one.

These new senior anthropologists will report to the Branch Manager and share responsibility for the mentorship of regional anthropologists, both Native Title and ABA funded, as well as taking on a number of HR, dispute conciliation, middle management and business planning tasks.

Staff in the new positions will work in consort with the two existing senior anthropologists - Native Title and Land Claims - who have formerly taken on this role on an ad hoc basis, thus freeing them to work exclusively on the prosecution of Native Title and ALRA matters.

This restructure and reform process will increase branch efficiencies yet again.

The redrawing of regional boundaries undertaken over previous years is also imminent with the finalisation of a project database clearly identifying respective workloads. This realignment and reassignment will also contribute to reducing workplace stresses by ensuring a more equitable work share across the branch (see Regional Profiles).

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Staff retention and wellbeing Some setbacks have been experienced. A full staff complement was reported in 2017/18, but the progressive reforms have since been accompanied by the loss of several regional anthropologists. Staff retention is among the most challenging issues facing the branch. Reasons for the relatively high resignation rates vary but in summary appear due primarily to:

• The Northern Territory’s historically transient population.

• Workload, lack of capacity and commensurate job intensity.

• The challenging nature of a cross-cultural work place.

• The limited pool of qualified anthropologists willing to work in an Australian Aboriginal space.

• The royalties/disbursement workload.

Several initiatives and incentives - in place and proposed - are designed to alleviate the problem.

For example, the management restructure will provide increased mentorship and greater management oversight of staff, thus providing more immediate support and alleviating some workplace pressures. In addition, increased remuneration, and the development of professional training and career pathways, will provide incentives for employment longevity.

Other strategies to be considered include the ramping up of existing Indigenous employment pathways through education/ training for service initiatives, which are intended to address employment transience by providing opportunities for Aboriginal people, many of whom are inclined to seek long-term careers in the Territory. The initiative also supports the Land Council’s preferred Indigenous employment policy while also offering pathways to career advancement rather than mere static employment options in lower organisational tiers.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Payment Agreement (Royalties) Policy and Processes Close collaboration across the Land Council has culminated in the endorsement of a Payment Agreement Policy at Full Council in November 2018. The policy provides an overarching structure for the incremental reforms introduced over previous years, and over coming years will result in a refined and much more efficient disbursement system.

The reforms include the implementation of three to five-year standing agreements for recurrent payments; an increased hotline capacity; the introduction of future purpose (previously known as “emergency”) payment release forms; the appointment of a full-time Disbursement Processing Officer; and the establishment of a Project Management Unit.

The rollout of this revised system is underway with a number of trials already in place and meeting with varying degrees of success. The next implementation phase will consist of a number of branch workshops to be held in Darwin and regional centres with a complete communication

package in draft awaiting finalisation and delivery over the coming financial year.

Disbursement 2015 - 2019.

Disbursement Totals by Financial Year.

AVG. MONTHLY SINCE 2015 = $1,769,120.41

AVG. MONTHLY LAST FY = $2,000,953.47

Dispute Conciliation Some traction has been gained on certain dispute conciliation matters, but with the dynamic nature of Aboriginal society, these will continue to arise and challenge the Anthropology Branch. First-hand input and advice from Council members and senior Aboriginal constituents have been sought and will be vital if such matters are to be appropriately managed.

Strategies to effectively manage such disputes are essential if the promise of a “post determination” space, in which Aboriginal people can derive meaningful economic and social benefits from their land and sea, is to be realised.

Other

$13,626,273.05 $25,218,162.79

$16,210,745.81 $24,011,411.63

$17,437,467.91

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

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Present and Future Challenges The branch is also faced with an exponential growth in business on Aboriginal country but with no commensurate increase in capacity.

This growth is clearly evident in the tables presented in the Land Interest References with the advent of onshore oil and gas exploration leading to a further escalation.

In spite of these capacity constraints, the branch has undertaken substantial research into chosen “target” areas to clarify anthropological and legal questions in anticipation of the upsurge in activities on country. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of dollars, already generated from preliminary oil and gas exploration,

have been disbursed to and for the benefit of traditional Aboriginal owners. These disbursements have not been without issue but have provided a methodological template for the future distribution of funds.

Other projects reported on previously are continuing with the branch working to enhance cooperative links across the organisation, especially in respect to the Community Planning and Development unit, where future options for investment may be offered to constituents. Negotiations and discussions around Blue Mud Bay and other high-level matters are also continuing with data upload and digitisation projects nearing completion after years of effort.

Land Interest References Land Interest References (LIRs) are registered each year for those with an interest in using any Aboriginal land or waters. All requests are recorded and processed, and the table below provides a breakdown of activities completed.

A total of 384 requests were lodged, with 290 significant releases completed during the reporting period, a slight decrease compared with the previous year but still on trend when taken in conjunction with the past five years. As at the end of the reporting period, outstanding releases are being processed in the new financial year; some are on hold due to a change in project timeframes and it is anticipated a number of the requests will be withdrawn.

Since 2006, the Anthropology Branch has designed and implemented enterprise database management

systems to support the growing demand for anthropological research.

Central to this has been the development solution that stores documents and maps electronically, with a full text index on the documents stored within.

Many documents held are only available in hardcopy, thus a task over recent years has been the scanning and optical character recognition of the hardcopy documents.

There are 35,146 individual documents held in the LIR, of which 7860 have been scanned and digitised this past reporting year.

In addition, approximately 5744 new documents were added to the LIR, each requiring geographic and ethnographic indexing, a considerable administration burden.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

GIS Section The NLC’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) team, or the mapping team, consists of four staff operating within the wider NLC Anthropology Branch. The team is responsible for cartographic production, mapping data compilation and analysis, and a variety of other graphic and data-based outputs. All operational units of the NLC request the services of the GIS team for project support and they run a tight ship in terms of operational procedures and data management practices to keep up with the busy schedule.

The five-year average of mapping requests was not markedly different from last year (2014-2018 saw on average 827 requests, compared with an average of 878 for the 2015-2019 period). The 2019 count of requests was 837, which seems to be indicating a plateau.

Database and Architectural Development The GIS team has put significant effort into architectural redesign of the GIS system. Last year saw significant resources put into data migration scripts from old NLC corporate databases into the new (now live) LUMAR system. This year required significant efforts to rollout a new GIS architecture and to

implement tight synchronicity with GIS spatial data creation and the LUMAR agreements and expressions of interest database.

Architectural developments have been greatly helped by ESRI Australia, who provided guidance on spatial data-loading from file-based systems to centralised SQL server database systems.

ESRI also provided advice and guidance on best-practice meta-data cataloguing, naming conventions and database security, and provided labour in rollout of the system’s software.

These developments were also supported by the IT projects team, the core IT team. The section 19 team were also able to help in funding to acquire data translation software to fit in with the new architecture.

While this project is far from complete, the GIS team now have a well-paved path to delivering on improved data management and have a reliable platform for providing modern mapping support, including delivery of interactive project mapping on mobile devices for in-situ tasks.

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Regional Profiles Anthropology Branch regions There are seven identified regions within the NLC’s jurisdiction. Within the Anthropology Branch these are further broken down to reflect respective workloads in particular areas. In the last year, these areas have been reviewed and amended to better reflect existing and future workloads of the branch and its regional anthropologists.

An overview of the work being undertaken in the seven anthropology regions follows. These summaries by no means take into account all of the activities in each region, but do give an indication of the diverse and complex environments in which Traditional Owners, Native Title Holders and many NLC staff live and work.

North East Arnhem Land Region The North East Arnhem Land anthropology region includes most of the NLC’s East Arnhem region and the northern most parts of the Ngukurr region. Traditional Owners for the region are the Yolngu people in the north east and Nunggubuyu people in the south east toward Numbulwar. The region includes areas of cultural significance, such as Blue Mud Bay, Gove Peninsula, Elcho Island in the Wessel Island group and the Mitchell ranges.

The major communities of Gapuwiyak, Galiwin’ku, Gunyangara, Yirrkala and Numbulwar are within the North East Arnhem anthropology region as well as more than 60 homelands.

The region attracts a broad range of economic and development interests - from mineral and petroleum exploration, extractive minerals, tourism, Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) and Indigenous ranger groups, wildlife harvest (buffalo safari and crocodile egg harvest), business, research and government sectors.

As in previous years, the North East Arnhem region continues to generate the largest proportion of s19 land use agreements (LUAs) and leasing expressions of interests (EOIs) across the NLC region. The North East Arnhem anthropologist plays a key role in supporting the s19 land use agreement consultation process and compliance activities by identifying Traditional Owners and affected groups, and providing advice on traditional decision-making. The facilitation of land owner meetings regarding use of leasing income is also a key task carried out by the regional anthropologist.

The increase in leasing activity and income from traditional lands, particularly in larger communities, has provided new economic development and social opportunities for Traditional Owners in the region. Regional anthropology has been working closely with the NLC’s Community Planning and Development Unit on pilot projects in the region where Traditional Owners are able to use their income streams on projects of their design to benefit their own communities. In some locations, there has been significant planning, consultation and dispute conciliation carried out by North East Arnhem anthropology to support Community Planning and Development projects and s19 agreement consultations.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Central Arnhem Land The Central Arnhem Land anthropology region intersects the NLC’s East and West Arnhem Land regions, and a small portion of the Katherine and Ngukurr regions. It is supported by the Katherine, East Arnhem and West Arnhem regional offices.

The region encompasses the major communities of Ramingining and Milingimbi and numerous outstations situated throughout the Arafura Wetlands and along the Blyth and Cadell rivers.

There are more than 100 Traditional Owner clan groups in the region, with the easternmost groups speaking Yolngu Matha and the westernmost groups comprising a large variety of Aboriginal languages, such as Burarra, Na-Kara and Rembarrnga. The presence of so many diverse clan groups in a relatively small region makes Central Arnhem a particularly ethnographically dense region to work in.

The most significant development for the region over the 2018-19 reporting period has been the collaboration between the NLC’s Sea Country team and the West Arnhem and Central Arnhem anthropologists to facilitate the development of a sea country management plan for the Djelk IPA coast.

This project has enabled Traditional Owners to voice their concerns and aspirations for their sea country, and to create management plans for their intertidal waters. Meetings convened in Maningrida in mid to late 2018 and in March 2019 brought together Traditional Owners from 42 clan groups along the Western and Central Arnhem coastline, with permit zoning for commercial and private fishing enterprises at the forefront of the discussion. A fruitful by-product of these

meetings was the opportunity for Traditional Owners to demarcate and detail unregistered sacred sites in intertidal waters and at sea.

S19 activity in the region has increased steadily since previous years, generating significant royalties for Traditional Owners.

The livestock and fishing tourism industries have been particularly active in the area, with buffalo hunting, buffalo safari, crocodile egg collection and sports fishing enterprises providing economic opportunities for land owners.

Given the region’s general reluctance to engage in mining and exploration proposals, there has been little activity in this respect compared with neighbouring regions. Ramingining continues to be the busiest hub for s19 proposals in the area, with numerous town infrastructure developments progressing in the past financial year. Efforts on behalf of the East Arnhem regional team have been made to tackle s19 proposals in Milingimbi, with plans to revisit the island and Maningrida in the near future.

West Arnhem The West Arnhem anthropology region covers the western part of the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Land Trust. The major communities are Maningrida, Minjilang and Warruwi, and there are many outstations across the region.

The more than 100 Traditional Owner groups within the region speak a variety of Aboriginal languages. Generally, the groups are patrilineal, which means that clan affiliation and inheritance of country is passed down through the father and father’s father. However, affiliations to country are complex and besides land-owning clans with primary rights, there can be many other

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groups and individuals with interests in a particular country through kinship, company relationships or ceremonial connections.

Mining exploration activities form an important part of the anthropological work taking place in West Arnhem. There are a number of granted Exploration Licences (ELs) within the region. Every year the NLC facilitates consultations with Traditional Owners and affected people where the companies’ work programs are presented and explained so informed consent can be given along with royalties instructions.

Some consultations concern new Exploration Licence Applications (ELAs). At the request of Traditional Owners, the NLC sometimes facilitates site surveys before a final meeting can be held. Site surveys enable knowledgeable Traditional Owners to map out sacred sites and culturally or environmentally sensitive areas that require protection or exclusion from exploration licences. They contribute to the intergenerational transfer of cultural knowledge and can be an opportunity to visit and care for remote areas. Following a helicopter site survey, consent was given for several ELAs; sensitive areas were excluded from ELAs 27252, 27253 and 27703, and other ELAs went into moratorium.

During the reporting period, consultations were conducted with Traditional Owners regarding leases over infrastructure lots in the major communities resulting in a number of new ALRA s19 Land Use Agreements (LUAs) with government agencies, private entities and Aboriginal corporations.

Traditional Owners in Warruwi consented to a new s19 lease over Lot 137 for the West Arnhem Regional Council (WARC) to build a playground and an amenities block.

The NLC often consults on commercial development and tourism on Aboriginal land, including artistic ventures that may showcase the area. An upcoming action thriller feature film, High Ground, is to be filmed in the region. Following consent from several groups of Traditional Owners, it will feature some of the amazing landscapes and stunning features of West Arnhem Land.

Planning for the responsible and culturally appropriate management of the intertidal zone continues. It focuses on the development of agreements that will support Traditional Owners in controlling access to their intertidal country.

The increase in royalty disbursements across the region continues to keep staff busy. Royalty distributions made to Traditional Owners come from a variety of projects pertaining to mining, infrastructure, recreational fishing, crocodile egg collection, telecommunications and cultural tourism.

Kakadu, Cobourg and Mary River Region The NLC’s Kakadu and Cobourg anthropology region is between the Darwin hinterland and West Arnhem Land. It encompasses Mary River National Park in the west, Kakadu National Park, Garig Gunak Barlu National Park on the Cobourg Peninsula and the Cobourg Peninsula Sanctuary and Marine Park in the north.

The region now includes the Gunbalanya community and some parts of the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Land Trust adjacent to the parks.

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The national parks all operate under joint management agreements between Traditional Owners and the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission or the Commonwealth’s Parks Australia. A primary focus of the NLC is to support the effective participation of Traditional Owners in joint management arrangements. This involves consultations over management plans, natural and cultural resource use, and monitoring informed decision-making processes to ensure board members can confidently report on Traditional Owners’ views.

The NLC also promotes employment and business opportunities for Aboriginal people; the protection of traditional law and customs; the protection of sacred sites; and help in managing disputes.

Tourism ventures in the national parks include cultural tours, nature experiences, recreational fishing operations and, on the Cobourg Peninsula, safari hunting. A number of these ventures are Aboriginal owned.

Other activities pertaining to environmental conservation, such as fire and weed management, rock art conservation, research projects and media proposals, are also supported.

Carbon projects in Kakadu National Park aimed at earning carbon credits through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from bushfires continue. The governance model is based on a steering committee comprising Traditional Owners to ensure they retain full control over the sale of the carbon credits and the use of income for fire management-related projects, community-based programs and/or infrastructure. The NLC will continue to support Traditional Owners in developing new carbon projects using similar models.

There are a number of land claims in progress within the region, including the Cobourg Peninsula Land Claim (No. 6), the Kakadu Repeat Land Claims covering areas in Kakadu not yet granted as Aboriginal Land, and the Woolner/Mary River Beds and Banks land claim (No. 192). The anthropological research for each of these claims has been completed.

On 12 March 2019, the ALRA was amended to include the four remaining areas in Kakadu National Park in Schedule 1 as Aboriginal land. The NLC anthropology branch will continue to take part in consultations with Traditional Owners to finalise the leaseback to the park and enable the granting of the land. Negotiations with the NT Government over Cobourg are continuing. The Anthropology Branch is keeping Traditional Owners informed on progress; consultations with claimants are planned for October.

The closure of the Ranger uranium mine and monitoring Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) and the Commonwealth Government to ensure they fulfil obligations to rehabilitate the mine is a major, long-term project. The NLC’s role is to advocate for Mirrar people’s interests, and promote opportunities for them to gain environmental, economic and social benefits from the mine closure.

This work will involve collaboration between the NLC and the Mirrar people, the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC), ERA, the Commonwealth and Northern Territory governments, and other external stakeholders, such as the Kakadu National Park Board of Management and Director of Parks.

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Work on the culturally appropriate management of the intertidal zone is continuing. New agreements allowing Traditional Owners to control access are being negotiated with NT Government.

The Iwaidja-Armurduk Management Committee, which represents the Traditional Owner groups for the coastline between Kakadu and Garig Gunak Barlu national parks, has been working on the issues affecting their sea country.

In Gunbalanya, the NLC has continued to hold consultations with Mandjurlngunj Mengerrdji for new s19 leases. Two new water tanks are going to be built, one for the oval and another as part of a park. The Traditional Owners have also agreed to continue allowing guided tours to Injalak Hill to visit rock art sites, which will provide some employment as well as promoting interest from tourists.

Ngukurr, Borroloola-Barkly Region The Borroloola Barkly region covers a geographically expansive area encompassing 26 Aboriginal land trusts and many pastoral leases. The major towns are Borroloola and Elliott. Major communities include Ngukurr, Minyerri and Robinson River. The region also features a large section of coastline and the Roper, McArthur and Limmen Bight rivers.

During this reporting period, multiple agreements pertaining to s19 mining, pastoral and township development matters have been facilitated between Traditional Owners and proponents.

In 2018, directors and members of the Hodgson Downs Community Association consented to the surrender of the Community Living Area (CLA) of Minyerri to the Northern Territory Government. The NLC will continue

negotiation in the new financial year with the Northern Territory and Commonwealth governments regarding the conversion of this area of land to Aboriginal land.

A focus of the NLC will continue to be addressing the chronic shortage of housing for Aboriginal people in Elliott. The NLC is working with the Northern Territory Government, which has recently pledged to address the backlog of housing and overcrowding by providing $4 million to renovate houses in the township. Work is scheduled to start in late 2018.

The NLC is working with Traditional Owners and Native Title Holders to identify their housing needs, including exploring the option of establishing an Aboriginal corporation to manage housing, local enterprises and community services, such as youth engagement programs.

The NLC has provided support to the Northern Territory Iron Ore Project (formerly the Sherwin Iron Ore Project) to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment, which includes a Social Impact Assessment and Cultural Heritage Plan in the new financial year. The NLC consulted with Native Title Holders about the commencement of operations by the Brit Marine Iron Ore project (formerly Western Desert Resources Iron Ore project). Native Title Holders and Australian Ilmenite Resources entered into an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) intersecting the Namul Namul and Flying Fox pastoral leases. An initial meeting with Traditional Owners of the Mambaliya Rrumburriya Wuyaliya Aboriginal Land Trust (ALT) was held to ascertain their views regarding exploration and mining on their land.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

During the reporting period, the NLC has conducted consultations with Traditional Owners of the Alawa, Waanyi-Garawa and Garawa Aboriginal land trusts regarding mustering and PLUA proposals. Alawa Traditional Owners have reached agreement with a proponent for mustering. The NLC will finalise consultations with Waanyi-Garawa and Garawa Traditional Owners in the new financial year.

In the past year, the NLC have conducted s19 consultations with Traditional Owners of the Ngukurr, Urapunga and Robinson River communities and at the Borroloola township.

Agreements have been reached to renew a s19 lease for the Ngukurr Arts Centre and renew a licence to maintain the Ngukurr Freight Hub. Traditional Owners of the Urapunga community have consented to a s19 lease over the campground at the Urapunga homestead. Traditional Owners of the Alawa 1 Aboriginal Land Trust have agreed to gravel extraction along the Hodgson Downs Road, and members of the Hodgson Downs Community Association (HDCA) consented to a lease for the crèche at Minyerri.

Initial consultations have been conducted with Traditional Owners of the Robinson River community regarding extension of the community oval and adjacent storage facilities, and maintenance of the local cemetery. The NLC has also conducted meetings at Borroloola about the local cemetery and erection of a Telstra tower. Telstra is building infrastructure across the region, including new towers, resulting in Minyerri and Robinson River recently receiving mobile phone coverage. Related agreements will be finalised in the new reporting period.

The NLC’s Community Planning and Development branch have been working with Traditional Owners at Ngukurr to plan and fund an upgrade of the school oval, the construction of toilets near the church and to erect a sign at the Kewulyi outstation. Preparatory work is underway to support the NLC’s Sea Country planning project and Permit Reform project in relation to the Limmen Bight area.

Victoria River District Region The Victoria River District is centred on the catchment of the Victoria River in the south-western portion of the NLC area. Land tenure of this region includes a number of land trusts, pastoral leases and Indigenous Land Use Agreements subject to Native Title.

The communities of Timber Creek, Bulla, Amanbidji, Yarralin, Lingara, Pigeon Hole, and Menggen, as well as surrounding outstations, homelands and areas of outstanding cultural and historical significance, such as the Judbarra/Gregory National Park, lie within the region.

The history of pastoralism in the region is relevant to understanding local groups today and the remarkable maintenance of cultural values within changing conditions.

During this reporting period, there has been an increase in the number of consultations in the VRD, including s19 leases, Indigenous Land Use Agreements and mining agreements, which provide successful outcomes for landowners and Native Title Holders. The regional anthropologist is responsible for providing advice in relation to the decision-making process of the groups concerned to comply with the requirements of the ALRA and NTA.

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The main event of the past year was the High Court’s determination of the Timber Creek Native Title Compensation award. In this landmark case, Indigenous customary rights were included for the first time in the mechanism to calculate compensation for the extinguishment of Native Title Rights. Timber Creek claimants commented that the acknowledgement of cultural loss in addition to economic loss is of relevance for all Indigenous Australians.

“Our Law connects us to our country, and our old people past and present, and guides us to where we are and where we need to go,” they say.

At the same time, the Anthropology Branch has been involved in the progression of land claims, native title claims, sacred sites clearances and cultural heritage projects in an attempt to advance proprietary rights in land of Indigenous people across the region.

Katherine Region The Katherine Anthropology region encompasses the larger townships of Katherine and Mataranka and the major Aboriginal communities of Barunga, Beswick, Jilkminggan, Manyallaluk, Bulman and Weemol.

The region extends south-east and north-east from Katherine and includes the Mangarrayi, Beswick, Manyallaluk and Jawoyn Aboriginal land trusts and the south-west area of the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Land Trust. Pastoral leases include Conways, Flying Fox, Goondooloo, Mainoru, Moroak and Mountain Valley.

In the past year, the Anthropology Branch has contributed to the progression of a number of land use matters in the

Katherine region. Significant consultations and agreements have taken place for grazing and buffalo mustering in the Elsey, Beswick and Roper River regions, as well as consultations for the Barunga Festival.

Agreements have been made with Traditional Owners over cemeteries in communities across the Roper Gulf Regional Council area. Traditional Owners have agreed to community housing and store developments and variations in Manyallaluk, Beswick and Barunga. The branch has also processed royalty disbursements, associated with related agreements, in a timely manner.

Darwin-Daly-Wagait (Wadeye) Region The Darwin Daly Wagait includes the following Aboriginal land trusts: Kenbi, Daly River Port Keats, Malak Malak, Upper Daly, Wagiman No. 1 and No. 2, Finniss River, Delissaville/Wagait/Larrakia, and Gurudju.

The Darwin-Daly region has a diverse range of s19 leasing interests in three major communities: Wadeye, Palumpa and Peppimenarti. The consultation process for a high-voltage powerline from Wadeye to Peppimenarti, concluded earlier this year.

Tourism ventures, including Helifishing, are operating within the region with consent from Traditional Owners. The Darwin-Daly team completed consultations and site visits to progress several new Helifishing areas on the Daly River Port Keats Land Trust. Consultations are continuing for crocodile egg harvesting agreements over the same land trust.

Pet meat licenses have also been granted in the past year.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Regional anthropology has been working closely with the NLC’s Community Planning and Development Unit (CPD) on a number of projects in the region. In certain areas, the Darwin-Daly regional anthropologist has been involved in planning, consultation and dispute conciliation to support CPD projects. For example, such assistance has aided the Papangala clan to progress their outstation project to the satisfaction of all involved.

Developments on Aboriginal land also provide Traditional Owners with the opportunity to request and take part in sacred site surveys, which enable them to identify culturally and environmentally sensitive areas that require protection or exclusion from land use agreements.

The surveys are also an important opportunity for transferring cultural knowledge to younger generations and for visiting otherwise inaccessible country. The regional anthropologist has facilitated several site surveys with knowledgeable Traditional Owners this year to map sacred sites and update the Anthropology Branch’s records.

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Tjuwaliyn Hot Springs

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Legal Branch Legal Branch

The legal branch of the NLC provides advice on all Land Council functions under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth) (Land Rights Act), the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (NTA) and other legislation and laws affecting relevant Aboriginal peoples and groups in the NLC region. This includes providing advice about the governance responsibilities to the NLC as a Commonwealth entity pursuant to the Public Governance and Performance Accountability Act 2013 (Cth) and to the Larrakia Development Corporation, Aboriginal Investment Group and Top End (Default PBC/CLA) Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC.

The NLC operates in a complex legal and policy environment, which includes Indigenous representative and advocacy functions within its jurisdiction, the determination of traditional ownership pursuant to the Land Rights Act and service delivery, which touches a broad range of Commonwealth and Northern Territory legislation, including:

• Aboriginal Land Act (NT);

• Cobourg Peninsular Aboriginal Land, Sanctuary and Marine Park Act 1996 (NT);

• Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth);

• Mining Management Act 2015 (NT);

• Mineral Titles Act 2016 (NT);

• Petroleum Act 2016 (NT);

• Geothermal Act 2016 (NT);

• Environmental Assessment Act 2013 (NT);

• Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) National Park Act 1989 (NT);

• Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act 1989 (NT);

• Pastoral Land Act 1992 (NT);

• Special Purpose Leases Act 1953 (NT); and

• Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2006 (NT).

The conduct of land and sea claims pursuant to the Land Rights Act and the Native Title Act are primary functions of the Legal Branch. In addition, it operates a large practice that conducts commercial negotiations on land use agreements pursuant to section 19 and Part IV of the Land Rights Act.

This practice covers a broad range of areas, such as residential housing, commercial enterprises, government service provision, minerals and energy, savanna burning, feral animals, cattle, tourism and natural resource harvesting, such as buffalo mustering, pastoralism and crocodile egg harvesting.

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NLC lawyers also conduct negotiations as instructed by Native Title Holders pursuant to the future act provisions of the Native Title Act. This includes the negotiation of Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) and associated agreements in relation to minerals and energy, major infrastructure, such as the Jemena gas pipeline, housing subdivisions, community living areas, non-pastoral use permits pursuant to the Pastoral Land Act (NT) and other legislation.

Legal Branch Structure The NLC legal branch is comprised of a Principal Legal Officer, two Legal Practice Managers, 14 lawyers, a contracts administrator and three administrative assistants.

The branch structure is based around the NLC’s statutory responsibilities and the NLC regional council structure. A lawyer is allocated to each region, one lawyer specialises in minerals and energy, another community planning and development, and two lawyers work solely on the unresolved land claims under the Land Rights Act. The remaining lawyers work in the native title claims practice. All lawyers also work flexibly across all areas of the NLC practice, including on litigation, policy, NLC governance and related matters.

The Contract Administrator position was created in early 2018 and is responsible for monitoring land use agreements to ensure compliance with key obligations and to take steps to address instances of non-compliance.

There is a Legal Practice Manager for both land rights and native title. The Legal Practice Manager (Land Rights) supervises each of the regional lawyers together with the minerals and energy lawyer and Contracts Administrator. The Legal Practice Manager (Native Title) supervises the native title lawyers and those lawyers with carriage of the unresolved land claims.

The branch has been able to employ additional staff on short-term contracts through better management practices and the improved provision of financial information. During the reporting period, three paralegals were employed on short-term contracts and an experienced commercial and mining legal practitioner was seconded from a leading commercial firm.

In addition, an experienced legal secretary has been retained on a casual basis to deal with the branch’s extensive filing and archiving backlog. The branch was also ably assisted by the Aurora Project, which, through its Internship Program, provides high-quality law students as legal interns for four to six-week periods twice a year.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Native Title There are 28 native title determination applications before the Federal Court in the NLC’s region. Members of the NLC’s Legal Branch provide legal representation to the claimants for 24 of those claims.

Of the remaining four, three are non-claimant applications filed by the Northern Territory. The fourth is an application brought by the Jawoyn over the Katherine township. The NLC provides funding to the Jawoyn people to meet the legal and related costs of the claim.

There have been 72 determinations of native title in the NLC region recognising native title and two determinations that native title does not exist. All of those claims were facilitated by the NLC and represented by the lawyers of the branch.

The Top End Default PBC/CLA Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (TED PBC) is administered by the Legal Branch and is the agent prescribed body corporate for all of the positive determinations of native title in the NLC’s region. The NLC Executive from time to time are the members and directors of the TED PBC.

In the reporting period, the NLC’s native title lawyers attended to the following matters:

1. The hearing by the High Court of each of the Northern Territory, Commonwealth and Native Title Party’s appeals of Northern Territory of Australia v Griffiths [2017] FCAFC 106 considering the calculation of the quantum of compensation for the extinguishment and impairment of native title rights and interests in Timber Creek;

2. Consent determinations of native title over each of the townships of Jabiru and Pine Creek;

3. Progressing native title claims over the Town of Katherine and 11 pastoral leases in accordance with Federal Court Orders, including participating in, and assisting with, the mediation of multiple intra-mural disputes between native title parties;

4. Researching, preparing and seeking authorisation of claimant applications in respect of pastoral lands and sea country; and

5. Responding to future act notices in a timely and efficient manner.

Pine Creek native title holder Daphne Huddlestone, Pine Creek Native Title Determination

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Land Rights Claims There are 38 unresolved land claims under the Land Rights Act in the NLC region. Of these, 22 relate to the beds and banks of rivers and/or inter-tidal zones.

The unresolved claims are at various stages of progression and include:

1. five claims subject to contested hearings;

2. 16 claims that have been recommended for grant but not finalised;

3. 12 claims subject to settlement negotiations with the Northern Territory Government; and

4. four claims for which claim materials are still being prepared.

In the reporting period, the NLC made submissions to the Aboriginal Land Commissioner’s review of detriment issues relating to land claims previously recommended for grant but not finalised. Of those claims, 12 relate to the beds and banks of rivers and/ or intertidal zones within the NLC’s region. Key detriment issues included impacts on recreational fishing, access and use of claim areas by neighbouring pastoral stations, commercial fishing, mining and exploration, tourism and fishing tour operators.

Leases and Licences s19 - Land Rights Act Under Section 19 of the Land Rights Act, the NLC may direct a land trust to grant an interest in land to a third party. This interest in land may be in the form of either a “lease” for a term of years, or a “licence” giving the proponent permission to use Aboriginal land for a particular purpose, or a combination of both. The term Land Use

Agreement encompasses the terms “lease” and “licence” granted under section 19.

In conjunction with the Regional Development branch, NLC lawyers negotiate Land Use Agreements on Aboriginal land under the Land Rights Act, which are considered and approved by the NLC if relevant statutory requirements are met.

These requirements importantly include that the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land concerned understand the nature and purpose of the grant and as a group consent to it; that any Aboriginal community or group affected has been consulted and has had an adequate opportunity to express its view; and that the NLC is satisfied that the terms and conditions of any grant of an estate or interest are reasonable.

In the reporting period, there were 723 current Land Use Agreements (leases or licences) across 3687 parcels of land. A compliance audit has been conducted against the majority of those agreements and efforts are being made to ensure that any cases of non-compliance are addressed.

The audit revealed positive outcomes around local Aboriginal employment, which is a key obligation under most Land Use Agreements.

A total of 116 new Land Use Agreements were approved by the NLC during the reporting period and 195 new expressions of interest for Land Use Agreements were received for 281 parcels of land. This means that while the NLC has processed an increasing number of agreements, demand for new agreements is increasing at a higher rate, such that at the end of the reporting period there were 413 expressions of interest awaiting assessment and probable consultation and negotiation.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

To deal with this backlog, in collaboration with Regional Development, the Legal Branch has implemented measures to increase efficiency within the practice, including work to negotiate standard template agreements, consultation tools, and more consistent administrative practices, together with steps to obtain additional resourcing.

Litigation The complex environment in which the NLC operates has contributed to a range of court actions being brought against the NLC or its clients. These matters consume considerable human and financial resources of the branch.

These proceedings include:

1. Quall v Northern Land Council

In September 2017, Kevin (Tibby) Quall commenced judicial review proceedings against the validity of the NLC’s certification of the Kenbi Indigenous Land Use Agreement over an area of land on the Cox Peninsula opposite Darwin (Kenbi ILUA). Eric Fejo filed similar proceedings in November 2017 and the two proceedings were subsequently joined. The NLC’s Chief Executive Officer certified the Kenbi ILUA pursuant to their delegated authority. Messrs Quall and Fejo challenged whether the certification functions of a native title representative body under s203BE(1)(b) of the Native Title Act may be delegated to the Chief Executive Officer of the representative body.

On 20 May 2019, the Full Court of the Federal Court held that a native title representative body - such as the NLC Full Council - has no power at all under the Native Title Act to delegate certification functions to its Chief Executive Officer (or anyone else).

That is, only the NLC’s Full Council itself can decide whether or not to certify an ILUA.

In June 2019, the NLC’s Full Council resolved in June to file an application for special leave to appeal the Full Court’s decision in the High Court.

2. Adrian Gumurdul v Northern Land Council

In May 2019, Adrian Gumurdul served on the NLC an application seeking orders for discovery under r 7.23 of the Federal Court Rules 2011. The NLC provided Mr Gumurdul with a number of documents. This proceeding was dismissed in the Federal Court with the consent of the parties on 5 July 2019.

3. Northern Land Council v Jones Cattle NT Pty Ltd

In December 2018, the NLC filed a claim in the Supreme Court against Jones Cattle NT Pty Ltd for payments of $289,234.87 owed to the Traditional Owners of the Menngen Aboriginal Land Trust under a grazing licence. In May 2019, the parties agreed to settle the matter.

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4. Jason Bill & Ors v Northern Land Council & Ors

In June 2017, three Ngapa Traditional Owners whose country is primarily situated on the Muckaty Aboriginal Land Trust (Muckaty Land Trust) commenced Federal Court proceedings against the NLC and the Muckaty Land Trust in respect of two matters:

1. the settlement on 20 June 2014 of Federal Court proceeding Mark Lane Jangala & Ors v NLC & Ors (VID 433 of 2010), which challenged the NLC’s June 2007 nomination of Aboriginal land on the southern boundary of the Muckaty Land Trust to be a site for a national nuclear waste management facility under the Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act 2005 (Cth); and

2. the 2014 consultation process for a proposed nomination of Aboriginal land on the northern boundary of Muckaty Station under the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 (Cth) This was an application to challenge the NLC’s 2014 settlement of the Muckaty litigation and efforts to nominate a second area of land on the Muckaty Land Trust to be considered as a national radioactive waste management facility.

On 23 October 2018, the Federal Court heard an application from the applicants to further amend their claim and the NLC’s application to strike the matter out. Judgement striking out the matter was delivered by Justice White on 22 November 2018.

5. Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation v Northern Land Council & Others

Since 2014, the NLC has been subject to three proceedings initiated by the Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation, various Rirratjingu Traditional Owners and Bunuwal Investments Pty Ltd concerning the negotiation of the Gove Agreement and the distribution of compensation payments to Traditional Owners under the agreement. In October 2018, the parties attended mediation and agreed to settle all proceedings.

6. Australian Ilmenite Resources v Ishmael Andrews & Others

On 12 October 2017, mining company Australian Ilmenite Resources Pty Ltd (AIR) commenced proceedings in the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NTCAT) against the native title parties to the Chatahoochie (NTD6019/2001) and Roper Valley North (NTD6062/2001) native title claims.

AIR sought a determination from NTCAT that the native title parties unreasonably refused consent to AIR’s entry onto their land for the above purposes in contravention of section 84 of the Mineral Title Act 2010 (NT) (MTA). NTCAT referred a number of questions of law to the Northern Territory Supreme Court concerning the interaction of relevant Commonwealth and Northern Territory legislation. In the interim, AIR and the native title parties reached an out-of-court agreement about the access authorities.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Legal input on major internal reforms The Legal Branch has provided advice to various branches and teams across the NLC in respect of a variety of internal projects as follows.

1. Permits

The Legal Branch works closely with the Permit Reform team to review and reform the NLC’s systems for processing permits and monitoring compliance. This reform includes the development of an online platform for processing permit applications and various policies for administering the permit system.

Lawyers have provided the team with advice on the legal requirements for access to Aboriginal land and developing agreements with Traditional Owners to facilitate the issuing of permits. This work has been complemented by efforts to increase the formal legal powers of Aboriginal rangers to enforce permits on Aboriginal land, including the NLC’s submissions to the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Amendment Bill 2019.

2. Section 35(4) - Payment Arrangement Policy

Section 35(4) of the Land Rights Act provides that when the NLC receives a payment under a land use agreement in accordance

with section 15, 16, 19 or 20, the NLC must pay an amount equal to that payment to or for the benefit of the Traditional Owners of the land within six months. The NLC has been working to ensure more consistent, best practice internal processes that fully align with these obligations.

To this end, on 13 November 2018, the Full Council adopted a Section 35 Payment Arrangements Policy.

The policy aims to ensure that Traditional Owners are provided with the information and options to make fully informed choices about how land use agreement payments are distributed or otherwise applied.

3. Land Use Management and Royalties (LUMAR)

The Legal Branch has worked closely with the Land Use Management and Royalties (LUMAR) team to help with the design of a single contract management system within the NLC. In particular, lawyers have worked to ensure key statutory processes are captured and that adequate compliance checks are incorporated. Once implemented, the LUMAR system will significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of processing land use agreement applications, contract management and compliance.

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Legal input on Regulatory Reform The branch has been responsible for, or involved in, the preparation of a range of submissions and meetings in relation to the following:

• Pastoral Land Legislation Amendment Bill 2017;

• Comprehensive reform of the Water Act 1992 (NT) in the Water Amendment Bill 2019;

• Amendment of the Environmental Protection Act;

• Amendment of the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority Act;

• Amendment of the Waste Management and Pollution Control Act;

• Reform of the Petroleum Act and the Petroleum (Environment) Regulations;

• Reform of the Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act.

Significant Cases and Projects The highlights of the reporting year have been the conduct of the following cases and projects:

1. Timber Creek Native Title Compensation Case (NTG v Griffiths NTD 51 of 2016; Commonwealth v Griffiths NTD 52 of 2016)

In September 2018, the High Court held its first ever sitting in Darwin to hear the Timber Creek Compensation Case in relation to the compensation payable, pursuant to s 51 of the Native Title Act, to the Ngaliwurru and Nungali Peoples (Claim Group) for the extinguishment of their non-exclusive native title rights and interests.

On 13 March 2019, the Court awarded compensation for economic loss equating to 50 per cent of the freehold value of the affected land with simple interest, and compensation for cultural loss in the amount of $1.3 million.

The Northern Territory was responsible for 53 acts held to have impaired or extinguished the Claim Group’s native title rights and interests, which gave rise to the Claim Group’s entitlement to compensation on just terms under s51 of the Native Title Act. At issue was the amount of compensation payable to the Claim Group.

The trial judge held the Claim Group was entitled to an award for economic loss equating to 80 per cent of the freehold value of the affected land, simple interest on that award, and compensation for cultural loss in the amount of $1.3 million. On appeal, the Full Court varied the trial judge’s assessment of economic loss from 80 per cent to 65 per cent of the freehold value of the land, but otherwise, relevantly, affirmed the trial judge’s decision.

Timber Creek native title holder Chris Griffiths

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By grants of special leave, the Claim Group, the Northern Territory and the Commonwealth appealed to the High Court. The Claim Group contended among other things that its economic loss equated to the freehold value of the affected land without reduction. The Northern Territory and the Commonwealth contended among other things that the value of the Claim Group’s economic loss did not exceed 50 per cent of the freehold value of the affected land, and the award for cultural loss was manifestly excessive.

The High Court unanimously allowed the Northern Territory and Commonwealth appeals in part and dismissed the Claim Group’s appeal.

The court held, by majority, that the economic value of the Claim Group’s rights and interests involved determining the percentage reduction from full exclusive native title represented by the Claim Group’s non-exclusive native title rights and interests relative to full exclusive native title.

That percentage reduction was applied to full freehold value as a proxy for the economic value of full exclusive native title. The court held that the value of the Claim Group’s non-exclusive native title rights and interests, expressed as a percentage of freehold value, was no more than 50 per cent.

The court rejected that the Claim Group was entitled to compound interest on that sum and awarded simple interest at the pre-judgment interest rate fixed by the Federal Court of Australia Practice Note CM16. That interest was not part of the total compensation payable for the extinguishment of native title within the meaning of s51A of the Native Title Act.

The court upheld the award for cultural loss of $1.3 million. The court held that assessment of cultural loss required determining the spiritual relationship that the Claim Group have with their country and then translating the spiritual hurt caused by the compensable acts into compensation and that the assessment will vary according to the compensable act, the identity of the native title holders, the native title holders’ connection with the land or waters by their laws and customs and the effect of the compensable acts on that connection. The court held that the award to the Claim Group was not manifestly excessive and was not inconsistent with acceptable community standards.

2. Project Sea Dragon

Project Sea Dragon is a large-scale commercial prawn farm proposed to be built at Legune Station, near the border of the Northern Territory and Western Australia on the northern Australian coastline, approximately 106 kilometres from Kununurra.

The value of the investment is estimated by the proponent at $1.45 billion and at full scale will be the world’s largest aquaculture development.

The Legal Branch is overseeing implementation of the Project Sea Dragon Indigenous Land Use Agreement between the NLC, TED PBC, Project Sea Dragon Pty Ltd (the project proponent, Seafarms), and the Northern Territory of Australia.

In addition to financial benefits, the agreement provides native title holders and local Aboriginal people significant employment, training and business development opportunities, as well as cultural and environmental protections.

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The key milestones achieved in the reporting period since the signing of the ILUA include:

• the establishment of the ILUA Project Committee to monitor and guide implementation of the ILUA. Native title holder participation and leadership in the governance of this Committee has increased markedly since the inception of the committee in February 2018;

• development of a comprehensive cultural awareness training program and a cultural induction process, led by native title holders;

• implementation of a robust sacred site protection/cultural monitoring process, with strong collaboration between native title holders, senior custodians and the NLC Anthropology Branch;

• a strong planning process around financial benefits under the ILUA;

• successful completion of a major upgrade of the Marralam outstation, which incorporated native title holder employment and skills training;

• incorporation of a native title holder-controlled contracting business, Legune Constructions Ltd, to provide native title holders with tangible employment and training opportunities, both via the consortium with Allan King and in its independent capacity;

• the award of the first contract for Legune by Seafarms to the consortium between native title holder company, Legune Constructions Ltd, and Allan King;

• binding commitments from AAMIG, the new owner of the Legune pastoral lease, to engage constructively with native title holders and assume ILUA obligations with respect to cultural issues, access and various other issues; and

• agreement in June 2019 between Seafarms, native title holders and the NLC for the early commencement of stage one of the indigenous ranger program at Legune.

3. Native Title Determination over Jabiru

On 9 November 2018, at a Federal Court ceremonial hearing on the banks of Lake Jabiru, the Jabiru Township native title claim was determined in favour of the Mirarr People.

This brings to an end a claim that began in 1997. The determination follows a judgment by Justice Mansfield in 2016 about extinguishment, which recognises non-exclusive native title rights and interests in extensive areas within the Jabiru Township boundaries. This native title process is but one of several important steps that the Mirarr People are taking to regain some control over their country.

4. Addressing illegal activity on Aboriginal land

Key areas of illegal activity that intersect with the NLC’s mandate include:

• trespass on Aboriginal land;

• the unauthorised taking of resources from Aboriginal land; for example, illegal hunting, mustering and mineral extraction;

• unauthorised commercial activity on Aboriginal land; for example, tourism; and

• the unauthorised destruction of Aboriginal land, including land clearing and dumping.

Most of the above activities are not closely monitored by relevant government authorities.

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In early 2019, the Legal Branch convened an organisation-wide workshop and established a cross-branch working group to address illegal activity on Aboriginal land.

The purpose of the workshop was to consolidate knowledge around and evaluate practices and develop strategies to streamline and strengthen those practices. In many cases, the NLC has limited to no means to address illegal activity, other than to refer matters to the relevant authorities and to try to influence those authorities to take action.

To address that limitation, the Legal Branch has developed increasingly constructive relationships with certain key regulators and authorities, including parts of the NT Police, NT Firearms Registry and Tourism NT.

5. Native Title Determination over Pine Creek

On 9 April 2019, after 20 years of negotiations, the Wagiman and the Jawoyn Bolmo, Matjba and Wurrkbarbar groups were determined to have exclusive native title rights over almost all of the 12 square kilometres of land comprising the town of Pine Creek.

The Federal Court held a ceremonial sitting at Heritage Park in Pine Creek attended by over 160 local Aboriginal and Pine Creek residents.

Exclusive possession native title is the highest recognition capable under Australian property law, giving Wagiman and Jawoyn Bolmo, Matjba and Wurrkbarbar native title holders an opportunity to regain control of their country and determine its future use.

High Court of Australia sitting in Darwin for the first time to hear the Timber Creek native title compensation case

Mooloowa homeland, Gulf country

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Sea Country Sea Country

Background Sea country is important to a large demographic of Aboriginal people living in remote coastal communities and homelands in the NT.

For more than 20 years the NLC has been working with Traditional Owners to improve their rights and interest in looking after their sea country.

This included in 2008 the High Court determined that the Northern Territory Fisheries Act 1988 did not apply within the boundaries of Aboriginal land granted under the Land Rights Act (1976) NT, including the tidal waters over their land from the high to low tide marks (the intertidal zone). This case, Gumana vs The Northern Territory, is commonly known as the Blue Mud Bay (BMB) case.

The BMB determination is significant given that around 85% (6050 kilometres, including islands) of the entire NT coastline is owned by Aboriginal Traditional Owner groups.

Regardless of this significant right, a permanent settlement of this matter has not yet been reached. However, significant progress was made during 2018-19 when the NLC, NT Government and key user groups (NT Seafood Council, Amateur Fishermen’s Association NT, and NT Guided Fishing Industry Association) agreed upon a roadmap to resolve BMB.

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Resolution In late June 2018, the NLC submitted a proposal to the NT Governmen that articulated a roadmap to permanently settle BMB. Negotiations between the NLC, NTG and the other parties followed.

On 28 June 2019, at the Nitmiluk Full Council meeting, the parties signed a Heads of Agreement, which articulates the roadmap to permanently settle BMB.

In approving the NLC to sign the Heads of Agreement, the NLC Full Council extended the open access waiver to Aboriginal tidal waters through until 31 December 2020. This means that commercial and recreational fishers can enter Aboriginal waters without a section 19 land use agreement or NLC permit until that date. But as of 1 January 2020, users will require either a section 19 or permit.

Key points from the Heads of Agreement are:

• There will be a full review of NTG fisheries legislation and policy, and fisheries management in light of the BMB decision;

• NTG will develop a regional approach to fisheries management, giving Traditional Owners real input to the management of their sea country;

• Aboriginal people will become owners in the NT commercial fishing industry;

• Exciting opportunities exist for Aboriginal people to create businesses and jobs around sport fishing tourism and commercial fishing;

• The NLC will facilitate discussions with the NT Government if Traditional Owners wish to discuss and/or negotiate access agreements. (In Aboriginal waters, where an agreement is not in place, recreational fishers will require a permit) and

• A boat identification system and Codes of Conduct will be developed for recreational fishers who use Aboriginal waters.

• There is a large amount of work for the parties to complete before the waiver ends.

A work plan will be developed by the parties early in the 2019-20 financial year. At each of their meetings through until 31 December 2020, the NLC Full Council will review progress against the work plan in consideration of continuing the open access waiver.

Maningrida-based coastal fisherman Don Wilton

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Sea Country Working Group In the years following the BMB High Court decision, the NLC has established a number of groups to provide advice and direction on intertidal matters. In particular, in June 2015 the Sea Country Working Group (SCWG) was established by the NLC Full Council.

This group has been active ever since, and instrumental in advising the NLC around settlement of BMB. They were heavily involved in the development of the settlement proposal to NTG and the subsequent negotiations. They remain active and are a key

component of the NLC’s sea country unit. The group is made up of one elected Full Council member from each of the NLC’s coastal zones. Membership presently includes:

1. Keith Rory: Borroloola Barkly (Chair)

2. Shadrack Retchford: Victoria River District (Deputy Chair)

3. Wesley Bandi Bandi: East Arnhem

4. Gregory Daniels: Ngukurr

5. Bunug Galaminda: West Arnhem

6. Calvin Devereaux: Darwin/Daly/Wagait

NLC’s Sea Country Working Group member John Christophersen speaks at signing of the Blue Mud Bay Heads of Agreement at Nitmiluk

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Coastal Area Intertidal Fishing Access Agreements Since 2011, six coastal area intertidal access agreements have been negotiated to provide permit-free access to recreational and commercial fishers.

These agreements were negotiated by the NT Government with Traditional Owners in coastal areas that have high incidence of fishing activity.

One of the agreements provides for a consultative committee, but Traditional Owners are seeking an arrangement that is more appropriate; they wish to strengthen customary management of their sea country. Generally speaking, Traditional Owners feel that the agreements don’t provide them with the ability to participate in decision-making about access to or management over their sea country.

As part of permanently settling BMB under the Heads of Agreement, NTG has committed to a process of reviewing these agreements together with Traditional Owners and amending accordingly.

Areas with agreements are:

1. Malak Malak ALT for Daly River area: 1 July 2012 to 2032;

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

3. Daly River Port Keats ALT for Anson Bay area from the mouth of the Daly River to Cape Scott: 1 January 2013 to 2033;

4. Arnhem Land ALT for Nhulunbuy area: 1 January 2014 to 2034; and

5. Daly River Port Keats ALT for the Thamurrurr Area (Hyland Bay and Moyle River): 1 July 2014 to 2034.

A sixth agreement was previously in place (Arnhem Land Aboriginal Land Trust for the Iwaidja Armurduk area - Mini Mini and Murgenella Rivers south of Coburg Peninsula), but this expired on 30 June 2018.

Participatory Sea Country Planning In May 2018, as part of efforts to resolve issues relating to the intertidal zone, the NLC initiated participatory sea country planning in the three coastal areas: Blue Mud Bay, Maningrida and Limmen Bight.

This work aimed to provide tools for Traditional Owners to manage their sea country, and to articulate their sea country desires and aspirations for the future. The plans are also a key communication tool for the Traditional Owners and their stakeholders.

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Dwayne Alangale of the Wagiman Ranger Group working with fire

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Caring for Caring for Country Branch Country Branch

The NLC’s Caring for Country Branch helps Traditional Owners plan for the health of their country and report on the effectiveness of their efforts. We do this using a “two-way” land and sea management philosophy, which combines the best of traditional knowledge and contemporary science.

Traditional Owners in the NLC region have responsibility for 210,000 km² of land and 2072 km² of water, which contain some of the most intact, biologically diverse and culturally rich savanna and marine environments in the world.

Through Ranger and Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) Programs, National Park Joint Management, related enterprise, training and newly developed program areas, including Learning on Country (LoC), the NLC Caring for Country Branch directly employs more than 130 Indigenous land managers. Supporting this effort is a small team of Darwin-based staff who provide program management, administration, IT, data management, reporting, training, youth and women’s engagement functions.

It is a key objective of the NLC to help Traditional Owners manage land and sea country in a sustainable manner, guided by the values and aspirations of custodians of Indigenous law and culture.

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These principles underpin the operations of the Branch, which actively supports Traditional Owners to establish grass-roots land and sea management initiatives across the network of remote homelands, stations and community centres.

During the reporting period, the caring for Country Branch:

• Grew the Learning on Country investment from six sites to 12;

• Grew the Traditional Owner portfolio of carbon projects and complementary fee-for-service work;

• Secured significant project capital from the NT Government’s inactive Ranger Grants Program;

• Worked with the NT Government to reform the Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act to help secure powers for Indigenous rangers:

• Was awarded the contract to host the Northern Australian Ranger forum in August 2019: and

• Secured a substantial compliance and related training investment from the Australian Government.

Importantly, the Branch continued to invest in jobs and opportunity for Aboriginal people, especially young people, across the NLC region.

NLC Rangers fire planning at Barrapunta

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Learning on Country Background The Australian Government’s National Indigenous Australian Agency (NIAA) funds the Learning on Country Program (LoC Program), which is managed through the Caring for Country Branch in the Northern Land Council.

Formally established in 2012, the LoC Program funded four sites in east Arnhem Land (Maningrida, Yirrikala Homelands, Yirrikala, and Galiwin’ku) to undertake culture, land and caring for country activities as an approach to engaging and retaining students in education.

Between 2013 and 2018, the program expanded, increasing the number of participating sites from four to nine, adding two sites at Groote Eylandt (Anurugu and Umbakumba), and one each from Milingimbi, Raminging and Gapuwiyak (also known as LoC1).

In 2018, the Caring for Country Branch ran a process, on behalf of the then Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, to expand the program. Minister Scullion approved six new sites (known as LoC2) at Beswick, Barunga, Borroloola, Gunbalanya, Ngukurr, and Numbulwar.

Learning on Country crew at the Barunga Festival

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Key to the success of the LoC Program is the collaboration between remote community schools and Aboriginal Ranger groups to deliver community identified outcomes by bringing together the school curriculum and on-country activities.

The LoC Program delivers a culturally responsive, secondary school curriculum that integrates Indigenous knowledge and western knowledge systems, with particular reference to natural resource and cultural management.

Location of established and new Learning on Country Sites

Governance The LoC Program was previously managed through the Northern Territory Department of Education (NT DoE) and there is now a strong partnership between the Caring for Country Branch and the NT DoE. This relationship is informed by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and supported though the involvement of staff from both organisations in cross-agency working groups focussed around curriculum development and training delivery.

LoC site governance arrangements ensure communities guide and control program delivery and outcomes.

Arrangements at each site include MoUs between the school and the ranger organisation, locally-based LoC coordinator and a local LoC Committee (LLoCC’s) comprised of representatives from the school (principal), the ranger group (coordinator) and their respective cultural advisors.

Strategic program guidance is provided by the LoC Steering Committee, with representatives drawn from each of the sites.

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The meeting format includes an information-sharing forum, a Steering Committee meeting to consider program progress and provide guidance on future directions, and a Practitioner’s Workshop focussed on particular aspects of program delivery and LoC Coordinator.

The meetings are supported by a dedicated secretariat function provided by the NLC.

Program Objectives and Outcomes The LoC Program is funded though National Indigenous Australia Agency’s (NAII) Indigenous Advancement Strategy under two streams - the Children and Schooling Program (LoC1) and the Remote Australia Strategies Program (LoC2).

LoC is a culturally relevant, school-based, Indigenous Ranger-facilitated program aimed at linking Australian curriculum subjects with field-based experiential learning and data collection.

The key objectives of the LoC program (LoC1 and LoC2) are to:

• Increase inter-generational transmission of Indigenous knowledge and customary practice.

• Development of strong partnerships between Ranger groups, schools and local community to deliver a culturally responsive secondary school curriculum

• Increased school attendance, and

• Improved student learning outcomes.

The LoC Program links Australian curriculum subjects with culturally field-based experiential learning and data collection.

The project targets remote Indigenous students and disengaged youth eligible to enrol for those years. It provides leadership opportunities for young Indigenous people under a combination of knowledgeable senior Traditional Owners, community rangers, VET trainers and teachers.

Learning on Country visitors, Barunga Festival

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The table on the next page shows schools, ranger groups and approximate student numbers taking part in LoC Program activities.

LOC PROGRAM SITES SCHOOL RANGER GROUP

STUDENT PARTICIPATION (APPROX)

ANGURUGU Angurugu/

Milyakburra Schools Anindilyakwa/Land Council Ranger Group

49

UMBAKUMBA Umbakumba/ Alyangula Schools Anindilyakwa/Land Council Ranger Group

47

GAPUWIYAK Lake Evella School Yirralka Ranger Group 193

(whole school)

MANINGRIDA Maningrida Community Education College Djelk Bawinanga Ranger group

56

MILINGIMBI Milingimbi School Crocodile Island

Ranger Group

61

(whole school)

RAMINGINING Ramingining School ASRAC Ranger Group 34

YIRRKALA Yirrkala School Dhimurru Ranger Group 38

YIRRKALA (LAYNHAPUY)

Yirrkala Homelands Schools Yirralka Ranger Group 111

(whole school)

GALIWINKU (ELCHO IS)

Shepherdson College Marthakal Ranger Group 166 (whole school)

NGUKURR Ngukurr Community Education Centre Yugul Mangi Corporation Ranger Group

30

GUNBALANYA Gunbalanya Community Njanjma and Adjumallari Ranger Groups 200 (whole

School)

BOROOLOOLA Borroloola

Community School Waanyi Garawa, Garawa and Lianthawirriyarra Ranger Groups

30

NUMBULWAR Numbulwar School Numburindi Numbulwar Ranger Group 20

BESWICK/ BARUNGA

Wugularr School Barunga CEC

Jawoyn Aboriginal Corporation

25

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The LoC Program is highly regarded by school students, school staff and ranger groups because it combines cultural, educational and vocational outcomes to provide genuine employment pathways for young Indigenous people, particularly in the land and sea management sector. Reported LoC1 results for January to June 2019 show that:

• Approximately 706 Indigenous students participated in LoC Program activities

• 91 Indigenous women and 96 Indigenous men were employed to support the delivery of LoC activities (school and field-based activities)

• Indigenous employment comprises 63% of the overall employment in the program

• Indigenous staff worked a total of 9336 hours in the preparation and delivery of the LoC Program activities.

LoC2 sites are in the process of finalising their establishment activities, such as planning and recruitment processes. Some sites have already commenced delivering LoC Program activities. Early indications are that there will be about 305 Indigenous and non-Indigenous students participating in the LoC2 program.

Keeping in mind the small number of non-Indigenous student participating in the LoC Program, it is estimated LoC Program activity participation will exceed 1000 students at the commencement of the 2020 school year.

L-R Rickisha Redford-Bohme, Diani Brian, Jonah Ryan & Normalina Olsen on the Learning on Country Pathway from School to Ranger

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NLC Support There were nine sites when the Caring for Country Branch assumed responsibility for the LoC Program in mid-June 2018. At the request of the then Minister for Indigenous Affairs, the number of sites was expanded to 15.

Since June 2018, the Caring for Country Branch has:

• Expanded the program from nine sites to 16 sites

• Negotiated new contracts across 16 sites

• Drafted an MoU between the Caring for Country Branch and the NT DoE

• Site-based MoUs and Operational Plans are in place at 10 of the 16 sites with the remainder under development

• Designed and implemented streamlined activity and financial reporting processes

• Provided sites with budget support for Local LoC Committee and Steering Committee meeting attendance

• Held two three-day LoC Program Forums, bringing together the Local LoC Committees, the LoC Coordinators and the Steering Committee members

• Held two Practitioner Workshops - Roles and Responsibilities of the LoC Coordinator and Integrating Culture and Curriculum - focussing on LoC Coordinator professional development.

• Established a SharePoint communication platform, TEAMS, to facilitate communication and information sharing between the administrative team and sites.

• Identified a Secretariat function to support the Steering Committee’s business delivery.

• Established Working Groups between the Caring for Country Branch and the NT DoE re curriculum development and training provision.

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Learning on Country Learning on Country - Case Study - Case Study

Maningrida Learning on Country Program - a snap-shot of success The Maningrida Learning on Country Program was first funded in 2013 as one of the four original LoC Program sites, along with Yirrkala, Yirrkala Laynhapuy Homelands and Galiwinku. As one of the larger remote Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land, Maningrida has a well-resourced Community Education Centre and their local Djelk Bawinanga Ranger group, established in 1991, is one of the larger employment providers in the community.

The LoC Program model is a partnership between the community school and the ranger group to deliver community outcomes. The strength of this partnership, together with the delivery of an embedded Vocational

Education and Training (VET) program, is fundamental to Maningrida’s approach.

The inclusion of Conservation and Land Management (CLM) training aligns directly with the ranger program partnership and the ambition of many middle and senior students to transition into ranger employment.

The incorporation of the two-tool boxes learning systems, Traditional knowledge and western science was supported and delivered by senior rangers and cultural knowledge holders. The experiential on-country learning activities were brought back into the classroom and integrated with curriculum and VET-based training.

Members of Maningrida School and the Djelk Bawinanga Ranger group with Year 12 LoCP participants at their Certificate II CLM graduation

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The relevance of the learning content ensured a clearer connection to literacy and numeracy outcomes. Classroom attendance increased notably on “LoC” days.

As VET qualifications contribute toward student NTCET graduation, students were also enrolled in units of the Certificate III Indigenous Land Management (ILM) course, which was delivered as on-country cultural camps spearheaded by senior Traditional Owners. The ILM course provided the space for cultural learning, delivered in language and in accordance with cultural protocols, thereby accrediting the teaching of cultural knowledge in an academic context.

Testament to the success of this approach is that in 2018, eight students graduated, having completed the Certificate II CLM qualification over a two-year period. Completions of the Certificate II CLM and Certificate III ILM contributed significantly to the NTCET graduation of 10 Year 12 students.

The achievement was widely celebrated as one of the largest graduating cohorts the school had seen for many years and reflected the strength of the partnership and commitment of teachers, rangers and Traditional Owners to the LoC Program. All shared proudly in this achievement.

The students from this cohort subsequently transitioned into the Djelk Bawinanga Rangers Internship program. They were paid part-time wages for their ranger duties and the remainder of the week were back at school to continue working toward the completion of their Year 12 NTCET.

The Djelk internship resulted in full-time employment with the ranger group for five of the graduates, which proclaimed the next generation of empowered young rangers working and caring for their country

Rangers Ranger programs are the practical expression of many of the Caring for Country aspirations of Traditional Owners. Collectively, the programs protect and care for more than 104,000 square kilometres of land - more than five times the size of Kakadu National Park - and extensive areas of coastline to the benefit of all Australians.

In 2018/19, through the Working on Country Program, the NLC was funded to support the direct employment of up to 57 full-time equivalent (FTE) Indigenous rangers, nine coordinators, cultural advisers, an Indigenous Administration trainee and some program support staff. Under this program, supplemented by other fee-for-service sources, we were also able to employ additional casual employees.

The Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) also provided funding to support up to 12 FTE Indigenous rangers, three coordinators and a program coordinator across three ranger groups: Kenbi on the Cox Peninsula, Yantjarrwu in the Daly region and Timber Creek in the Victoria River region.

This year saw the Ramingining rangers (Wanka Djakamirr, Gurruwiling and Arafura Swamp Catchment) reach a significant milestone by gaining their independence and transferring operations to the Arafura Swamp Rangers Aboriginal Corporation (ASRAC).

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As a result, the Branch now directly supports 12 individual ranger groups, plus one other via subcontract, and three IPAs.

Despite a lack of increase in Commonwealth funding, we continue to seek growth. A concrete example of this our partnership with Seafarms and Native Title Holders under the Legune Indigenous Land Use Agreement. This initiative underpins the planning and on-country work necessary for the development of a new ranger group and represents an important new private partnership model.

Ranger groups continue to lead in fee-for-service activities and cost-recovery programs, supported through government agencies, such as the Department of Primary Industry and Resources (NT Fisheries) and biosecurity surveillance activities for the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR).

While full-time workers constitute the majority of our workforce, a significant number of Traditional Owners were engaged as casual staff to support the ranger groups during peak workloads or to provide cultural advice. Our network of casual rangers is an important means for people to work on their country, often through contributing to peak dry season fire management, culture camps and training opportunities. For all participants, but young people and women in particular, casual work provides the opportunity to experience ranger work.

It also provides the NLC and others with a pool of experienced and engaged land managers from which to draw full-time workers.

NLC ranger groups have continued to deliver on their commitments and lead the country, particularly in the areas of research, management and related innovation. Ranger groups are involved in a vast array of land and sea management programs, including fire management/early dry season burning, weed management, land and sea biodiversity surveys, marine debris collections, fisheries compliance patrols, sacred site management and knowledge transfer through involvement with school groups.

Key achievements for ranger groups this year include:

• The Kenbi Rangers will host the north Australia Ranger Forum in August 2019

• The award of significant commercial fee-for-service work to the rangers in the Darwin/Daly/Wagait region.

• The commencement of Healthy Country Planning at Bulgul and Wudicyeleder

• Timber Creek Rangers participation in a trial carbon project at Jutbarr National Park.

L-R Lewis Raymond and Roderick Harvey from Timber Creek Rangers undertaking bird surveys Timber Creek Ranger Kenny Allyson undertaking bird surveys

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Sawfish - A Case Study Sawfish - A Case Study

Ranger Case Study - Timber Creek Sawfish NLC’s Timber Creek rangers and the CSIRO have established a sawfish monitoring program on the Victoria River to record population estimates and to study its behaviour and breeding.

The first survey, in August 2018, captured 25 dwarf and largetooth sawfish and provided the first recorded evidence of the critically endangered speartooth shark and northern river shark in that waterway.

Timber Creek Rangers research project into the population biology of the Dwarf Sawfish, Pristis clavata

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Sawfish are one of the most endangered species on the planet. Australia has some of the last remaining populations of sawfish. However, populations in most areas are fragmented and declining with commercial fishing and habitat modification the primary threats. The largetooth sawfish is the largest species found in Australia, reaching up to seven metres in length and is known for use of freshwater habitats. It has been found several hundred kilometres upstream in major drainages. The Victoria River is one of the few rivers in the country that still supports largetooth sawfish populations at levels where their capture is not incredibly rare. A survey of the lower reaches of the Victoria River by CSIRO and Timber Creek Rangers in 2018 recorded dwarf and largetooth sawfish, as well two species of river shark.

CSIRO researcher Richard Pillans says: “We caught more in two weeks than I’ve caught in 20 years.”

The presence of sawfish in the Victoria River, combined with their importance to Indigenous culture, provides a unique opportunity to develop a monitoring program involving the Timber Creek Indigenous rangers. The project will undertake surveys of the Victoria River to:

• collect tissue samples for population estimates;

• establish whether catch rates of largetooth sawfish warrant long-term research into movement and mortality using acoustic telemetry; and

• coordinate a training program that will enable Timber Creek rangers to collect data required to obtain estimates of largetooth sawfish. Data collected will be used to inform management and conservation of this species across Northern Australia.

The partnership between the CSIRO and Timber Creek rangers means Indigenous rangers will be trained in survey methods, capture, handling, measurement and tissue sampling of sawfish and speartooth sharks.

Floyd Rogers, one of the Timber Creek rangers who took part in the survey, says: “I’ve been a full-time ranger for three years now. I enjoyed every trip we have done, but this seven days on the river was the greatest I have done and learned a lot on this wonderful Vic River. Now I know there are two sorts of sawfish - freshwater and saltwater sawfish - and it’s great to know their scientific names, Pristis pristis (freshwater) and Pristis clavata (dwarf saltwater). Good to know that other animals on the river are also endangered, like speartooth shark and northern river shark. I had a good time on the river and I’m looking forward to it again next year. And I hope we can catch more freshwater sawfish with Dr Richard Pillans.”

Fellow ranger Aron Harrison says: “It was a great exercise for me working on the river for the first time. It was really good and I really enjoyed it, and I hope I will be doing more surveys on the river and get to know the waterways more. Best time of my life.”

The next survey is scheduled for August 2019.

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Indigenous Protected Areas Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) are a globally recognised, Indigenous-developed way for people to meet their aspiration to care for country long term and participate in the National Reserve System. Nationally, there are 70 Indigenous Protected Areas, which make up more than 44 per cent of Australia’s National Reserve System. IPAs combine traditional and contemporary knowledge into a framework to leverage partnerships with conservation and commercial organisations and provide employment, education and training opportunities for Indigenous people.

In close cooperation with Traditional Owners, the NLC manages three Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs): the Wardaman IPA (declared in 2014) the Ganalanga Mindibirrina IPA (2016) and the South-East Arnhem Land IPA (2017).

Wardaman IPA Wardaman Country lies within the Victoria River and Upper Daly catchments, west of Katherine. The Wardaman IPA covers approximately 224,718 hectares of country rich in cultural heritage. More than 200 recorded rock art sites with about 6000 individual paintings and 41,000 engravings have been recorded. The Lightning Brothers at Yiwarlarlayi on Delamere Station is the best-known Wardaman rock art site. Six art site complexes are considered of national significance and have been registered with the Australian Heritage Commission. The natural landscape, including hills, waterholes, billabongs, springs, water courses, rock outcrops, mineral outcrops, soil, sand, trees and other vegetation, are also culturally significant sites.

The Wardaman IPA has a management emphasis on cultural values and is a hotspot for ancient rock art. In partnership with the Northern Territory Government, via its innovative Ranger Grant program, our staff support traditional Owners in maintenance of these sites. This includes slashing of long grass to create a fire breaks, as well as fence repairs and other active conservation measures.

This year the Wadaman IPA was successful in sourcing funding for the appointment of full-time rangers. This move from a casual workforce to full-time staff was a significant milestone, which included the employment of their first full-time women’s ranger.

During 2018/19, management highlights included:

• Helicopter surveys to monitor the populations and distributions of feral animals and a systematic deployment of cat traps. Data from these findings are being processed into a feral animal management strategy, which can be used for further management on the IPA.

• In partnership with the Northern Territory’s Water Resource Department, the Wardaman rangers have commenced training and working in water monitoring. On a monthly basis during the dry season, the rangers have been testing springs, which naturally occur on the IPA.

• Trial savanna burning has the goal of becoming a registered carbon project in 2020. Rangers and Traditional Owners have begun, with support of Bushfires NT to implement an early season fire program. This was integrated with a ranger exchange to the neighbouring

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Wagiman rangers to strengthen practical knowledge in fire management.

• Participation in Birdlife Workshops, alongside the Timber Creek and Daguragu rangers (Central Land Council). These now well-established bird survey skills will benefit the progression of bird surveys on Wardaman IPA, which is known to host an array of birdlife, including the near threatened, elusive and iconic gouldian finch.

Ganalanga Mindibirrina IPA The Ganalanga Mindibirrina Indigenous Protected Are, which is within the South Western Gulf of the Borroloola Barkly Region and covers about 11,000 square kilometres, is the homeland of the Waanyi and Garawa people.

It encompasses most of the Nicolson Basin and is divided by what is known as China Wall. This location is relatively untouched and is declared as a Category VI, Managed Resource Protected Area, under the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Its management is guided by the Indigenous Protected Area Plan of Management 2015-2020.

The IPA has existing outstations to the north and south of China Wall, some of which are inhabited and others that are visited throughout the year. Various goals and actions are associated within the Plan of Management, including living on country, teaching the next generation culture and language through leaning and ceremonies, and developing ideas for sustainable employment within their IPA homelands.

Community consultation meeting at Borroloola

Getting back out onto country allows for better connection to the land and the opportunity to develop ideas that may lead to opportunities to earn incomes.

Burning to ensure a healthy country is important on the IPA. It reduces the chance of late wildfire sweeping across country and harming fragile ecosystems. Late fires are a significant threat to the outstations, neighbouring pastoral leases and livestock. The aim for Ganalanga Mindibirrina is to conduct yearly prescribed controlled and monitored burns. There is also an opportunity for carbon farming on the IPA - that will be further developed in 2019/20.

Over the past year, limited fire fuel load reduction work has been undertaken to reduce the intensity and minimise the threat of late wildfire to country and neighbouring land and cattle stations. It is anticipated that after the next committee meeting, annual work plans for regular fire management carbon farming initiatives will develop.

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There are several common species of feral animal on the IPA, including horses, pigs, donkeys and cane toads. Cattle and feral animal surveys have previously been undertaken and during 2018/19 further funding has been awarded for new comparative surveys. It is anticipated that the evidence generated will lead to the development of a large animal management plan.

The IPA continues to support and encourage women rangers to work on the. They take part in all the duties required of any ranger, including sacred site care and management, public awareness, animal surveys, trapping, weed spraying and removal.

South East Arnhem Land IPA At nearly 20,000 square kilometres, the South East Arnhem Land IPA spans most of south east Arnhem Land along the far western Gulf of Carpentaria from Blue Mud Bay to the mouth of the Roper River, where tidal flats meet vast coastal plains backed by rugged sandstone uplands.

The vegetation is predominately open eucalypt woodland with paperbark and monsoon rainforests along waterways or in moister pockets.

In the north, tall eucalypt woodlands occur on the deepest soils, while a mosaic of native grasslands, vine thickets, samphire and mangroves characterise the coastal lowlands.

The IPA is managed by an Advisory Committee of senior elders from the Ngukurr and Numbulwar communities.

The South East Arnhem Land IPA consists of the traditional estates of over 20 clans, who speak of themselves as Yugul.

Their country comprises a patchwork of homelands with 20 established outstations, each belonging to a particular family group or clan. All homelands are associated with significant cultural sites and all are enormously important, as they reflect the pattern of traditional land use and ownership.

Homelands are places where ceremonies occur, bush tucker is collected or hunted, and where history, stories and traditional ways are passed on to our children.

Sea Country is particularly important as the basis for livelihoods. It is a key part of culture with Dreamtime ancestors creating marine sites and features just as they did on the land.

Kenbi Rangers patrolling sea country on Darwin Harbour

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The South East Arnhem Land IPA is jointly managed by the Yugul Mangi and Numbulwar Numburindi Rangers, based out of Ngukurr and Numbulwar respectively. The rangers work on behalf of Traditional Owners of the Ritharrngu, Rembarrnga, Ngandi, Ngalakgan, Warndarrang, Yugul and Nunggubuyu peoples whose country is situated in south east Arnhem Land.

During 2018/19 management highlights included:

• The Yugul Mangi rangers, Numbulwar Numburindi rangers, Traditional Owners and Parks and Wildlife rangers undertook a collaborative rock art project funded through the NT Department of Environmental and Natural Resources’ Aboriginal Ranger Grant Program in 2018. This involved surveying rock art sites in Limmen National Park and the South East Arnhem Land IPA. Rangers gained skills in survey methodology and rock art site protection, recording and interpretation, and facilitated the protection and preservation of important rock art sites from environmental degradation.

• The SEAL IPA received funding through the NT Department of Environmental and Natural Resources’ Aboriginal Ranger Grant Program to undertake feral animal management over the entire IPA. The rangers undertook aerial surveys in September 2019 to get an estimate on numbers of feral buffalo, horses, pigs, cattle and donkeys. The rangers also installed photo point monitoring sites throughout the IPA to monitor any changes in land condition from feral animal management in the future.

• Three IPA Advisory Committee meetings were held in the 2018/19 financial year. The committee is uniquely

representative of regional clans, language groups and the townships of Ngukurr and Numbulwar. Initially established to make decisions in relation adaptive IPA management, the role of the SEAL IPA advisory committee has quickly expanded.

• Members continued their program of governance training and are now managing annual budgets in excess of $2 million and an ever-widening array of issues. The SEAL IPA Advisory Committee has also made decisions on funding a community planning and development project using carbon funds.

• This funding has been used to purchase new vehicles for the rangers and to support holding culture camps for Ngukurr and Numbulwar communities.

• The Yugul Mangi rangers ran a two-day culture camp in September 2018. Traditional Owners from the South East Arnhem Land Indigenous Protected Area (SEAL IPA) supported the camp, using some of their income from the carbon farming work of their rangers.

The camp was held at Namiilliwirri outstation, just outside of Ngukurr community, with support from the Ngukurr School and Ngukurr Language Centre.

Yugul Mangi and Numbulwar Numburindi rRangers undertake regular river and sea patrols as part of their work with NT Fisheries to monitor fishing compliance, record suspicious activity and educate visitors about fishing regulations. Fisheries officers visit Numbulwar and Ngukurr twice a year to do compliance training with the rangers, who also retrieve ghost nets and marine debris from the water and beaches. Ghost nets are commercial fishing nets that have been lost, abandoned or discarded at sea.

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Carbon Projects A number of NLC ranger groups, Indigenous Protected Area managers and Traditional Owners are involved in registered carbon abatement projects using the early dry season savanna fire methodology. In 2018/19, a number of new participants trialled these approaches as part of Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation Savanna Fire Management (SFM) Program. While much of this work was preparatory, we expect some groups to begin registering new projects in the 2020.

There is a S19 agreement with ALFA (NT) to undertake carbon farming across the South East Arnhem Land Indigenous Protected Area. It is made up of two project areas - South East Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (SEALFA) and the South East Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Stage 2 (SEALFA2.

The projects use strategic fire management, through the savanna burning methodology, to reduce the fire-generated emissions of methane and nitrous oxide. Strategic early dry season burning reduces the total area burnt each year and shifts the seasonality of burning from late dry season to early dry season.

Fire is a major focus of the Yugul Mangi and Numbulwar Numburindi Rangers’ work. Funding from carbon credits earned through this project has gone towards buying new vehicles and equipment for two ranger groups and running culture camps.

In 2018/19, 15 rangers from both ranger groups completed accredited prescribed burning and firefighting training in Ngukurr with SA Bushfire Solutions. The rangers have been building capacity to fight late season wildfires and have been employing more casual rangers through the fire operational budgets to increase employment opportunities in Ngukurr and Numbulwar. The Yugul Mangi and Numbulwar Numburindi Rangers also hosted the annual end-of-year Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (NT) meeting at Munbililla in Limmen National Park in December 2018. Twelve Indigenous ranger groups, Bushfires NT, Northern Territory Parks and Wildlife rangers, Raindance Systems and Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research staff met to discuss their fire abatement projects.

Jabul Huddlestone, senior Wagiman traditional owner & cultural advisor conducting traditional burning on country

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Key Partnerships The NLC has continued to develop a suite of local, regional, Territory and national partnerships that support the development and delivery of the various ranger group and IPA activities.

Key program partners in addition to DPMC and the ILSC include the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, which provides fee-for-service agreements for biosecurity surveillance activities, and the NT Government’s Department of Primary Industries and Resources (NT 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 Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The NLC welcomed the opportunity to secure much-needed capital and land management funding under the DENR Aboriginal Ranger

Grants program. Staff from the Weeds Management Branch, Bushfires NT and Flora and Fauna Division continued to provide technical advice and operational support regarding fire and weed management, and research and survey programs.

Bush Heritage Australia continued to be a valued partner, providing extensive support to the Arafura ranger groups during the development of their Healthy Country Plan, and during the planning and delivery of the biodiversity surveys within the Ganalanga Mindibirrina IPA.

Our partnership with Territory NRM continued, with a key highlight being the extension of project funding for the control of mimosa and feral pigs within the Finniss Reynolds Catchment, encompassing the floodplains of the Delissavale Wagait Larrakia ALT.

Raymangirr IPA Declaration

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National Parks 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 estates leased by the Northern Territory and Australian governments, including in the national reserve estate for conservation of natural and cultural values and tourism purposes.

Nearly half of the NT’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.

Jointly managed parks are a major resource for the NT and Traditional Owners.

Opportunities in joint management can be significant but require adequate resources.

Traditional owners continued to work to build relationships and partnerships with governments and community and industry.

The NLC is focused on assisting Traditional Owners to:

• Engage more effectively with Parks and Wildlife Commission NT and Parks Australia by providing third party technical advice and advocacy;

• Make informed decisions relating to natural and cultural resource use and management;

• Assess the social, cultural, environmental and economic implications of legislation and proposals affecting parks and reserves;

• Protect and enhance traditional law and cultural practices; and

• Pursue employment and business development opportunities.

Kakadu Throughout 2018-2019, the Joint Management Officer continued to ensure the NLC’s statutory functions were achieved with regard to the use and management of Kakadu, in particular working to increase involvement of relevant Aboriginal people in park management decision-making processes; ensuring effective consultation with Traditional Owners and undertaking the responsibilities of the NLC in the Kakadu Lease.

This involved the establishment and maintenance of close working relationships with the Kakadu Board of Management, Traditional Owners, local Bininj and Mungguy communities, Parks Australia management and staff and local Aboriginal organisations.

Highlights of the year included:

• Six community meetings held in districts across the park focused on engaging Traditional Owners and local Bininj/Mungguy to ensure their views are incorporated in park management planning processes, such as fire planning, weed and feral animal management, tourism and visitor services, park operations and cultural heritage management.

• Three Finance Sub-Committee meetings were held to work through a range of matters related to effectively monitoring the financial management of the park.

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• Two major films were produced with scenes shot in Kakadu. Traditional Owners were consulted and the film-making endorsed by the Kakadu Board of Management

• Top End Wedding, a romantic comedy movie released in 2019, was partly shot in Jabiru and the park. The film created employment opportunities for Traditional Owners and local Bininj in the production crew, support roles and as cultural advisers.

• High Ground is an action thriller set in northern Australia in the 1920s. Scenes were shot at five main locations across Kakadu and created significant employment opportunities for Traditional Owners and local Bininj/ Mungguy, including in acting roles, as cultural advisors, traffic controllers and production crew support.

Twenty Land Information Requests were submitted for Kakadu;

• Seven are for consultation on development of the Tourism Masterplan and Visitor Experience Plans across the park as part of the $216 million commitment from the Commonwealth Government for Growing Tourism in Kakadu;

• Four related to consultation on Northern Environmental Science Program research projects across the park; and

• Nine related to consultation on various park management activities, outstation proposals and film proposals.

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Kakadu NESP The NESP Indigenous Research Coordinator (IRC) position recently established within the Northern Land Council and located in Kakadu is an initiative developed in collaboration with the Kakadu Board of Management (KBoM), Parks Australia, the Northern Environmental Science Program (NESP) and the Northern Land Council.

The NESP position plays a major role in consulting Bininj /Mungguy on their involvement in adapting joint management approaches to achieve effective decision-making on Indigenous land management in Kakadu. This is accomplished by linking Bininj/Mungguy Traditional Owners and research scientists to identify areas across Kakadu that have significant cultural values and establish best practice models in looking after country.

A Kakadu Indigenous Research Steering Committee was formed with key Traditional Owners, KNP Indigenous rangers and a research scientist. It will meet bi-annually.

The Steering Committee evaluates and assesses scientific research projects planned across the park and provides advice and direction for the implementation of these projects.

In consultation with the Traditional Owners and scientists through the Steering Committee, three sites were selected to monitor and evaluate Healthy Country Indicators.

• Stone country before and after fire management.

• Floodplain country before and after para grass and feral animals.

• Woodland country before and after weed and fire management.

NESP scientists and Traditional Owners have built strong working relationship with other Indigenous ranger groups in Kakadu and nearby, such as Njanjma, Djurrubu and Kakadu rangers from each district.

The Bininj/Mungguy Healthy Country Indicators project has created employment opportunities for Traditional Owners through their participation in research activities and site visits. The project is driven by the aspirations of Traditional Owners and supported by the knowledge of rangers and scientific research.

Nardab Site - Weed and Fire Control East Alligator District Traditional Owners and KNP rangers over the years have seen how a healthy floodplain can quickly become overburdened with weeds resulting in the disappearance of wildlife. The project at Nardab was to establish Healthy Indicators by using a combined method of fire and aerial spraying to assess if the experiment would bring about a healthy change.

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Nourglangie Camp Monitoring Healthy Indicators in the Jim Jim district This project is focused on monitoring healthy indicators through the collection of yams and sugarbag ants. The monitoring process will be conducted over a number of visits to the site throughout the dry season.

The country is responding well to this combined approach of traditional knowledge and scientific research, with the return of bird life and restoration of natural habitats.

The Kakadu Indigenous Research Committee held their first meeting early in 2019 to discuss the NESP Heathy Country Indicators that have already been delivered in some districts. From this meeting, Jawoyn Traditional Owners requested that research commence on the effects of burning wattle trees and other seedlings around Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin) Gorge. Traditional Owners also requested a case study on controlled burning and riverbank vegetation at Jarrangbarnmi.

Kooplin Gorge Planning Day A planning day was held on the 25th June 2019 with TOs and NESP scientist at Jarrangbarnmi to discuss methods of monitoring the project.

A part of this project was taking young people back to country and providing input on management of country.

The young men were keen to take part and be involved in sharing their views of country and learn how to operate a drone.

The KIRC will continue to work closely with KNP on maintaining community consultation with Traditional Owners on all scientific research within the KNP that will be undertaken by universities, NT Government, NRM and local Aboriginal community organisations.

NLC Ranger coordinator workshop

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Information Technology Information Technology - Data Collection, Mapping and Reporting The Caring for Country Branch provides ICT training and support to all NLC ranger groups in asset and equipment acquisition, coordination of routine repairs and maintenance. It also provides on-site and remote support, including:

• Documentation of ranger group ICT needs and budget preparation;

• Training in the use of ICT equipment, including MS Teams, GIS/Mapping Software and other data management tools, such as Garmin BaseCamp, Garmin Virb Edit, GeoSetter and Google Earth;

• Production of videos and other educational materials regarding ranger projects;

• General day-to-day ICT support and troubleshooting; and

• Assisting with the collection and management of data and preparation of reports, such as KMZ Google Earth reports.

The NLC receives funding from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Now NIAA) for a dedicated Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) Officer position.

The ICT Officer visits each ranger group at least twice a year and is in regular contact with the rangers to provide support.

2018/2019 has seen the full deployment of the Microsoft Teams unified communications platform to all ranger bases and the Darwin head office. MS Teams provides persistent workplace timelines and file storage integration. Each ranger group has its own “team” accessible by its members. Each team contains communication channels related to group activities updated by its members with reports, photos, comments and files providing all the required information detailing all the activities undertaken by the group.

The benefits of using MS Teams on an everyday basis are:

• A unique centralised communication channel for reporting and every-day management;

• A reduction in email communication; and

• An easy access to a ranger group history and data for new employees

The IT Data Collection, Mapping and Reporting Curriculum Program has been deployed to all ranger bases.

Rangers already trained received support and new rangers are trained by the ICT support officer on site or remotely using TeamViewer.

The curriculum gives the rangers a better understanding of all processes involved in data collection and data management. Basic IT training has also been incorporated in the training program to address the skills gap for rangers not familiar with IT hardware and software.

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The IT Data Collection, Mapping and Reporting Curriculum gives rangers a pathway to learn the skills required to provide accurate and comprehensible reports to the Caring for Country Branch, to the Traditional

Owners and to their community. For practical reasons, the main camera used to collect geo-referenced photo is the Nikon P900 as the Garmin Virb is slowly phased out.

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Training, Exchanges and Capacity Building The Caring for Country Branch has endeavoured over the past few years to build baseline capacity among all rangers to ensure that work plans are undertaken competently and safely. This has led to increased capacity across the teams, enabling rangers to undertake more specific training and develop their workforce to take on fee-for-service contracts.

In the 2018/2019 financial year, training was predominantly funded through WOC, but also supported by Workforce NT’s Aboriginal Responsive Skilling Grant (ARSG), which provides subsidised accredited and non-accredited training to Indigenous employees.

With the support from ARSG, the CFC Branch was able to receive more than $250,000 worth of additional training in 2018/2019.

Across the CFC ranger teams, more than 70% of the workforce are qualified in the basic operational and WHS skills, including remote first aid, chainsaws, small engine maintenance, chemical handling, weed spraying, prescribed burning, coxswain Grade II, 4WD and recovery. With the additional support from Workforce NT, ranger teams were also able to undertake more upskilling courses, such as welding and incendiary training.

With numerous contracts already established with our sea country teams, it was imperative that we focussed on maritime skills and fisheries compliance in the last financial year.

More than 15 rangers from Bulgul, Wudiculpildyerr, Malak Malak, Garngi, Mardbalk, Yugul Mangi and Numbulwar ranger groups undertook their Coxswain

At the Carpentaria Land Council Indigenous Ranger Forum, Burketown, Qld

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Carpentaria Land Council Indigenous Ranger Forum, Burketown, Q/d

Grade II (Certificate I in Maritime Operations) and their Certificate II and III in Fisheries Compliance.

This has now enabled the baseline training for sea country management and boat handling. With the Certificate III in Fisheries Compliance, our Rrngers are now able to work collaboratively with Water Police and apply to become a Fisheries Compliance Officer Grade I.

Key informal training and workshops:

• CLCAC Indigenous Ranger Forum (Burketown)

• NAQS Biosecurity Workshops (Darwin)

• Territory Natural Resource Management (TNRM) Conference (Darwin)

• 2019 North Australia Savanna Fire Forum (Darwin)

In line with the CFC career development and training pathways, the training team engaged with numerous more RTOs in this financial year than previously. We reengaged with Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE) and now have seven ranger teams taking their Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management (CLM). Many rangers will have completed their course by the end of 2019, ready to begin their Certificate III or other qualifications early in 2020.

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Case Study Case Study

Case Study 1: Fisheries Compliance with Malak Malak Rangers, Water Police, Fisheries and AMFA In mid-November 2018, Theresa Lemon from the Malak Malak Rangers began her training with Australian Maritime Fisheries Academy to undertake her Certificate III in Fisheries Compliance, the stepping stone to becoming a Fisheries Compliance Officer, which would allow her to assist water police in managing compliance on the Daly River.

With support from Fisheries (NTG DIPR), the course was completed in several intensive block units, both on country and in the classroom. The eight-month program allowed Theresa to continue her work as a ranger, but also build her skill sets and knowledge to ensure the training was done practically and effectively.

By having on-country learning and collaboration between two key agencies, Water Police and Fisheries, Theresa and other rangers were successful in completing their course without impacting on their workloads and ensured that the course remained relevant and students were not overwhelmed with work. Theresa is now one of only four NLC rangers who have completed the Certificate III in Fisheries Compliance and as the first woman in our Western Top End teams, she will help pave the way for more female rangers to undertake the same rigorous training

to ensure that our sea country and rivers are looked after appropriately.

The 2018/2019 financial year was also a year of increased collaboration between new RTOs, organisations and independent ranger and land management teams.

With CFC’s regional approach, many of the CFC ranger teams enjoyed training projects together, ensuring that there were both sufficient numbers and a possible exchange of knowledge and skills. More than half of our rangers took part in ranger exchanges, non-accredited training and conferences, including attending the Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation’s (CLCAC) Indigenous Ranger Forum, which was made possible from a partnership with the Department of Agriculture. Rangers were able to participate in a three-day event, undertaking informal training sessions, workshops and seminars with a focus on biosecurity and land management. Snake handling was a highlight of the forum, with most of our rangers having a go at learning to handle pythons and venomous snakes.

Other informal training sessions, which half of the CFC ranger teams attended, included a three-day session with the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy (NAQS) where they learnt about aquaculture, plant pests and diseases. Ranger teams that have fee-for-service contracts with the Department of Agriculture were told about the need for better reporting on biosecurity threats.

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Study 2: Community partnerships for collaborative regional training Many RTOs across the Top End require minimum class sizes and can be costly due to travel, accommodation and equipment costs. Over the lifetime of the Ranger Teams, many have developed partnerships with other local businesses or organisations to assist with work programs, staffing, equipment or other operational needs, but many other organisations outside of the ranger programs do not have training as a key priority.

In the past 12 months, the training officer and related ranger teams have pushed for community partnerships to help obtain accredited training and in turn developed and strengthened relationships.

In 2018, the Bulgul Rangers undertook a swathe of operational training, but this could not have been undertaken without the support of the nearby Twin Hill Station Aboriginal Corporation, where NLC coordinated the training, Twin Hill were able to supply additional numbers to meet the

minimum students and provided equipment, accommodation and logistical support, benefiting both NLC rangers and Twin Hill while helping strengthen the relationship between land managers in the region.

Similarly, in June 2019 the Malak Malak and Wudiculpidyerr Rangers undertook accredited welding training. Without support from Ironbark, who provided more students, welders and the workshop, Malak Malak Rangers and CDP participants would not have been able to undertake the much-needed training.

Using training as a tool for community partnerships and collaborations has seen an increase in training of numerous ranger teams over the past year where training has not been possible due to remoteness, insufficient numbers and lack of resources.

By continuing this trend, the ranger teams not only develop capacity, but the entire community benefits from increased capacity and resource sharing.

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Women’s and Youth engagement Implementation of the Women’s Employment Strategy The past year saw a strong recruitment effort across the Caring for Country Branch. As a result, 40% of permanent NLC ranger positions are held by women, and all NLC ranger groups now employ women rangers. Furthermore, 12 out of 13 ranger groups saw comparable levels of participation from women and men in training opportunities. This progress is on track towards half the 2021 targets set out in the Women’s Employment Strategy (WES), detailed in the table below.

The WES targets that require more attention are the employment of Indigenous women in leadership roles, women rangers’ access to vehicles, and female representation in the governance of ranger programs. The Caring for Country Branch will improve outcomes towards these targets by increasing the number of Indigenous identified leadership positions across ranger groups through our Career Pathways Program, updating our fleet, and building local governance bodies to oversee ranger work.

Development of the Youth Engagement Strategy NLC ranger groups work for peoples with a diversity of cultures and histories and operate under widely different circumstances. All NLC ranger groups identify teaching the upcoming generations of custodians how they are connected to country and each other as a core aspiration. Rangers are

already working hard towards this, whether by helping children and families to spend time on country, supporting their languages and cultures being taught in school, or by employing young people as rangers.

NLC rangers have raised the following key priorities for the CFC Branch to support to their youth engagement:

• Uphold customary governance of youth engagement on country - NLC ranger groups work on behalf of the Traditional Owners of the country they care for, and recommend that plans and decisions about youth engagement on country be made with its custodians.

• Recognise and support rangers’ existing youth engagement efforts - rather than imposing new tasks on programs, NLC rangers request that resources and time are allocated towards TO-driven youth engagement work they are already undertaking. Youth engagement needs to be recognised as a legitimate part of ranger work, so it can be budgeted for and prioritised in planning.

• Hold rangers’ youth engagement partners accountable to clear terms of reference - collaborations with schools and other youth programs have fallen through in the past when participating staff members leave the community, or when there are irreconcilable differences in expectations. Asking schools and other organisations to take responsibility for partnerships and commit to them long-term could make these valuable collaborations more sustainable.

Turtle eggs, Numbulwar

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• Ensure children participating in ranger activities are safe - NLC rangers recommend that children are supervised by a responsible adult (parent, guardian, teacher, sport and recreation supervisor etc.) at all times, and are transported in a vehicle with adequate safety restraints.

• Provide mentorship to young rangers -≠ when a ranger faces hardship, it can affect the whole ranger group. NLC senior rangers and coordinators

report deep concern for their younger colleagues, and difficulty in helping them with serious personal issues on top of their already heavy workload.

In direct response to these priorities identified by NLC rangers, the Caring for Country Branch has developed the youth engagement targets detailed in the table below. These targets can be achieved through the roles and responsibilities proposed in the Youth Engagement Strategy.

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The NLC’s Dean Dempsey with community members at Noma homeland, Arnhem Land

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Regional Regional Development Branch Development Branch

The Regional Development Branch is comprised of the regional office network and support operations. According to ABS statistics (2016), about 75 percent or 38,500 of the Indigenous population in the NLC region are residents in regional and remote locations, so therefore NLC regional offices are the first point of contact for a vast majority of Aboriginal people accessing NLC services.

The branch has had 44 positions throughout 2018/19 with staff working across 11 sites and includes:

• 29 regional-based positions in Katherine, Timber Creek, Ngukurr, Borroloola, Tennant Creek, Jabiru, Maningrida, Wadeye, Nhulunbuy and Galiwinku;

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

• 12 positions based in Darwin to directly support all regional offices, coordinating regional programs and providing services to the Darwin Daly Wagait region;

• two ABA Homelands Project positions funded by Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to assist with engaging prioritised homeland communities and completing ABA Homeland Project proposals on behalf of those communities.

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

• Assisting the coordination of all community consultations;

• Coordinating the progressing of section 19 (s19) Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA) land use expressions of interest;

• Compliance activities for s19 ALRA land use agreements;

• Processing permits, funeral and ceremony applications; and;

• Supporting the Full Council and Regional Councils.

Nearly 70 percent of all staff employed in the Regional Development team are Indigenous Australians. A large percentage of our people are recruited locally and have close ties to the region they work in. The regional network also engages up to 20 local Aboriginal casual employees annually to assist with projects.

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It is critical that NLC establish and maintain a presence in Wadeye, Maningrida and Galiwinku as each of these communities have 2000-plus Aboriginal residents. NLC regularly does business at these locations as it is the home of Traditional Owners from numerous clan estates within the Arnhem Land and Daly River/Port Keats Aboriginal Land Trust.

NLC has struggled over the past 12 months with re-establishing a permanent presence in Wadeye because of the lack of suitable infrastructure available to lease an office.

Negotiations commenced early this year with a local Aboriginal association that has plans to develop their facilities in the community.

The association’s development will provide sufficient room for an NLC office. NLC envisage that these arrangements should be agreed soon. We are likely to have an office to operate out of by early November 2019 and security over this arrangement for a few years. This will allow us to recruit someone to the position again.

Achievements Over the past 12 months, the Regional Development Branch achieved the following:

• Conducted 346 section 19 (s19) ALRA land use, native title, royalty distribution, community development, minerals and energy, and ABA Homelands Project consultations involving 7242 Traditional Owners at 147 locations.

• Completed consultations with more than 650 clan estate groups; some of these clans were counted a number of times through meeting an estate group multiple times;

• Led the way in the assessment of all s19 ALRA Land Use Expressions of Interest;

• Processed a high percentage of all the 14,175 land access permits;

• Facilitated the administration of 223 funeral and ceremony applications;

• Managed the ABA Homelands Project consultation and completed community proposals; and

• Supported the logistics and running of Regional Council and Full Council meetings.

Other

Borroloola Barkly Ngukurr

Darwin Daly Wagait Victoria River District

West Arnhem East Arnhem

Katherine

10% 737

23% 1664

24% 1758

9% 648

8% 561

8% 590

18% 1284

Number of Aboriginal People Consulted by Region

7,242

ABORIGINAL PEOPLE WERE CONSULTED

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Strengthening Meeting and Logistics Capacity NLC commenced a vehicle upgrade program last November. The intention is to turn over an aging fleet of regional office vehicles over the next three years in a vehicle replacement schedule.

This will strengthen our fleet and logistics capacity to keep up with the demands of Land Council business and third-party demands.

NLC is required to undertake an unprecedented number of consultation activities and program related works on behalf of Traditional Owners regarding their directions on activities taking place in their communities and traditional land and seas.

These consultations are undertaken particularly with regards to section s19 ALRA land use expressions of interest, ABA Homelands Projects, intertidal negotiations, mining and energy exploration applications, community development, royalty distributions, native title and partner organisation program work activities.

Given the nature of the NLC’s jurisdiction of approximately 570,000km2, these activities require extensive motor vehicle travel between NLC’s Darwin office, regional offices and affected remote communities, with NLC transporting thousands of Aboriginal people to meetings across the breadth of the NLC region. Last year our team facilitated the logistics for 346 meetings at 147 different locations with some of these sites being in very remote areas of the Territory.

Maintaining a fleet of vehicles to accommodate these activities has proven a challenging task for NLC over previous years; our aging fleet, with extended use, has resulted in an increase to repairs and maintenance.

There are a still a number of vehicles used by the Regional Development team that are more than five years old and have travelled over 150,000 kilometres on some of the harshest and remote roads in the Northern Territory.

Many of our older vehicles are also Toyota Troop Carriers with sideways seating in the rear, a seating arrangement posing a higher risk of injury for passengers in an accident. We have been slowly phasing out these types of vehicles and are replacing them with fit-for-purpose options that factor in transporting people safely and comfortably.

Regionalisation NLC has identified the need to establish stronger regions through improving our service delivery capabilities in the bush.

The improvements are to be made as part of a comprehensive regionalisation strategy, with the goal of progressively decentralising services from Darwin throughout our seven regions, to improve community engagement and local delivery of accessible and effective services to Aboriginal people.

High levels of development activity in regional and remote areas outside Darwin are matched by large Aboriginal populations.

The total Indigenous population of the NLC’s seven regions is approximately 51,000, 65 percent of the NT’s total estimated Indigenous population. The large majority of the NLC’s constituents (some 75 percent or 38,500 persons) are residents in regional and remote locations, with the Darwin City itself accounting for just 25 percent of the NLC’s Indigenous population (12,500 persons).

Baniyala homeland, Blue Mud Bay, Arnhem Land

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Most of the Aboriginal people we serve and the work we do are outside of Darwin, yet the vast majority of all NLC staff outside the Caring for Country branch are based in the Darwin CBD. There are a number of existing barriers to expanding service delivery in the regions, which can be summarised as either physical infrastructure constraints or enabling service constraints.

A continuous investment into upgrading regional office infrastructure, communication and information technology infrastructure and software is critical to keeping regional services effectively accommodated and up to date with efficient and modern-day business practices in a progressively changing work environment. Important regional office service hubs, such as Katherine, Nhulunbuy and Jabiru, are being carefully reviewed with a long-term plan to address infrastructure, human resource and service delivery needs. Large Aboriginal communities, such as Wadeye, Maningrida and Galiwinku, are not only service hubs to outlying areas, but also have growing populations with approximately 8000-plus Aboriginal residents across these three sites alone.

A key challenge for NLC moving forward is to finalise our Regionalisation Strategy which has been identified in the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan, so NLC is in a position to shift resources and strengthen services to constituents in locations of high need.

The Regional Development team has drafted the Regionalisation Strategy, which is due to be finalised in the second half of 2019 after consulting the NLC Council. We engaged KPMG late last year to help with finalising our Regionalisation Strategy Business Case, which articulates the rationale for making the investments in service delivery infrastructure necessary to facilitate a restructure of the NLC’s operations.

It provides a fully-costed business case and implementation plan for the proposal, including details of the infrastructure requirements for each of the NLC’s regional offices, and the associated management and operating model.

The benefits of implementing the proposal when compared with the NLC’s existing operations in the regions are detailed and highlight the significant gains to be made in productivity and community engagement as the NLC moves to a new era of service delivery to Aboriginal people in rural and remote areas.

Our team has also completed preliminary concept design plans with a cost estimate for purpose-built facilities at three key regional service hubs and three community office sites. Our aim is to be able to provide a comprehensive plan to NLC’s funding agencies to support our proposal to build stronger regions by the latter half of this year.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Funeral and Ceremonial Fund The NLC administers funeral and ceremonial assistance grants funded by the Aboriginals Benefit Account.

The NLC Full Council recognises the increasing costs of charters, freight and coffin costs. The funeral and ceremonial policy enables Traditional Owners to apply for assistance to conduct funerals and ceremonies on country.

Grants have helped 191 Aboriginal families bury a loved one over the course of the

year and helped the cost of holding 21 ceremonies. Assistance for a funeral is limited to $2000 (GST inclusive) per deceased person and the upper limit for ceremonial assistance is $1000 (GST inclusive). More than $400,000 was spent on assisting funerals and ceremonies throughout the NLC region in 2018/19.

All financial transactions are direct to a service provider. Statistical data for funeral and ceremonial assistance for 2018/19 are provided below.

FUNERALS

REGION APPLICATIONS APPROVED DECLINED PENDING

Borroloola Barkly 31 30 1 0

Darwin Daly Wagait 42 40 2 0

East Arnhem 38 37 1 0

Katherine 22 22 0 0

Ngukurr 11 11 0 0

Victoria River District 12 12 0 0

West Arnhem 45 39 2 4

Total 201 191 6 4

CEREMONY

REGION APPLICATIONS APPROVED DECLINED PENDING

Borroloola Barkly 1 1 0 0

Darwin Daly Wagait 3 3 0 0

East Arnhem 5 5 0 0

Katherine 0 0 0 0

Ngukurr 0 0 0 0

Victoria River District 6 6 0 0

West Arnhem 7 6 1 0

Total 22 21 1 0

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NLC aims to process funeral and ceremony applications within five business days and provide an answer to the applicant about potential support as early as possible.

Our team processed 68 percent of applications within two working days and 79 percent of all applications are finalised within five work days.

To minimise administrative delays NLC use a sharepoint database to register all applications, which enhances visibility across the organisation and allows for more efficient administration.

The program support guidelines and applications for funeral and ceremony funding have also been placed on NLC’s internet site so that people can access information online.

Reasons for applications being declined include duplicate applications for the same funeral or ceremony, and failure to meet funding guidelines.

Land and Water Access Permits A key NLC objective is to ensure access to Aboriginal land is managed effectively and efficiently.

The ALRA 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 in 2008 removed the need for some 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, an 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, attending court sessions - can enter Aboriginal land without a permit.

Government employees and contractors engaged in extracurricular activities without a permit, such as hunting, fishing, camping 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.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

In the 2018-19 year 14,175 access permits were issued. Statistical data for permits issued by type and region for 2018/19 are provided in the following graphs.

Bujana homeland, Gulf country

Other

Mining Work Permit Tourist

Other Transit

Work Permit

Intertidal Fishing Permit

Media/TV/Film

Recreation

Research

10% 1,386

3% 472

47% 6,716

1% 118

1% 57 0%

9

0% 2

9%

1,270

29% 4,145

Other

Darwin Daly Wagait West Arnhem

East Arnhem Multi Regional

Non-Specific to Region Katherine

6% 858 4%

586

6% 886

59% 8,301

16% 2,318

9%

1,226

NUMBER OF PERMITS ISSUED BY PERMIT TYPE NUMBER OF PERMITS ISSUED BY REGION

2018/19, ACCESS PERMIT ISSUED - 14,175

2018/19, ACCESS PERMIT ISSUED - 14,175

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Land Use Agreements Land Use Agreements Objective: to secure economic, social and cultural benefits for Traditional Owners from developments taking place on Aboriginal land.

Aboriginal land and sea in the Northern Territory is rich in biodiversity and other natural resources and has the potential to deliver economic opportunities and good outcomes for our constituents.

A major function of the NLC is to express the wishes of Traditional Owners.

In terms of economic development, this is carried out through s19 ALRA land use agreements. NLC carries out consultations and negotiations on behalf of Traditional Owners with third parties who seek commercial activities on Aboriginal land.

NLC must ensure that any land use proposal is reasonable, that the appropriate Traditional Owners understand the proposal and consents in accordance with traditional decision-making processes, and that affected Aboriginal people are also given an opportunity to express their views about a particular land use application. Once consent is reached, NLC considers the land use proposal and on approval directs the appropriate Aboriginal Land Trust to enter into a licence or lease agreement with the proponent.

Prior to taking land use proposals to the Traditional Owners and affected Aboriginal community groups for consideration, multi-disciplinary teams within the NLC, comprising project coordinators, solicitors, anthropologist, regional support staff and, on an as-needs basis, external experts, undertake a rigorous assessment.

Business and economic development in remote parts of the NT can be impeded by a number of factors. Some proposals may provide insufficient detail about the proposed operational area. Land use proposals may cover an area that affects multiple clan estate groups and, therefore, consultations and the logistics of bringing the decision-makers together can be complex.

Seasonal factors also dictate when and where community consultations can be held. A large percentage of consultations occur during the dry season (April to October).

However, this window of opportunity puts pressure on NLC staff and constituents in relation to planning and holding meetings, as well as meeting legislative timeframes.

The range of micro-enterprises, private businesses, government and community development initiatives continues to increase and NLC is focused on aiding development of enterprises on Aboriginal land. The benefits for Aboriginal owners, community members and stakeholders of securing s19 ALRA land use agreements, facilitated by NLC in accordance with the requirements of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, include:

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

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

• Secure rental returns administered by the NLC and subject to the protections in the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, with rates typically determined by the Valuer-General; and

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

The Commonwealth’s compulsory five-year leases over Aboriginal land expired in August 2012 and all property not underpinned by a lease arrangement reverted back to the Aboriginal Land Trust.

It is the policy of 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 s19 ALRA 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.

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Lease Management It is estimated that there are just over 4000 lots or parcels of land across the 27 discrete medium to large Aboriginal communities on Aboriginal land in the NLC; these lots alone present a significantly large lease management portfolio. The three largest Aboriginal communities, Galiwinku, Maningrida and Wadeye, each have more than 400 lots.

To effectively manage the volume of leasing interest on Aboriginal land NLC has for the past five years used a custom-built electronic database called the Land Information Management System (LIMS), which registers and tracks the progress of s19 ALRA land use expressions of interests up to the agreement and compliance stage. LIMS manages whole-of-life activities associated with negotiated land use agreements; capturing and collating critical information helps the organisation with planning and predicting future workload demands.

LIMS helps manage resources effectively, and significantly enhances the quality and quantity of information presented to Traditional Owners about activities occurring on their land. Over the past few years, NLC’s continuous improvement agenda has initiated reforms through a Land Use Management and Royalties Review (LUMAR).

A dedicated project management team has overseen the review, planning, design and now implementation stage of a new land management database system.

How NLC manages land use expressions of interest and agreement compliance through LIMS will now be replaced by the new LUMAR system, which will include an integrated finance package by the end of 2019.

There have been some project delays in initiating the LIMS information migration in 2018/19; however, the LUMAR system goes live on 1 July 2019 and will be implemented over the next 12 months by the Regional Development Branch and the LUMAR project management team.

Bawaka homeland, Arnhem land

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Galiwin’ku community from the air

THE YEAR IN REVIEW

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Expressions of Interest Expressions of interest for parcels of land have increased significantly from the previous reporting period - 263, a rise of 7%, this financial year.

Over the past 12 months, NLC received land use expressions of interest for 281 parcels of land across a range of industries; approximately 62 percent of all those applications received were to secure a parcel of land in an Aboriginal community.

Lot lease applications included expressions of interest for residential accommodation, industrial areas, retail stores, essential service sites, office accommodation, and government infrastructure.

The cost of the travel, logistics and catering to progress s19 land use expressions of interest this financial year was just over $516,000.

Funds for this activity were derived from ABA grant funds and user-pay contributions. It is interesting to note that proponent contributions towards consultations only covers approximately 25 percent of the cost of running these consultations.

Achievements Since 1 July 2018, the Executive Council and Chief Executive Officer approved 120 s19 ALRA land use agreements. The Executive Council meets six times a year and approved 116 agreements. The income generated through approving these lease agreements stimulates economies in communities and produces a range of economic, cultural and social benefits for Traditional Owners.

Challenges The increasing number of s19 ALRA land use agreements and expressions of interests since August 2012 has required significant resources to progress and manage a rapidly growing land use management portfolio. NLC’s continuous improvement strategy has invested in streamlining lease management business processes and procedures, strengthening multi-disciplinary teamwork, enhancing the logistics and meeting capabilities of regional offices, and designing new lease management systems. Lease management efficiencies will significantly

Borroloola Barkly Ngukurr

Darwin Daly Wagait Victoria River District

West Arnhem East Arnhem

Katherine

6% 16

20% 56

20% 56

16% 45

9% 26

3% 10

26% 72

Other

CEO Executive Council

97% 116

3% 4

LAND USE EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST BY LAND PARCEL & REGION

NLC DELEGATED AUTHORITY APPROVING s19 LAND USE AGREEMENTS

2018/19, RECEIVED 195 EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST

2018/19, TOTAL 120 LAND USE AGREEMENTS

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

enhance NLC’s ability to work closely with Traditional Owners to harness economic and community development opportunities.

Managing Proponent Expectations To progress an expression of interest up to the agreement stage takes resources and time. Consideration must be given to the large number of existing applications, competing priorities, and the steps that NLC follow - from registering the interest up to having an agreement executed.

The s19 land use assessment process can take up to six months to get a proposal to an agreement, if there are minimal delays experienced. Proponents need to factor these timeframes into their planning to avoid disappointment.

Addressing a backlog of s19 land use proposals NLC continues to work through a large number of expressions of interest and the following statistics will provide an insight into the workload demands and the cost associated to progress these activities:

• 1 July 2018 - commenced year with existing expressions of interest for 355 parcels of land;

• Received and registered new expressions of interest for an additional 281 parcels of land;

• 103 meetings were held with Traditional Owners and affected groups to discuss s19 ALRA Land Use Expressions of Interest; some groups met multiple times;

• 3314 Traditional Owners and Aboriginal people from affected and interest groups were consulted across 53 different locations throughout the NLC region;

• Registered consultations with 262 clan estate groups (some of these clans were counted a number of times with meeting that estate group more than once);

• More than $516,000 was spent on associated travel and meetings costs; and

• NLC’s delegated authorities granted 120 s19 ALRA Land Use Agreements that covered 158 parcels of land.

At the end of the reporting period there were expressions of interest for 47 parcels of land that had gone to consultation with key terms agreed to by Traditional Owners but not finalised as documentation was in the process of being prepared for the NLC’s Delegated Authority to consider at the next Executive Council Meeting.

• 30 June 2019 - NLC closed the year with outstanding expressions of interest over 413 parcels of land.

The NLC will need to progress the outstanding expressions of interest, noting that some of these interests compete for the same land parcel. The backlog of proposals has increased from the previous year - at the conclusion of this financial year, our total had increased by 16 percent with an additional 58 proposals outstanding compared with the previous year. Dedicated s19 ALRA Land Use Project Teams continue to work through outstanding expressions of interest.

The reason NLC experience delays in progressing s19 Land Use Agreements include:

• Proponents fail to provide relevant information in a timely manner;

• Difficulties finalising negotiations with proponents;

• Traditional Owner groups unable to make decisions;

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• Funding limitations to hold meetings and resourcing issues;

• Delays in obtaining signatures of land trust members to complete agreements;

• Obtaining ministerial consent for agreements; and

• Funerals and sorry business.

A large percentage of the backlog of work that has been around for a lengthy period has been due to Traditional Owner disputes and not being able to make a decision.

The increasing demand on NLC to progress these activities continues to place significant strain on resources.

Additional Resources NLC was able to put a successful business case to the Minister for Indigenous Affairs with strategies to reduce the s19 ALRA land use expressions of interest backlog. Additional resources to support the proposal were provided late in the 2018/19 reporting period to increase our capacity to tackle the large volume of outstanding s19 ALRA land use proposals. This investment has had an immediate impact with our ability to transact more business later in the financial year. Where we would have had to delay consultations due to resourcing issues, we have been able to address straight away.

The additional resources will improve our capacity significantly over the next 12 months and we anticipate NLC will be able to reduce the number of these activities while continuing to manage the level of interest.

Another bonus to reducing the backlog is the successful engagement of Yirrkala’s Traditional Owners groups. After a series of s19 ALRA land use meetings over an eight-month period, the Rirratjingu and Gumatj clans came together and agreed to outstanding lease applications from third parties for parcels of land in Yirrkala.

Some of these applications were more than five years old and at the completion of the reporting period Traditional Owner’s approved land use agreements for nearly 70 lots in the community.

Other

Borroloola Barkly Ngukurr

Darwin Daly Wagait Victoria River District

West Arnhem East Arnhem

Katherine

4% 15

8% 35

16% 64

32% 134

15% 60

8% 35

17% 70

NUMBER OF LAND USE EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST BY LAND PARCEL

30 JUNE 2019, TOTAL 413

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Cost of Consulting Traditional Owners Progressing s19 ALRA land use applications with Traditional Owners has significant cost implications; having strengthened user pay systems as per the Australian Government cost recovery guidelines has been critical to improving NLC’s business efficiency, productivity and responsiveness.

It will be crucial to continue to implement user-pay systems successfully to ensure that the progressions of s19 land use agreements are done more cost effectively for the NLC.

Consulting Traditional Owners in different regions and locations has varying levels of costs associated with it.

Transacting business with some Traditional Owner groups can be relatively inexpensive to hold consultations and this may cost NLC less than $2000 in associated travel and meeting costs. However, there are other areas that are remote, Traditional Owners are dispersed widely and proponents want to secure a licence to operate over large areas covering multiple clan estates. These types of consultations can blow out cost to more than $20,000 per meeting.

Agreement Compliance Land use agreements have a compliance requirement, which needs to be monitored and resources applied to ensure that the interests of Traditional Owners are managed in accordance with the agreement.

Agreements such as tourism, crocodile egg collecting, safari hunting, mustering, and pet meat require NLC to analyse data so that annual fees and royalties can be calculated, and proponents invoiced correctly to ensure funds are received and distributed to Traditional Owners.

The NLC s19 land use agreement portfolio has increased to 723 land use agreements across 3687 parcels of land. As a result, the demand for lease compliance work continues to grow with regular lease reviews. A high percentage of NLC personnel dedicate a large percentage of their time to agreement negotiation. Managing the compliance aspect of agreements is becoming increasingly difficult to undertake effectively.

NLC established dedicated resources to assist with agreement compliance a couple of years ago and are looking to strengthen this through resources to support this activity.

Other

Borroloola Barkly Ngukurr

Darwin Daly Wagait Victoria River District

West Arnhem East Arnhem

Katherine

5% 12

0% 1

15% 39

39% 99

7% 19

5% 12

29% 73

PARCELS OF LAND UNDER A LAND USE AGREEMENT BY REGION

30 JUNE 2019 - 3,687 PARCELS OF LAND

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Commercial Development GOAL: to facilitate economic opportunities that lead to viable and sustainable commercial activities and development in the regions.

KEY OBJECTIVE: to empower Aboriginal people to carry out commercial activities and build sustainable enterprises.

Economic development provides the foundation for genuine opportunities for Aboriginal people by providing cultural and social benefits.

Section 23(1)(ea) of the ALRA empowers NLC to assist Aboriginal people to carry out commercial activities, provided that NLC itself does not profit from the activities.

Aboriginal people in the NLC region suffer from high levels of disadvantage, a situation that is not likely to change without long-term strategic investment.

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 Aboriginal land in the NT, as well as 85% of the coastline. The NLC economic development program assists Traditional Owners to use their land assets to create investment and businesses and employment opportunities.

NLC faces many challenges in helping build sustainable enterprises on Aboriginal land as most former reserve land and land obtained under the ALRA has low commercial productivity and few dedicated resources to help facilitate this.

Services and essential infrastructure are also poor in remote locations. Exceptions include areas where minerals have been found and where nature-based tourism can exist. Regardless, economic opportunities do 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 also in development and the environmental sector provides real opportunities for Aboriginal enterprises.

As a result of the Blue Mud Bay High court decision, entry into the commercial fishing industry is likely to present commercial and economic opportunities.

The long-term focus, however, is on developing the capacity of Traditional Owners:

• To participate in the mainstream economy;

• To take advantage of commercial opportunities arising from developments on Aboriginal land; and

• To develop long-term sustainable Aboriginal enterprises in the pastoral industry, timber works, aquaculture, feral animal management and harvesting, carbon (fire) abatement programs, mining operations, railways and pipelines, gas and major infrastructure development.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Aboriginal Participation In reviewing Indigenous participation with land use agreements on Aboriginal land, NLC has adopted the ABS definition of an Indigenous business: a legal entity that is majority owned by Indigenous persons and is engaging in productive activity and/or other forms of economic activity in the market sector.

Such entities accumulate assets on their own account and/or hold assets on behalf of others and may incur liabilities. Included are economic entities, such as incorporated businesses, where majority ownership of the entity may be shared between Indigenous directors, partners and/or shareholders.

Aboriginal business and corporations feature strongly in the leasing of major assets on Aboriginal land trusts with the vast majority of community stores leased by an Aboriginal business entity.

Overall Indigenous corporations have an interest in nearly 18% of all land use agreements and cover a range of industries, including shops, a township lease, rocket launching site, pastoral station, tourism and fishing. Aboriginal participation is likely to increase with leasing activity as 28% of the 413 outstanding expressions of interest are from Indigenous proponents.

Wagiman burning flower stalk

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Pastoral Pastoral Unit activities - industry update The northern pastoral industry has a strong focus on live exports and is subject to a range of external influences in terms of international market demand fluctuations as a result of factors such as the value of the Australian currency, international competitors, the import policies of destination countries, the availability of reliable shipping and seasonal conditions.

The NT cattle population has remained stable over the past few years at about 2.1 million head, which is about 8% of the estimated Australian herd of around 26.9 million. Approximately 50-60% of all NT cattle are in the NLC regional area. It is estimated that there are approximately 100,000 head on Aboriginal land behind fences under a land use agreement in NLC’s jurisdiction and thousands of bush cattle roaming free dispersed across a number of Aboriginal land trust areas.

The live cattle export trade and the sale of cattle in the interstate markets tend to dominate pastoral production in the Territory.

The live export of cattle has been experiencing a relaxing of prices offered by exporters because of the dry conditions and competitors in traditional market destinations. However, recent prices indicate a strengthening to over $3 per kilogram live weight for export feeder steers and look set to continue to remain steady for the rest of 2019.

The live export trade to South East Asian countries remains the strongest market destination and experienced some growth in the 2018 calendar year with 272,282 NT cattle being live exported, mainly to Indonesia and Vietnam, from the Darwin Port. The 2018 export figures for NT cattle are the best in the past three calendar years, which is promising for the pastoral industry.

The pastoral industry remains a major contributor to regional economies. It also generates considerable flow-on benefits to other industries, particularly transport and storage, business-to-business services, and retail trade services.

The state of the industry as a whole reflects on the demand for grazing licences and the type of businesses seeking to obtain grazing licences on Aboriginal land trusts. During times of industry prosperity, many pastoral companies see investing in enterprise expansion on Aboriginal land as a viable option. The process is becoming more competitive for potentially productive pastoral areas on Aboriginal land trusts.

Loading the cattle following a muster on Wagiman country

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Meatworks Operations The Australian Agricultural Company’s $100 million abattoir at Livingstone outside of Darwin has been mothballed since 2018.

The closure has reduced the opportunity for producers to sell non-export cattle, which results in higher transportation costs to access alternative markets.

The Gunbalanya meatworks continues to operate a small meatworks and retail butcher shop in the community, as well as supplying other customers throughout the Northern Territory. The meatworks processes beef and buffalo grown on the adjoining station and is a significant source of local employment. Another abattoir is expected to open in the Batchelor area in the near future after extensive refurbishment. It is believed to have capacity to process cattle as well as buffalo. This may provide an outlet for animals that are not suitable for live export and further assist the viability of feral animal harvest operations.

Pastoral Unit Workload NLC pastoral unit’s workload continues to grow with an increasing number of activities to monitor:

• 40 pastoral grazing licences;

• five cattle mustering licences; and

• seven buffalo mustering licences

There are two pastoral coordinator positions - based in Darwin and Katherine - dedicated to assessing expressions of interest, agreement consultation and compliance management.

Pastoral compliance is resource intensive and critical as up to 70% of Traditional Owner benefits over the course of a land use agreement on their country could be through infrastructure offsets for vital equipment, such as bores, watering points, fencing, and cattle yards.

The annual value of benefits to Traditional Owners across the 40 pastoral grazing licences is estimated to be $2.3 million.

It is important that NLC constantly liaise with licence holders, government and Traditional Owners to ensure key milestones in agreements are achieved and property, and environmental and animal conditions are managed properly. Much of the process involves a lot of bush work with each pastoral coordinator spending a large portion of their work time travelling, checking on property conditions and agreement deliverables, and consulting with Traditional Owners and key stakeholders.

The pastoral team works closely with government departments to access up-to-date best practice information to ensure pastoral activities are sustainable and viable for the long-term benefit of Traditional Owners. This year our team managed to complete 17 compliance activities across our pastoral licence portfolio.

The following graph is a snapshot of pastoral activities for the NLC. The land mass under pastoral and mustering agreements is approximately 55,000km2.

Other

Buffalo Mustering EOI Pastoral Grazing Licence

Buffalo Mustering Licence Pastoral Mustering Licence Pastoral Grazing EOI

7% 5 18%

14

9% 7

15% 12

51% 40

Statistical Analysis of the Pastoral Activity

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Pastoral Interests Throughout the year NLC fielded a large number of enquiries from pastoralists about potential grazing arrangements on Aboriginal land trusts, such as Mangarrayi and Menggen, and numerous general enquiries about areas potentially available. The continued dry conditions across the Barkly and VRD and the consecutive lighter-than-average wet seasons in northern grazing areas has increased pressure on cattle producers.

Several grazing licences expired in the past 12 months and competing interests have created stronger competition for the available licence areas. Values offered for grazing licences continue to improve as the industry remains in a buoyant state and demand for NT cattle from a range of Asian importers continues to improve.

Animal welfare compliance remains a high priority for mustering and pastoral activities. Contractors and licence holders are required to adhere to best-practice methodology and legally required standards in all aspects of the supply chain as expected by exporters, processors and government regulators. Pastoral districts within the NLC region have average to low volumes of pasture available for dry season grazing, with the Barkly having the lowest volumes of available pasture.

It is expected that as the season progresses it will be increasingly difficult for cattle of export quality to be available until the stock grazing on northern floodplains becomes available to the export market later in the year. Demand from livestock exporters is expected to remain stable, taking into account seasonal conditions and the varying requirements of the destination countries.

Buffalo The live export of buffalo over the past two calendar years has remained stable with 9916 exported through Darwin Port in 2017 and 8673 in 2018.:

Feral buffalo continue to be mustered on Aboriginal land trusts, mainly in Arnhem Land where a total of 3529 head were reportedly mustered to the end of 2018 season. Buffalo mustering accounted for approximately 40% of all NT buffalo exports. The market demand continues to be mainly from Indonesia, Vietnam and, to a lesser extent, Malaysia. Traditional Owners have a range of aspirations for feral buffalo herds on Aboriginal land, which vary from culling to limit land degradation and improve options for other land uses through to sustainable levels of harvest.

The saleable animals in a feral herd are estimated to be around 20%, which means it may not be viable to try to muster the same area for two years to allow smaller animals to grow to a saleable weight and muster cost-effective numbers. Sustainable buffalo mustering may have an impact on country, especially if Traditional Owners want to reduce buffalo numbers for better land management.

Unauthorised Mustering Mustering on land trusts without a licence or legal authority is an issue for the NLC. Non-authorised mustering is illegal and results in the loss of income for Traditional Owners as they are not receiving payment for livestock removed from their country.

The NLC is working with appropriate authorities to minimise the impact of stock theft, which has been identified as an issue by the wider industry.

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NLC manage a large geographical area and it is difficult to provide the level of monitoring required with limited resources. Cattle duffing operations, unauthorised pet meat harvesting, unauthorised safari hunting and non-Traditional Owner weekend hunters are all problem issues on land trust areas.

Mustering of Aboriginal Land NLC supervised the mustering of cattle on the Wagiman Aboriginal Land Trust by neighbouring properties. The muster covered approximately 820 kms2 and allowed for the land trust area to be comprehensively mustered for the first time in many years. The whole operation was resource intensive with staff, equipment and logistical coordination. A Traditional Owner and a staff member from the Department of Primary Industry and Resources Indigenous Pastoral Program were also present each day of the mustering and drafting operations.

The outcome of the mustering operation was that 608 head of cattle were mustered. All branded cattle were returned to their owners and unbranded cattle were sold to a neighbouring property for the benefit of Traditional Owners. Another notable operation was mustering on the Waanyi/Garawa Aboriginal Land Trust. The Mustering Licence holder mustered 9 different sites on land trust areas and recovered a total of 1440 head of cattle.

Pastoral Rangeland Monitoring NLC has reviewed rangeland conditions on a number of grazing areas over the past few years to gauge the sustainability and impact on grazing areas. Rangeland monitoring on pastoral areas consists of the establishment of monitoring sites

in suitable areas approximately 2.5-3.5 kilometres from stock watering points.

Some of the land trusts that were previously pastoral leases have historical data that can be used in the evaluation process to establish comparisons. However, some Aboriginal land trust areas have not previously had monitoring points so new points have been established. The site coordinates are recorded, along with data on the composition of native grasses, tree density, land condition, erosion, weeds and percentage of bare ground. Photographic data is also recorded to visually record changes in the rangeland appearance over many years and decades.

The information gathered from rangeland monitoring points is used to establish if grazing density is at long-term sustainable levels or if grazing density can be increased or reduced.

Rangeland monitoring, Mayat country

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Fire histories and seasonal variability is also taken into consideration when assessments are carried out.

The Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, Indigenous Pastoral Program (IPP) provide high-level technical expertise to the Northern Land Council in evaluating pastoral rangeland and establishing rangeland monitoring points on land trusts.

Data recording of these sites is critical to evaluate rangelands and develop adaptive management strategies if required to ensure they remain in a healthy state and retain high levels of native plant species and biodiversity, ensuring long-term sustainability for pastoral activities.

Bradshaw Partnering Indigenous Land Use Agreement The Department of Defence Bradshaw Field Training Area (BFTA), formerly known as Bradshaw Station, is near Timber Creek within the Victoria River District. The facility is one of the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) largest military training areas, purchased by the Australian Government in 1996. BFTA covers approximately 870,000 hectares and is bound to the north by the Fitzmaurice River, to the west by the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, to the south by the Victoria River and to the east by pastoral properties.

The Department of Defence negotiated the Bradshaw Partnering Indigenous Land Use Agreement with NLC and Traditional Owners. The agreement, which has been in place since July 2003, has provided NLC recurrent funding for over a decade to support a dedicated position to assist Traditional Owners with

the implementation and monitoring of the agreement. NLC’s Bradshaw Liaison Officer is located at Timber Creek and is responsible for consulting with Traditional Owners and ADF personnel in the implementation and monitoring of the Bradshaw Partnering ILUA.

Over the past decade a special emphasis has been placed on developing the capacity of Traditional Owners to participate effectively in cultural maintenance, including an annual cultural camp, business activities, training and employment, and promoting Aboriginal employment opportunities.

This led to Traditional Owners establishing their own business in June 2008, Bradshaw and Timber Creek Contracting & Resource Co Pty Ltd. The business has taken advantage of the unique contracting opportunities afforded within the BFTA. The company’s strong performance over the past 11 years has put it in a position to take on a range of contracts and fee-for-service activities with the Department of Defence, US Marines Corp, shire council, NT Government and larger Defence contractors.

Bradshaw & Timber Creek Contracting & Resource Co Pty Ltd The company was established in June 2008 by senior Traditional Owners It started from a zero financial and asset base - there was no money, no equipment, and little or no expertise in business, just a desire to provide local employment opportunities for Aboriginal people on their own country. The business is 100% Indigenous managed and operated, and is headed up by a board of six Aboriginal directors, who are all Traditional Owners within the Bradshaw and VRD area.

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The company received strong support through the NLC’s Bradshaw Liaison Officer to establish the business. This support has continued to enable the company to be where it is today - in a position of strength with a strong asset base, which includes an industrial work shed and yard, a dedicated workers’ village, and large range of plant and machinery for municipal and infrastructure project contracts.

The company, which has demonstrated it is competitive and has a reliable workforce, employs up to 12 full-time permanent local Aboriginal men, plus an additional 10 local Aboriginal men are engaged on a full-time casual basis in peak contracting periods.

The ADF, particularly through BFTA Range Control Officers, has provided the company’s local Aboriginal employees mentoring, encouragement, guidance and support. ADF’s commitment to the ILUA and local Indigenous participation has been critical to the company’s development and success.

There has been a general broadening of the complexity of works for the company at BFTA. Activities now include road works, firebreaks, weed management, solid waste and portaloo management, military tent erection and dismantling, target construction, water infrastructure installation and maintenance, water and environmental monitoring, and general support for all military training exercises. Joint ventures have also been entered into with other civil works companies to undertake larger road projects; some of the company’s employees have been engaged by larger contractors for projects.

The company has secured further contracts based on increased capacity and this, in turn, provides further Aboriginal employment opportunities. It has established a good reputation for being reliable and cost effective, and as a result contracting opportunities continue to present themselves. The company holds the NT Government weed management contract for the western Victoria River region and roadside slashing on the Victoria Highway.

The Bradshaw Partnering ILUA and the support provided by the NLC and Department of Defence have been critical to the company’s success. The company looks forward to continuing the successful relationship as these partnerships have provided real employment and business opportunities for local Aboriginal people and this has made a positive impact within Aboriginal families in Timber Creek.

The ADF have indicated that there are likely to be further major investments in upgrading facilities at the BFTA over the next few years, which is likely have a major impact on the development of Timber Creek and surrounding communities through providing increased employment and business opportunities.

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ABA Homelands Project ABA Homelands Project The Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) Homelands Project has been allocated a total of $40 million for a one-off infrastructure investment in selected homelands in the Northern Territory.

This project is community-driven with an emphasis on consulting with homelands residents to learn what forms of investment they see as most beneficial. The project consults with other sources of assistance to homelands, such as the NT Government’s Municipal and Essential Services (MES) program, so that the investment is not duplicated.

The project funds will be allocated for the delivery of activities in homelands across the four Aboriginal land council regions in the NT:

• Northern Land Council - $15.75 million;

• Central Land Council - $15.75 million;

• Tiwi Land Council - $2 million; and

• Anindiliyakwa Land Council - $2 million.

An amount of $4.5 million will be kept as a contingency for the engagement of technical specialists. Any remaining funds are to be reinvested into this project.

The Project has three Key Stages: 1. Consultation: land councils consult with selected homelands in their regions and then submit proposals for assessment.

2. Assessment: each proposal is checked by the PMC to ensure benefit, need and capacity criteria are addressed. Proposals are presented to the ABA Advisory Committee (ABAAC) and their recommendation is considered by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs.

3. Delivery: local Indigenous providers are approached by the PMC to submit an application to deliver approved infrastructure activities. PMC formally assesses applications and, if successful, PMC enters into a funding agreement with providers.

The NLC’s Borroloola regional manager Stuart Worthington with residents of Budjanga homeland, Gulf country

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Project Management • NLC initially consulted Aboriginal Homeland Service Provider Boards to discuss priority communities in

their area of operation. These service providers have a strong relationship with homeland communities and are the local experts in understanding community need. There are 20 service providers providing essential and municipal services to homeland communities in the NLC region.

• NLC engaged other community stakeholders to assist in identifying homeland community infrastructure priorities and need. Homeland community residents enquiring about the ABA Homelands Project separately were provided information about the program and referred to their homeland service provider to discuss their priorities.

• Managing expectations - it is estimated that with the amount of funds available, the extremely high need, and the cost of doing business in the bush it is likely up to 80 homelands are likely to benefit from the ABA Homelands Project in the NLC region;

• Aboriginal Homeland Service Provider Boards provided NLC with a list of homelands to consult with over potential projects;

• PMC provided an information package to help NLC with consultations. Information included previous and planned government investment in each homeland (to avoid duplication of support); and

• NLC consulted the residents of prioritised homeland communities about potential projects identified by service providers. Community residents identified their funding priorities and NLC prepared detailed funding proposals on the behalf of the community, not the service provider.

What the project can fund

• New and upgraded essential services infrastructure to provide safe and reliable power, water; and sewerage services.

• Upgrades and repairs to infrastructure that supports access to a homeland, such as roads, bridges, cross-overs, airstrips and barge landings, but do not or are not eligible to receive funding from other sources.

• New or upgraded radio/ telephony infrastructure, including mobile phone coverage.

• New and upgraded infrastructure to improve the amenity of a homeland, including ablution blocks, meeting facilities, and new dump and fencing.

• Vehicles and machinery for municipal activities and owned by an Aboriginal organisation.

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Statistical Outlook The NLC region has just over 200 occupied homeland communities with varying levels of need. There are nearly 4000 residents living permanently at homeland communities.

The level of need for essential and municipal service infrastructure is significantly high and rough estimates calculate these costs into the high tens of millions of dollars, so prioritising investments in this project will be critical as not everything can be funded. Other

Darwin Daly Wagait Victoria River District

West Arnhem

Ngukurr Borroloola Barkly

East Arnhem

Katherine

10% 20

28% 54

1% 3

7% 14

9% 19

17% 33

29% 57

Other

Darwin Daly Wagait Victoria River District

West Arnhem

Ngukurr Borroloola Barkly

East Arnhem

Katherine

4% 136 3%

120

8% 333

37% 1457

26% 1045

11% 436

11% 437

Number of regularly occupied Homeland Communities across the NLC’s 7 Regions - 204 Regional Breakdown - Number of Homeland Residents (Total - 3,964)

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All Regions to Benefit It is also essential that all seven NLC regions benefit from the ABA Homelands Project and that funds are distributed throughout each region for the benefit of Aboriginal people living on their homeland community.

To have a fair and equal distribution of funds, the investment will be distributed using NLC’s recommended regional distribution model, which is based on:

1. Overall percentage of homeland community population by region;

2. Overall percentage of homeland communities by region;

3. Average percentage of A and B by region applied against the overall funds allocation;

4. Applying a $4 million cap on regional funding;

5. Equalisation - the balance of funds with a cap applied would allow other NLC regions with high needs to receive a top up and maximise benefits across a larger area.

The quarantining of funds for each region allows all NLC regions to benefit.

NLC REGIONS

RECOMMENDED BUDGET

East Arnhem $4,000,000

West Arnhem $4,000,000

Darwin Daly Wagait $2,011,250

Borroloola Barkly $2,700,000

Katherine $600,000

Ngukurr $1,100,000

Victoria River District $1,338,750

Total $15,750,000

The NLC’s Nathan Rosas & Kym Brahim consulting with residents at Wogyala homeland, Barkly Tableland

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Consultations Regional Councils NLC’s seven Regional Councils were consulted and they were consistent in identifying key funding priorities for their respective regions.

FUNDING PRIORITIES 1. The homeland community must be permanently occupied by Aboriginal people, the Aboriginal

residents must be living there for most of the year and it must be their principal place of residence.

2. Essential service upgrades, including power, water, and sewerage infrastructure.

3. Upgrades to access, including roads, bridges, cross-overs, airstrips, and barge landings.

4. New or upgraded radio/ telephony infrastructure, including mobile phone coverage.

5. New and upgraded community, such as ablution blocks, meeting facilities, and new dumps and fencing.

6. Prioritise investments that will have the largest impact and meet the highest need.

7. Investment into community infrastructure that fits within the project guidelines that may assist with economic opportunities.

8. Vehicles and machinery for municipal activities that are owned by an Aboriginal organisation.

Homeland Community Service Providers NLC consulted Aboriginal Homeland Service Provider Boards throughout 2018/19. These boards are comprised of all Aboriginal members or a significantly high majority.

At the end of June 2019, NLC had consulted the vast majority of the Homeland Service Providers with only a couple remaining to be consulted in the Barkly and VRD.

Homeland Communities The information received from Homeland Service Providers guided our community consultations, with some providers taking their time in submitting well thought out, fully costed, detailed funding priorities.

The first phase of homeland community consultations with community residents and Traditional Owners commenced at the beginning of September 2018 and continued through until late-December 2018. The NLC completed 84 homeland consultations.

A second phase of homeland community consultations commenced in early March 2019 and continued up until the end of May 2019, with NLC completing a further 20 homeland consultations.

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The NLC’s Jeff Yoelu consulting with residents at Merrepen, Daly River Tablelands

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ABA Homelands Project Funding Proposals

FIRST FUNDING PROPOSALS

NLC put together a recommended funding package for the ABA Advisory Committee that incorporated 33 homeland community proposals across five NLC regions in early February 2019. The highest priority activities for the highest priority communities have been recommended for funding based on overall need and benefit.

A significantly high percentage of those proposals were for essential services that address environmental health issues, reduce diesel consumption and create significant savings from operating budgets over the next 10 to 15 years.

The 33 community projects outlined in the following table have now been approved. They will directly benefit 260 homes and about 1670 homeland residents, and will upgrade critical infrastructure to just over 40 percent of all Aboriginal people living on homelands in the NLC region.

The approved activities from the first round of funding proposals is estimated to be up to $11.2 million, which includes a $450,000 contribution from the NT Government for three large renewable energy projects in the East Arnhem region. All the approved projects have moved into the negotiation and delivery stage with PMC and a service provider.

SECOND FUNDING PROPOSALS

NLC second round of proposals was put together in early June 2019 with a recommended funding package to the ABA Advisory Committee that incorporated 22 homeland communities across six NLC regions. Most of the community proposals came from the Borroloola Barkly (14) and Ngukurr (3) regions. A significantly high percentage of those proposals were for essential services that address environmental health issues and for mobile communications.

At the end of June 2019, the second round of funding proposals was pending consideration from both the ABA Advisory Committee and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs.

FUTURE FUNDING PROPOSALS

NLC will continue to consult with Homeland Service Providers and homeland communities until each region has been covered and all funds for the project have been committed. Consultations will continue in some areas in 2019/20.

Indigenous Participation

One of the project deliverables was a high level of Indigenous participation. NLC used 20 regional office staff and achieved 65% Indigenous participation, plus engaged the services of two independent Aboriginal ranger programs.

Don Wininba, NLC project officer at Galiwin’ku in north-east Arnhem land taking a well earned break back at camp

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Minerals & Minerals & Energy Branch Energy Branch

The NLC has statutory responsibilities in relation to minerals and energy exploration, production and associated activities as prescribed by the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA) and the Native Title Act 1993 (NTA).

These laws enable the property rights and other interests of Aboriginal people to be recognised through their enduring cultural connection to country and provide a regulatory framework for Traditional Owners to make an agreement with exploration and mining companies if they choose.

The Minerals and Energy Branch is responsible for managing the NLC’s contractual and statutory obligations as they relate to minerals and energy exploration, production and associated activities. The principle objectives of the branch are compliance, accountability and transparency of the NLC’s functions as they relate to the minerals and energy sectors.

Our staff provide accurate and up-to-date environmental, technical and other information and support to Aboriginal people at all stages in the life of a resource project, from submission of an exploration proposal to production, including in relation to rehabilitation and closure activities.

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Activities The majority of Minerals and Energy Branch consultations during the 2018-19 period related to minerals exploration proposals under existing agreements.

Minerals exploration expenditure in the Northern Territory for the 2018-19 financial year was reported at $131.9 million, the highest annual figure since 2011-12.

During 2018-19, the NLC convened consultations with Traditional Owners about onshore gas exploration proposals submitted in response to the lifting of the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing.

Despite experiencing an increase in the number of consultations from the previous reporting period, NLC activity related to the onshore gas sector remained low during 2018-19 compared with the period prior to the moratorium commencing.

If the trend of increasing minerals and petroleum exploration expenditure in the Northern Territory continues, additional resources will be required to enable the NLC to service our obligations in relation to these sectors.

Mineral and Energy Project Management The NLC undertakes statutory, contractual or voluntary minerals and energy activities:

• on-country consultations;

• administrative tasks to ensure compliance with statutory functions and relevant provisions of NLC exploration and mining agreements;

• direct and indirect engagement with government and industry;

• field surveys, audits and inspections (cultural and other aspects of operations);

• promoting Aboriginal employment outcomes either with resource companies or via the NLC (cultural monitoring, field inspections, surveys, liaison committees, etc.);

• presentations to NLC council members and staff;

• participation at conferences, meetings, training, etc.; and

• commencing or responding to legal proceedings.

At the end of the 2018-19 reporting period, 440 minerals and energy titles were active within the NLC region. Of these:

81% (347 titles) were under ALRA, of which:

- 37% (129 titles) were applications where negotiations had commenced towards reaching an agreement;

- 24% (82 titles) represented a backlog of applications pending compliance assessment;

- 21% (74 titles) were in moratorium following a decision to refuse consent to grant;

- 18% (62 titles) granted tenements with negotiated agreements in place.

- 19% (84 titles) were classified as future acts that attract the right to negotiate under the NTA, of which:

- 38% (32 titles) were applications where negotiations had commenced towards reaching an agreement;

- 62% (52 titles) were granted tenements with negotiated agreements in place.

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TYPE TITLES PROJECTS

ASSOCIATED CONSULTATIONS & OTHER ACTIVITIES

Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA)

Applications [1] 211 172 8

Applications in Moratorium [2] 74 N/A N/A

Granted 62 37 31

Liaison & Other [3] N/A 4 41

Sub Total 347 213 80

Native Title Act 1993 (NTA)

Applications [4] 32 25 0

Granted 52 22 43

Liaison & Other [5] N/A N/A N/A

Sub Total 84 47 43

Other

Liaison & Other [6] N/A 5 27

Combined Total 431 265 149

Applications under ALRA

[1] Applications under ALRA

[2] Titles in moratorium, as per section 48, Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976 (Cth).

[3] Projects not associated with titles issued under the Mineral Titles Act, Petroleum Act, Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967, Geothermal Energy Act 2009.

[4] Non expedited titles under application within the NLC region.

[5] Projects not associated with titles issued under the Mineral Titles Act, Petroleum Act, Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967, Geothermal Energy Act 2009.

[6] Projects not associated with titles issued under the Mineral Titles Act, Petroleum Act, Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967, Geothermal Energy Act 2009.

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Onshore Gas Reforms The NLC has been engaging with the NT Government’s onshore gas reform program, which was developed to implement recommendations of the Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory. The Minerals and Energy Branch is involved with a number of committees, working groups and other forums associated with these reforms. At the end of the reporting period, a significant amount work remained outstanding to implement all of the inquiry recommendations, especially those related to onshore gas production.

REPRESENTATION

During the 2018-19 financial year, the NLC represented the interests of our Aboriginal constituents at various scientific, technical and other forums. A number of Aboriginal people (or their representative bodies) also participated on some of the following committees and forums:

Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976

Granted Titles:

• Woodcutters Mine Closure Liaison Committee;

• Alligator Rivers Region Technical Committee (ARRTC);

• Alligator Rivers Region Advisory Committee (ARRAC);

• Ranger Uranium Mine Relationship Committee;

• Ranger, Jabiluka and Nabarlek Mine Site Technical Committee (MTC);

• Ranger Uranium Mine Closure Criteria Working Group;

• Ranger Uranium Mine Ecosystem Restoration Closure Criteria Working Group; and

• Ranger Uranium Mine Water and Sediment Closure Criteria Working Group.

Native Title Act 1993 • Bootu Creek (OM) Manganese Mine Liaison Committee.

Other

Staff of the Minerals and Energy Branch represented the NLC at the following forums:

• Rum Jungle Governance Board;

• Onshore Shale Gas Community and Business Reference Group (CBRG);

• Geological and Bioregional Assessments (GBA) Program Technical Working Group;

• GBA User Group;

• NLC-Department of Primary Industry and Resources (ALRA/ Native Title Unit) Coordination Meetings;

• Working Group to develop Guidance Note for Social, Cultural & Economic Strategic Regional Environmental Baseline Assessment (SREBA); and

• Northern Territory Regional Research Advisory Committee (NT RRAC).

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The Minerals and Energy Branch has been responsible for or involved in a range of meetings, submissions, reports and presentations at public hearings in relation to the following:

• Code of Practice: Onshore petroleum activities in the Northern Territory;

• NT EPA Guidance for Proponents - Stakeholder Engagement;

• Mine Closure Plan for the Ranger Uranium Mine;

• Social, Cultural & Economic Guidance Note for the Social, Cultural & Economic Strategic Regional Environmental Baseline Assessment Working Group;

• Environment Protection Bill 2019;

• On Shore Gas No-Go Zones Consultation Paper; an

• Petroleum Legislation Amendment Bill.

Mines in the NLC Region During the year, Minerals and Energy Branch staff either convened consultations, managed statutory or contractual responsibilities associated with the following mines in the NLC region:

OPERATIONAL MINES • Alcan Gove mine in north-east Arnhem Land;

• Gulkula bauxite mine in north-east Arnhem Land;

• Bootu Creek manganese mine near Tennant Creek;

• Roper Bar iron ore mine near Ngukurr;

• SIL80 Ilmenite mine near Minyerri;

• Roper Valley iron ore project near Minyerri; and

• Numerous gold-producing mines operating or nearing start-up in the Pine Creek region.

Mine Closure and Rehabilitation

• Frances Creek iron ore mine near Pine Creek (in care and maintenance);

• Newmont copper mine (former Woodcutters), near Batchelor;

• Former Rum Jungle uranium mine site, near Batchelor; and

• Former Nabarlek uranium mine site in the West Arnhem region.

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Ranger Uranium Mine The Ranger uranium mine operated by Energy Resources of Australia, on the lands of the Mirarr people, is surrounded by the World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park. The mine, which began in 1980, is now approaching closure, with mineral processing to cease in January 2021, followed by a five-year period for rehabilitation. After significant lobbying by the NLC and Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation, the Commonwealth Minister approved a closure plan for the mine in December 2018. The plan will be updated annually and sets out a path for the mine to be closed. The plan includes cultural closure criteria.

A substantial amount of work on the development of cultural criteria has been undertaken with Traditional Owners over several years. The criteria seek to ensure wishes of Traditional Owners are considered in closure of the mine and include that the landform is accessible and traversable by people, culturally important plants and animals are present, there are no additional waterbodies on the site, traditional practices, such as burning and harvesting, have

resumed and that visual connection with cultural sites has been re-established.

The NLC will work to support Traditional Owners to monitor progress towards achieving these criteria.

During the 2018-19 financial year, the NLC attended monthly inspections of the mine site and two meeting of both the Alligators Rivers Region Technical Committee and Alligators Rivers Region Advisory Committee.

The NLC also contributed to scientific working groups focusing on water quality and ecosystem restoration.

The NLC has been active in working with Traditional Owners to ensure their views on the regulation of the mine and the closure process in considered by the Commonwealth Government.

The next few years will be important for the NLC to ensure that the wishes of the Mirarr are given due consideration as planning and implementation progress towards closure of the mine.

Ranger Mine

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Land Rights Act Land Rights Act Part IV (Mining) Part IV (Mining)

The principal aim of Part IV of the Land Rights Act is to protect the rights and interests of Aboriginal landowners while providing an administrative framework for, and security of tenure to, minerals and energy companies that wish to explore for (and, possibly, one day produce) minerals or energy products on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory.

The ALRA (particularly Part IV), is regarded as the benchmark standard for the enshrinement of Indigenous land rights in Australian legislation, because it allows traditional Aboriginal landowners in the Northern Territory to either consent to or refuse minerals and petroleum exploration applications on their lands and associated waters. No legislation elsewhere affords this level of assurance to landowners in Australia (outside the major population centres).

Certain areas of Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory are regarded as highly prospective for both minerals and onshore petroleum, ensuring a high level of interest from the resources sector and their continued engagement with the NLC and Aboriginal landowners.

Where consultations are convened for the consent to grant under Part IV ALRA (applications) the NLC must establish whether or not the traditional Aboriginal land owners have given their Free,

Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) to exploration and possible production. If the NLC determines that FPIC has not been achieved, further consultations, information sharing and discussion with the Traditional Owners would be required until such time as the NLC is satisfied that all statutory requirements have been met.

Traditional Owners do not have the right to veto a project at the production phase; this veto right applies only when the initial exploration application is presented for consideration. The lack of a veto right at production requires the NLC to negotiate the principles for a production agreement during the exploration agreement negotiations.

Part IV imparts responsibilities on the NLC to: (i) ensure timely management of minerals and energy applications; (ii) under instructions, negotiate leading practice agreements that ensure appropriate benefits flow to land holders; and (iii) manage compliance with negotiated exploration and production agreements.

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The statutory obligations start once a proponent lodges an application for consent to grant to explore for minerals or petroleum over Aboriginal land, under section 41, Part IV (See maps on pages 142 and 143). These obligations remain in place until the application is either finalised or withdrawn. The obligation to consult holds even where Traditional Owners have refused exploration activities in the past - i.e., a tenement can be subject to reapplication following conclusion of the five-year moratorium period. The Part IV consultation process can result in any of the following outcomes:

1. refusal to the consent to grant of a tenement (the entire application area is placed into moratorium for five years), commonly referred to as the “right to veto”; or

2. partial grant and partial refusal to the consent to grant of a tenement (refused areas are excised from the granted tenement and placed into moratorium for five years during which time the company holds no rights to access or conduct exploration); or

3. consent to the grant of a tenement (the entire application area is processed to grant).

Exploration and Production The exploration phase is initiated when a tenement proceeds to grant following provision of Traditional Owner consent, ministerial approval and execution of the agreement. An Exploration Licence (EL) is granted for minerals applications and an Exploration Permit (EP) for petroleum, production activities are not permitted under the terms of grant for an EL or an EP.

Once a tenement is granted by the Northern Territory Government, the proponent is obliged to present its proposed exploration activities to Traditional Owners at a work program meeting. These meetings are a standard contractual obligation under NLC agreements and occur annually, although additional meetings are required if significant changes are subsequently made to an approved work program. The NLC also facilitates Traditional Owners’ participation in the project through engagement as cultural monitors and other employment and business opportunities that may be available.

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Most exploration projects do not proceed to production; in such cases, following cessation of exploration and rehabilitation activities, the tenement is relinquished and the company has no further rights to the land.

If during the exploration phase an economic resource is discovered the proponent may proceed to apply for either a Mineral Lease (for mining of minerals) or a Production Licence (for production of petroleum) over any part of the EL or EP depending on the size and location of the resource and the placement of ancillary infrastructure, including processing plants, tailings dams, waste rock dumps, workers’ accommodation camps, haul roads, water supply (dams,

pipelines), power supply, airstrips, loading facilities, shipping channels, dredge spoil and containment areas, compressor stations, etc.

In addition to the various government approvals required to commence production, under Part IV a section 46 (s.46) statement describing the proposed production activities must be submitted to the NLC. If the statement is accepted, consultations would be convened with the traditional Aboriginal owners and any affected Aboriginal people and communities to explain the proposal, listen to their concerns and to obtain advice and instructions towards the negotiation of suitable terms for a production agreement.

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Native Title Native Title Act (1993) Act (1993)

The NLC is a Native Title Representative Body (NTRB) under the provisions of the Native Title Act 1993 (NTA), and as part of its statutory responsibilities, deals with applications for minerals and petroleum exploration and production on land over which the NTA applies.

The Northern Territory Government is obliged to notify native title holders about new exploration proposals over land subject to native title. The process to approve minerals and energy exploration over lands subject to native title is two- tiered, allowing for a standard process of agreement negotiation and an “expedited” process. Minerals and energy exploration and production activities are referred to as “future acts” under the NTA.

Section 237 of the NTA, specifies any act that is likely to attract the expedited procedure is: (i) unlikely to interfere directly with community or social activities; (ii) unlikely to interfere with areas or sites of particular significance; and (iii) unlikely to involve major disturbance to any lands or waters.

Generally, the expedited process applies to minerals Exploration Licences (ELs) in the Northern Territory. Proponents

are encouraged to enter negotiations in good faith with native title holders at the application stage - though predominantly, minerals companies with EL(A)s processed under the expedited procedure will waive this opportunity until they have identified an economic resource and wish to apply for a Mineral Lease.

Petroleum Exploration Permits (EPs) and most minerals production titles such as Mineral Leases (MLs), on the other hand, are deemed to attract the “right to negotiate” (RTN) under the NTA and, as such, are not processed under the expedited procedure. Where the RTN applies, the NLC (as the designated NTRB) undertakes consultations with native title holders to obtain instructions; if agreement is not reached, the matter may proceed to the Native Title Tribunal for determination.

Marra/um homeland, Keep River district

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Community Planning & Development Unit The NLC’s Community Planning and Development (CP&D) program has been operating for three years. It supports Aboriginal land-owning groups to use payments from land use agreements to drive their own development and secure lasting benefits from their land, waters and seas.

To facilitate this, the NLC Strategic Plan 2016-2020 proposed to implement a Community Development Unit. The Community Planning and Development (CP&D) Unit, now with five staff, is working closely with other branches of the NLC to progress the CP&D program and to support the application of CP&D principles and processes across the organisation’s functions.

Our Goal, Objectives and Approach The CP&D framework, endorsed by the NLC Full Council in November 2016, guides the development work of the organisation generally, as well as the delivery of the CP&D program.

The framework approaches community development as a set of principles and a process that builds Aboriginal capacity, ownership and control, and makes Aboriginal groups and communities stronger.

Community development works best when groups of people take action together, based on their ideas of what is important, and their knowledge of how to solve problems in their community.

Groups often need assistance, and community development workers bring people together to do good planning, make

informed decisions about those plans, make sure they happen, and then review whether the plans achieved their objectives and what lessons have been learnt along the way.

This work is guided by an eight-step process, also approved by the NLC Full Council, which the NLC works through with each Aboriginal group that decides to use land use payments for lasting community benefit.

The program has the following goals and objectives:

GOAL

Healthy, resilient and engaged Aboriginal people, groups and communities that are strong in language, culture, connection to country, health, education and employment.

OBJECTIVES 1. Strengthen Aboriginal capacity, control and group cohesion, particularly through the management

of resources that belong to them.

2. Generate social, cultural, environmental and economic outcomes prioritised and valued by Aboriginal people and which benefit them.

3. Monitor and evaluate to strengthen the program and show that the NLC’s CP&D approach works.

4. Share lessons with government and non-government agencies so they support Aboriginal-led planning and development.

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Achievements The NLC has made substantial progress in the establishment and operation of its CP&D program over the past 12 months. The CP&D team has almost doubled to eight experienced staff who do the complex work of supporting Aboriginal groups to prioritise their many aspirations and needs, then design and fund initiatives that will deliver on these priorities.

The team has continued to raise council and constituent awareness of the program, developed and improved internal systems and processes, and developed relationships with key government and non-government stakeholders. The CP&D Unit is working in eight locations in four of the seven NLC regions.

Traditional Owner groups in these locations have collectively put aside over $6.5 million towards community development initiatives. See figure below.

This is a $1.5 million increase since last year. The increase is from groups already using the CP&D program and deciding to put more money aside for community projects.

Also, the number of community projects that Traditional Owners have approved has doubled to 24 for the same reporting period. This growth suggests that Aboriginal groups value using the NLC’s community development approach.

Gapuwiyak painting crew

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Jabiru

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1 Galiwin'ku 2 Gapuwiyak 3 Ngukurr 4 Malak Malak Land Trust 5 Legune Station 6 SEAL Indigenous Protected Area 7 Wadeye 8 Palumpa

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GROWTH OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ACROSS THE NLC REGIONS.

It also presents a substantial investment by Aboriginal people, both in setting their income aside for community development and in working together in driving their own development. Further, it demonstrates a move away from directing funds to individual distribution.

Income set aside for community projects is derived from a range of agreements, such as shop and town leases, intertidal fishing access agreements, Native Title Indigenous Land Use Agreements and

funds generated through carbon abatement programs. When looking at the amount of funds set aside for community development in the eight locations, the most significant amounts are in Wadeye and Legune.

Funds set aside in each location shown as a percentage of the total income set aside for community development.

Project funds for Wadeye relate to significant accumulated income from township leases, and for Legune relate to the negotiation of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement for a major project, Project Sea Dragon.

Investment ($M)

Projects

Locations

NLC regions

3 5

6.5 6

14

24

5 5

8 8

3 4 4 4

2016 .2017 2018 2019

Daly River Legune

Gapuwiyak Wadeye

Palumpa

SEAL IPA

Galiwin'ku

Ngukurr

4%

7%

16%

9%

31%

21%

5%

7%

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Community Projects The NLC is working with each group through the eight-step CP&D process toward delivery of a number of initiatives. Of the $6.5 million set aside, more than $2.5 million has been approved by Traditional Owners to undertake 24 community projects. Planning is underway by groups for the remaining funds.

Of the 24 projects, four have been completed and the rest are in different stages of progress. Some projects are a few months from completion and others are two-three years from completion, depending on the type of project. Of the projects, nearly 50% support language, culture and outstations, and 20% support youth engagement. The remaining 30% support law and justice, governance, education and community infrastructure.

Projects that promote sustaining language and culture include on-country culture camps to support intergenerational knowledge transfer of language, songs and stories from elders and Aboriginal rangers, and projects that recognise and promote Aboriginal culture and the use of local languages.

Youth engagement projects include running camps for youth with a strong focus on reinforcing traditional Aboriginal culture and, supporting recreation and sport activities for young people, and youth diversion initiatives. The law and justice project focuses on community legal education and exploring the interaction of western law and local lore systems, and supporting people involved in court.

Raypirri dancers at Gapuwiyak culture camp

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Case study: Case study:

Galiwin’ku Traditional Owners supporting culture - Raypirri Camps Traditional Owners in Galiwin’ku are worried for their young people; there are high rates of petrol sniffing and break-ins, and peer group pressure is strong.

Using money identified for community benefit purposes from two leases in town, these Yolngu Traditional Owners are taking action.

Working through the NLC CP&D program, they have allocated over $1 million from their lease money to youth projects, half of which will support raypirri camps for troubled young people.

The raypirri camps are led by community elders who teach young people respect, discipline and how to grow up as a Yolngu person, through immersion in cultural activities and teachings away from the distractions of the town. Traditional Owners want to foster a generation of Galwin’ku children who are proud recipients of their Yolngu culture and who have respect for their people and land. In 2018, a local Aboriginal organisation,

Yalu Marnggithinyaraw Indigenous Corporation ran five camps on Elcho Island, with a further 13 camps planned in 2019-20. More recently, funding has been approved to provide logistical support to run camps also on Maroonga Island, partnering with the Crocodile Island Rangers, Miligimbi and Outstation Progress Resource Association. These camps will start later in 2019.

Infrastructure projects vary from improving existing community facilities, such as at the local church and school playground equipment, to improving outstations on homelands. One of those is related to the major aquaculture project, Project Sea Dragon.

One native title holder group is completing the planning and delivery of a $500,000 upgrade to the Marralum homeland. The project also achieved employment and on-the-job training outcomes for some Native Title Holders.

Marralum is near Legune Station, and Native Title Holders are planning to use this strategic advantage to pursue employment and business opportunities from Project Sea Dragon once it is operating.

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Case Study: Case Study:

Legune Native Title Holders supporting homelands - Marralum outstation The Project Sea Dragon Indigenous Land Use Agreement includes $500,000 for the upgrade of Marralum homeland. CP&D have been conducting planning meetings with DjarraDjarrany Native Title Holders who decided the scope of works for its stage 1 upgrade and chose the contractor, Tangentyere Constructions.

Stage 1 included refurbishing three houses, reinstating the power and water system and introducing solar systems with hybrid power units to each house, and a stock fence around the property, including vehicle and pedestrian gates. Six local Aboriginal people, mainly Native Title Holder residents, were employed to upgrade their homeland.

The process of living on the homeland while upgrading it, along with having planning discussions with builders, allowed residents to identify the important next priorities for Marralum. Together, the DjarraDjarrany group then funded the stage 2 upgrade, which includes further upgrades to the water system, such as a high-grade filtration system with float valve and pressure pump, upgrades to security, including solar street lights, strong locks and community signs,

and improvements to the power system, such as increased battery storage capacity, and replacing old air conditioners with new energy efficient split systems.

Residents and Native Title Holders are proud of their planning and work. Within the $500,000, Native Title Holders have also planned a contingency, management and repairs and maintenance project to help carry the benefits of the community project long into the future. Since the upgrade, the new infrastructure of the homeland qualified it for Homelands Services. In 2019, residents received the good news that their application was successful. Marralum now receives municipal essential services, and housing and repairs maintenance - a great result for sustainability.

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Looking back To assess the value of the CP&D work, the NLC has made solid progress on its objective to monitor and evaluate (M&E) the CP&D program. Since development of its M&E framework in 2017 and M&E Implementation Plan in 2018, NLC was successful in November 2018 in securing funds under section 64(1) of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 for a three-year monitoring research project.

The research project involves the detailed design and implementation of a comprehensive monitoring system to support a process of critical reflection, assessment and improvement of the CP&D program. Three different monitoring approaches will be trialled with Aboriginal groups, and over time adapted towards an approach that is most appropriate for projects managed through the program.

One approach will engage Traditional Owners in more depth to identify their perceived benefits for community projects and what measures they want to use to check that projects meet those values. The second approach will work with groups to examine social and wellbeing values to better understand the value of the CP&D process in supporting group cohesion, leadership and self-determination and other key principles of the CP&D program.

The third approach builds on the program’s existing monitoring practices that are used in delivering all community projects. CP&D staff will continue to seek feedback from all other

groups using the CP&D program to deliver their community projects on what is working well and not so well in program delivery.

To support this delivery, a dedicated Project Officer has been recruited to the CP&D Unit and La Trobe University has been engaged to oversee the research. This includes supporting development of methodology around social and wellbeing values with Native Title Holders for Legune who are party to the Project Sea Dragon Indigenous Land Use Agreement.

Those Native Title Holders have agreed to participate in the project and so far completed one workshop. Already their views reflect well on the program, in terms of its process to support groups working together, managing money, being good leaders, communicating and negotiating ideas collectively.

Charles Darwin University has also been engaged to undertake a participatory, ground-up monitoring approach with groups in Galiwin’ku and Gapuwiyak. Both groups have agreed to participate in the project, and in Galiwin’ku Traditional Owners are already developing their approach and engaging local researchers to conduct the work.

All the information will be documented and reported on each year to the council, constituents, government and non-government stakeholders to update progress, share learnings and promote the value of community-led development.

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Looking forward After three years, the NLC CP&D program is well established within the organisation. Importantly, Aboriginal people are increasingly aware of the program process and the outcomes it is starting to generate, and are looking to opt in.

Growth in the CP&D program is predominantly from groups already using the program and continuing to put more money aside and developing more projects.

However, the CP&D Unit has not been able to take on more groups in other NLC regions. So, the number of locations and NLC regions has not increased since last year.

To deliver this important work across more NLC regions and locations, more staff and operational resources are needed, as well

as overall organisational capacity, should the CP&D program continue to grow.

To manage the growth of the program and balance capacity of program resources and Aboriginal group expectations, the CP&D program caps the minimum amount of money groups need to set aside for community benefit projects at $250,000. This cap will be reviewed as the program continues to develop, dependent on staffing capacity to take on more projects of lesser value without compromising the CP&D process with Aboriginal groups.

To ensure the next stage of program growth is strategic and sustainable the NLC aims to develop a five-year strategic plan (2020-25), with a clear focus on securing quality development outcomes.

Looking forward - consultations at a Community Planning & Development workshop at Ngukurr, Roper River district

Part 3 Part 3

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Strategic Thinking The enabling legislation of the NLC is the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. The responsible ministers for the 2018/19 reporting period were Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion (to 29 May 2019) and thereafter the Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, the Minister for Indigenous Australians.

The Minister gave no directions to the NLC during the reporting year.

The NLC’s strategic direction takes into account the changing social, political, cultural, economic and environmental landscape of our region, and the opportunities it presents. Our planning framework incorporates:

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

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

• Business Plans - annual plans that outline 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.

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Corporate Plan Corporate Plan 2019-2022 The Corporate Plan 2019-2022 presents the NLC’s goals and objectives for the next four years, based on the organisation’s legislative responsibilities (under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 and the Native Title Act 1993), and our identified Vision (see page iii).

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.

The seven goals espoused in the Corporate Plan are:

1. Advocate, protect and acquire Aboriginal property rights and interests in our traditional lands, waters and seas through land claims and native title claims.

2. Ensure the sustainable use and management of natural and cultural resources on Aboriginal lands.

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

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

5. Facilitate economic opportunities that lead to viable and sustainable regional commercial activities and development.

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

7. Operate 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 focused and committed to achieving our strategic objectives over the next four years.

The NLC’s focus during this four-year period is to improve governance support to the council, support the council in policy development, and increase community engagement and the delivery of accessible and efficient services to Aboriginal people of the Territory.

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Strategic Plan Strategic Plan 2016-2020 This four-year Strategic Plan covers the period 2016-2020 and is informed by legislative responsibilities, strategic directions, and views expressed by the Full Council membership and the NLC administration about our goals and strategies.

The objectives of this four-year Strategic Plan are:

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

• To 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.

• To provide a communication tool to inform governments, stakeholders 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 the successful delivery of 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.

Exemptions Granted By Finance Minister No exemptions were granted by the Finance Minister in regard to reporting requirements in 2018/19.

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 organisation’s 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. In 2018/19, the NLC established and implemented an appropriate system of risk oversight and management, including a risk management plan, risk framework, risk policy and risk register.

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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 has been updated along with the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan.

The Audit Committee Charter sets out the role and purpose of the Audit Committee, which also acts as an advisory body on operational and financial management controls and reporting responsibilities, oversees internal and external audit functions, and provides independent and objective assurance that the NLC’s systems, processes and risk management strategies are robust and comply with acceptable standards and government requirements.

During 2018/19, the Audit Committee was independently chaired by Jon Webster, and attended by two independent members and two council members.

The Chief Financial Officer attends Audit Committee meetings, but is not a member of the committee.

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) and HLB Mann Judd on behalf of the ANAO have a standing invitation to attend all Audit Committee meetings.

The NLC’s Code of Conduct Policy and Council Members Handbook outline ethical behaviour 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, council members receive

an induction and copy of the Members’ Handbook, as well as a clear understanding of appropriate and acceptable behaviour.

Related Entity Transactions Related Entity Transactions can be found at note 14 of the Financial Statements on page 247.

The NLC has developed a system of delegated powers that enables decisions to be made on a range of transactions at the appropriate organisational level. The NLC’s Full, Executive and Regional Councils are all required to comply with internal and externally-mandated decision-making processes for managing related party transactions and broader conflicts of interest for NLC members, particularly NLC Executive Council members, to which delegations for a range of purposes have been made by the NLC Full Council. The NLC’s Conflict of Interest Policy (NLC 006) establishes an organization-wide policy on the management of conflicts of interests and sets out the decision-making processes for NLC staff and Council members. Further, the NLC’s Code of Conduct (FRM-HR-015) sets out comprehensive rules for the management of a range of responsibilities and obligations for staff and Council members. Note 14 to the financial statements sets out the NLC’s related party disclosures for 2018-19.

Freedom of Information The NLC is exempt from reporting under the Freedom of Information Act 1982.

Information Communication and Technology Information Technology and communications is committed to achieving savings and efficiency through installation of modern

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hardware, delivering secure, flexible and reliable systems and solutions to staff and customers. 2018/19 saw significant achievements in term of deploying a modern ICT system that is modern and flexible.

This financial year saw the NLC working towards establishing its own datacentre to strengthen risk management and achieve savings.

Fleet and Property Management The NLC maintains a fleet of 126 vehicles , including four-wheel drives, sedans, trailers and buses to suit NT remote conditions. The ranger program requires specialised vehicles and trailers, such as ATVs, and surveyed boats. The entire fleet is licensed and 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 accessory fitted out to operate in harsh NT environments. A comprehensive review of the motor vehicle fleet has been undertaken; the outcomes of the review will be known in 2019/20 to secure funding for new vehicles to replace end of operational vehicles.

The NLC also continuously manages and maintains to required standards various properties - offices, ranger bases and residential properties - throughout the NLC regions.

Consultants Expenditure During the reporting period, the NLC engaged consultants to do work in relation to the council’s functions and exercise of powers under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, as required under s.37(8) and under Native Title Act 1993.

CONSULTANTS EXPENDITURE GREATER THAN $25,000 TOTAL

Aboriginal Resource & Development Services Aboriginal Cor. $41,044.27

Anthropos Consulting $123,143.18

Ashurst Australia $75,922.33

Australian National University $32,272.73

C-AID Consultants $25,250.00

Camatta Lempens Pty Ltd Lawyers $33,908.53

Cardno (NT) pty ltd $84,221.27

Centrefarm/Topendfarm $450,000.00

Charles Darwin University $32,016.00

Chris Brown Consultancy $73,350.22

Conservation Management Pty Ltd $151,749.08

Continuum Analytics Pty Ltd. $26,400.00

Cooke, Peter M $33,414.00

Culture & Heritage $156,540.00

David S Trigger and Associates $72,450.00

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CONSULTANTS EXPENDITURE GREATER THAN $25,000 TOTAL

Department of Infrastructure Planning & Logistices $34,173.34

Department of The Chief Minister $27,556.66

Environmental And Cultural Services $50,600.00

Gareth David James Lewis $89,500.00

GHD Pty Ltd $27,211.00

Gilbert + Tobin $41,152.50

Glacken, Stuart (A J Dever Pty Ltd) $204,232.36

Jitendra Kumarage $30,000.00

K & L Gates $229,353.59

Kim Barber $196,018.18

KPMG Darwin $174,482.44

Latitude 12 $29,754.00

List G Barristers $65,280.85

Maria Siskamanis - Lawyer $40,832.32

Melanie Dulfer-Hyams Consulting $26,100.00

Mick Reynolds $68,727.21

Midena Lawyers $65,764.99

Mr Peter Willis $34,850.00

MRAG Asia Pacific Pty Ltd $89,174.32

Oliver Berst - Ganesha IT Consulting $62,135.05

OTS Management Pty Ltd $142,844.18

Robert Blowes $37,750.00

Robwel Pty Ltd t/a Robert Welfare Barristers and Solicitors $31,960.00

Ron levy $108,896.66

Susan Jane O'Sullivan $138,660.00

Terry Mahney $26,880.00

The University of Western Australia $48,272.89

Tom Keely/Howell's List Barristers Pty Ltd $98,650.89

Walter Zukowski $57,200.00

Western Sydney University $35,200.00

$3,724,895.04

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Environmental Performance The principles of ecologically sustainable development are considered in the objectives of the 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. This includes the precautionary principle and monitoring and compliance of environmental impacts on natural and cultural resources of exploration and mining.

Committees

ENTERPRISE AGREEMENT COMMITTEE

Membership:

Management - Joe Morrison, Joe Valenti, Kathryn Laferla;

CPSU and Staff - Tamara Cole, Kirsty Kassman; Shannon O’Connell, Pam Wickham and CPSU representative; Chamber of Commerce (NT).

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 assists the council in respect of financial reporting, performance reporting, risk oversight and management, internal control and compliance with relevant laws and policies.

AUDIT COMMITTEE

MEETINGS HELD MEETINGS ATTENDED

Jon Webster (independent chair) 4 4

Angela Shima (non-executive member) 4 4

Aswin Kumar (non-executive member) 4 4

Linda Fletcher (NLC member)

4 2

Wayne Wauchope (NLC member)

4 1

REMUNERATION COMMITTEE

Following from Australian National Audit Office recommendations, the NLC established a Remuneration Committee in 2017. The committee is responsible for ensuring pay and allowances under the Enterprise Agreement are correct and meet the minima as set in the Australian Local Government Industry Award 2016. The committee also sets common law contract remuneration levels.

Remuneration Committee membership: Kathryn Laferla, Joe Valenti, Chenoa Ellison.

WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEE

The WHS committee has nine 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 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.

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Work Health and Safety Committee members: Joe Valenti (chair) Kathryn Laferla, Greg McDonald, Jeffrey Yoelu, Andrew Thomas, Ian Amy, Hidayat Nurslanis, Don Couzens, Kylie Burn, Tamara Cole

PUBLIC AWARENESS AND EDUCATION

The NLC’s media unit is part of the Executive Branch and has helped to represent the organisation at various events, including the Garma and Barunga festivals and the annual NAIDOC march.

The unit continually refreshes and upgrades the NLC’s website, which has a fresher look, is easier to navigate and is more informative.

Following the resignation of the unit manager in December 2018 that position was filled in March 2019. The concerted push by the NLC into social media has been maintained. The NLC boasts a lively Facebook, Instagram and Twitter presence, which has much enhanced the organisation’s profile.

Information Resources The NLC produces a range of information and educational resources, and also publishes Land Rights News - Northern Edition.

Land Rights News, first published in 1977, is Australia’s longest-running Aboriginal newspaper, and is distributed free to subscribers and Aboriginal communities and organisations across Australia.

Annual Report The media unit is also responsible for preparing the NLC’s annual report.

News Media Assistance The media unit receives and responds to a large number of enquiries from local, national and international news media, often on subjects beyond the NLC’s core business.

The unit also oversees the issue of permits for news media to enter Aboriginal lands. Permission to film landscapes and interview Aboriginal community members is considered by Traditional Owners and, where these engagements are commercial in nature, a special agreement is negotiated. Over the past year, no permit application has been refused.

Advertising and Market Research The NLC advertised during normal recruitment campaigns and placed public notices relating to waiver of permits in the intertidal zone and to access to lands within the Kenbi Land Trust. No market research, polling or direct mail activities were undertaken.

Distribution of Royalties The NLC manages the receipt and disbursement of royalty monies to Aboriginal people.

The NLC maintains a royalty trust account that receives monies on behalf of individuals and associations of Aboriginal people and disperses them in accordance with section 35(2) (3) (4) of the ALRA to Traditional Owners and royalty receiving associations.

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

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lies with regional office staff and anthropologists. The NLC also assists groups to resolve disputes over distributions.

Outcome Under the ALRA, income of $62,172,000 was generated from Aboriginal land during 2018/19.

Distributions have been made as per instructions from Traditional Owners in accordance with traditional decision-making processes. 7709 royalty payments were made during the course of the financial year, totalling $60,469,000.

Administering Aboriginal Land Trusts The NLC assists Aboriginal land trusts to act in accordance with the ALRA. 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.

Mediation and Dispute Resolution The NLC supports Traditional Owners and attempts to conciliate disputes.

With its abundant natural resources, the Top End of the Northern Territory has always supported a large Traditional Owner population.

Demand for coastal land and sea access, farming development, mineral and petroleum resources, 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. The NLC’s functions include (under s25 of the ALRA) 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, of the dispute. The NLC also has statutory responsibility for the identification of the traditional owners of Aboriginal land.

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NLC Finance Branch workers Summer & Natasha Jeffrey

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Human resources Human resources management management

Capability The diverse nature of the work that NLC performs requires an equally diverse and dynamic workforce, providing capability across multiple industries and disciplines including:

• Administration / Corporate Services

• Anthropology

• Community Planning and Development

• Land Conversation and Management

• Legal

• Management

• Minerals and Energy

As at 30 June 2019, NLC employs 196 full-time and 58 part-time employees (total 253) and also maintains a large pool of casual employees and Aboriginal consultants. Casual employees predominantly perform work during the dry season when activities such as controlled fire burning and on-country meetings are at a peak.

We understand the importance of building and retaining a suitably skilled workforce that is representative of the communities we operate in and the clients we service. 25.5% of the Northern Territory population identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Additionally, the NLC has a Council Body of 78 Traditional Owners from across the NLC’s region who represent about 30,000 constituents. Indigenous employment, training and development initiatives are, therefore, integral to our ability to successfully deliver our functions as a land council and ensure a high standard of culturally appropriate customer service.

NLC has adopted a philosophy of continuous improvement in the Human Resource Unit as we move to modernise systems and practices and increase legislative compliance. This is being achieved through the implementation of a contemporary HR information system (ichris) to manage payroll, recruitment, performance and WHS.

HR teams increased engagement with the following organisations:

• APSC - Workplace Relations Team

• APSC - Indigenous Capability Team

• Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI)

• Chamber of Commerce NT

The HR Team are members of AHRI and the HR Manager holds a seat on the AHRI State Council 2018.

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Workforce Composition The employee demographics reflect the composition of the NLC workforce as at 30 June 2019.

CLASSIFICATION LEVEL

NO OF FT / PT EMPLOYEES

AS01 60

AS02 9

AS03 10

AS04 20

AS05 28

AS06 21

Legal Stream 13

Professional Officer 20

Senior Professional Officer 17

Senior Officer 40

Management ( EL ) 6

Leadership ( SES ) 9

Total 253

LOCATION

NO OF FT / PT EMPLOYEES

Darwin 130

Belyuen 7

Borroloola 14

Bulgul 6

Croker Island 7

Daly River 7

Galiwinku 1

Goulburn Island 8

Jabiru 7

Katherine 13

Kununurra 1

Maningrida 1

Ngukurr 11

Nhulunbuy 4

Numbulwar 9

Pine Creek 7

Tennant Creek 2

Timber Creek 9

Winnellie 4

Wudicupildiyerr 5

Total 253

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Recruitment The NLC’s profile as an employer of choice in the NT is consistently improving; position application numbers have increased and the use of recruitment agencies decreased during the 2018/19 year.

In line with the implementation of the ichris, recruitment practices were reviewed. A panel of ATSI Employment Providers has been established, and they will be advised of all vacancies (these include local VTEC providers Real Futures and Karen Sheldon Training).

TYPE OF VACANCY

NO OF POSITIONS

New position / project position created

12

Relief (maternity leave) 2

Existing position vacant 52

Turnover and Retention A diverse workforce by nature attracts higher levels of turnover. Resignation related turnover sat just above average national turnover rate at 16.9%.

REASON FOR END OF EMPLOYMENT

NO OF EMPLOYEES TURNOVER %

Retirement

Death

Redundancy 0.4%

Conduct / Attendance issues 1

End of Contract ( 3 years)

5 2.0%

Other 2 0.8%

Resignation 43 17.0 %

Total Turnover 51 20.2%

NLC’s prevailing Enterprise Agreement provides for employment contracts from AS01 to AS06 and three-year contracts for higher classifications. NLC sees strong value in retaining experienced long-term staff, as well as introducing new talent and expertise to the organisation.

On this basis, we are pleased to report that 20% of employees have been within NLC for more than 10 years, and some up to 35 years.

TENURE ( YEARS)

NO OF EMPLOYEES

% OF

EMPLOYEES

Up to 3 120 59%

Over 3 up to 5 58 23%

Over 5 up to 10 36 14%

Over 10 up to 20 years

33 13%

Over 20 years 6 2%

We expect an increase in short-term contracts from 2018 to 2020 as project staff are engaged to deliver major reforms, including the permit system reform and ICT improvements.

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Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment The NLC is a strong advocate for the APSC Commonwealth ATSI Employment Strategy and is a major employer of Indigenous people across the Top End. The strategy had a goal of 3% Indigenous representation by 2018. The NLC consistently maintains Indigenous employee representation of 50-55%, and more than 90% engagement within our casual employee pool.

Aboriginal or TSI

Non Aboriginal

0

20

40

60

80

100

120

140

AS01-AS06 Legal Professional

Officer

Senior Professional Officer

Management EL Leadership SES

37% of the NLC leadership team is Aboriginal. However, a concerning lag exists in professional and middle management positions. In 2018/2019, initiatives are being introduced to increase Indigenous representation in professional and middle management positions.

These include the proposal to enter into an MoU with the APSC Indigenous Capability Unit and increased training and development programs for officers at level AS06 and above.

Aboriginal or TSI Non Aboriginal

53%

47%

ATSI Employees by classification 2019

ATSI Employees

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Gender Equity & Diversity The NLC has consistently maintained a good gender balance across most classification levels. Female representation at the middle management level is also increasing, providing for strong leadership succession possibilities beyond 2019.

There is an increased focus on identifying and nurturing female leadership opportunities, in particular for senior Indigenous employees.

The Caring for Country Branch’s Women Employment Strategy has also seen the number of female rangers increase in 2018/2019, with a target for 50% by 2020.

As the nature of Working on Country work has inherent cultural gender biases in some communities, the NLC sees this growth as a major achievement.

Male

Female

Management EL

AS01-AS06 Legal Professional

Officer

Senior Professional Officer

Leadership SES

0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

Male Female

56%

44%

Gender diversity by classification

Gender Diversity 2019

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People with Disabilities The NLC has two employees who identify as having a disability, but this figure is known to be higher. With the introduction of an online recruitment module in 2019, identifying employees who may have special needs or identify as having a disability will become part of the application process.

The WHS Advisor is a trained contact officer through the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission and is able to provide necessary support for employees as employment for people with disabilities increases.

Generational Diversity The NLC has an even spread of employees across the working age spectrum (17 to 78 years), but more needs to be done to attract young people. The Caring for Country branch is developing programs to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students in regional communities and provide pathways for future employment in ranger programs.

AGE RANGE

NO OF EMPLOYEES

% OF

EMPLOYEES

Up to 20 4 2%

20 to 29 51 20%

30 to 39 64 25%

40 to 49 59 23%

50 to 59 50 20%

60 to 64 17 7%

65 plus 8 3%

Through increased engagement with VTEC providers in the NT, more entry level job applicants will be attracted and engagement levels for 18 to 20 years old employees will improve.

Workplace Relations The NLC observes the relevant provisions of the following legislative instruments in relation to sound workplace relations and industrial compliance:

• NLC Enterprise Agreement 2018

• Fair Work Act 2009

• National Employment Standards

• APSC Workplace Relations Bargaining Policy 2018

• Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions 2016

• Long Service Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1976

• Maternity Leave (Commonwealth Employees) Act 1973

• Work Health and Safety Act 2011

Management of workplace relations, including the management of performance, attendance or conduct concerns, is based on cultural consideration, fair process and legislative compliance. There has been a deliberate shift from using disciplinary measures to remedy minor conduct issues to working with frontline managers to “start a conversation” and work with employees to seek amicable solutions before workplace issues escalate. This approach has served the NLC well, with no unfair dismissal claims in 2018/2019.

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Remuneration The NLC remunerates management level staff under negotiated common law contracts and all other staff under the provisions of the NLC EA 2018. Management remuneration levels are set in consultation with the Remuneration Committee to ensure fairness and reasonable parity in relation to the enterprise agreement pay scale and management level (EL or SES equivalent).

Information about remuneration for key management personnel Except for the CEO, whose remuneration is covered in the below noted information. The positions of the NLC Chairman and Executive

Council Members are all remunerated in accordance with the Remuneration Tribunal - Full-Time Office Holder and Part Time Office Holders (determination)

• The Remuneration Tribunal - Full-Time Office Holder (determination) is applicable to the NLC Chairperson’s position.

• https://www.remtribunal.gov.

au/offices/full-time-offices

• The Remuneration Tribunal - Part Time Office Holders (determination) is applicable to the NLC Executive Council positions and Council members - known as the elected arm of the NLC.

• https://www.remtribunal.gov.

au/offices/part-time-offices

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During the reporting period ended 30 June 2019, Northern Land Council had 14 executives who met the definition of key management personnel.

Their names and the length of term as KMP are summarised below:-

NAME POSITION TERM AS KMP

Joseph Morrison Chief Executive Officer Part year - Ceased Employment on 30 November 2018

Marion Scrymgour Chief Executive Officer Part year - Appointed on 12 April 2019

John Ah Kit Interim Chief Executive Officer Part year - 4 February

2019 to 24 May 2019

Rick Fletcher Acting Chief Executive Officer Part year - 1 December 2018 to 31 January 2019

Samuel Bush-Blanasi Chairperson Full year

John Christophersen Deputy Chairperson Full year

Richard Dixon Executive Member Full year

Elizabeth Sullivan Executive Member Full year

Helen Lee Executive Member Full year

Peter Lansen Executive Member Full year

Raymond Hector Executive Member Full year

Ronald Lami Lami Executive Member Full year

Bobby Wunungmurra Executive Member Part year - 1 July 2018

to 22 February 2019

Djawa Yunupingu Executive Member Part year - 22 February

to 30 June 2019

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SHORT-TERM BENEFITS

POST-EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS OTHER LONG-TERM

BENEFITS

TERMINATION BENEFITS TOTAL REMUNERATION

NAME POSITION TITLE

BASE SALARY BONUSES

OTHER

BENEFITS & ALLOWANCES SUPERANNUATION CONTRIBUTIONS

LONG

SERVICE LEAVE

OTHER

LONG-TERM BENEFITS

Joseph Morrison Chief Executive Officer 136,713 - 20,895 29,525 - - 364,658 551,791

Marion Scrymgour Chief Executive Officer 56,559 - 2,813 6,339 1,520 - - 67,231

John Ah Kit Interim Chief

Executive Officer

69,889 - 3,683 8,219 - - - 81,791

Rick Fletcher Acting Chief

Executive Officer

58,983 - 4,879 6,819 1,343 - - 72,024

Samuel Bush Blanasi Chairperson 198,779 - 13,664 17,528 - - - 229,971

John Christophersen Deputy Chairperson 27,260 - - 3,532 - - - 30,792

Richard Dixon Executive Member 19,840 - - 2,480 - - - 22,320

Elizabeth Sullivan Executive Member 20,837 - - 2,573 - - - 23,410

Helen Lee Executive Member 20,088 - - 2,511 - - - 22,599

Peter Lansen Executive Member 16,616 - - 2,077 - - - 18,693

Raymond Hector Executive Member 20,088 - - 2,511 - - - 22,599

Ronald Lami Lami Executive Member 17,474 - - 2,184 - - - 19,658

Bobby Wunungmurra Executive Member 9,900 - - 1,238 - - - 11,138

Djawa Yunupingu Executive Member 4,464 - - 558 - - - 5,022

Totals 677,491 - 45,933 88,094 2,863 - 364,658 1,179,038

Footnotes:

1. Base Salary is total salary paid and includes AL paid plus AL movement 2. Other Benefits & Allowances includes MV Benefit & FBT Tax paid 3. Super is actual super paid 4. Any AL & LSL paid on Termination is not included as per PGPA Rule 5. The KMP’s reported above are for the NLC only and will not match the KMP in the

Financials due to consolidation of the financial statements with the subsidiaries.

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Information about remuneration for senior executives The majority of the Northern Land Council (NLC) workforce is engaged under the NLC Enterprise Agreement 2018 with the remaining staff engaged under negotiated common law contracts.

SHORT-TERM BENEFITS

POST-EMPLOYMENT BENEFITS OTHER LONG-TERM BENEFITS TERMINATION

BENEFITS

TOTAL REMUNERATION

REMUNERATION BAND

NUMBER OF SENIOR EXECUTIVES AVERAGE BASE

SALARY ($)

AVERAGE BONUSES ($)

AVERAGE OTHER BENEFITS & ALLOWANCES ($)

AVERAGE SUPERANNUATION CONTRIBUTIONS ($)

AVERAGE LONG SERVICE LEAVE ($)

AVERAGE OTHER LONG TERM BENEFITS ($)

AVERAGE TERMINATION BENEFITS ($)

AVERAGE TOTAL REMUNERATION ($)

$0 - $220,000

7 91,837 - 7,194 11,361 1,811 - - 112,203

$220,001 - $245,000

3 172,875 3,333 23,642 24,546 4,035 - - 228,431

$245,001 - $270,000

- - - - - - - - -

$270,001- $295,000

1 152,239 - 18,969 25,647 - - 74,487 271,343

$295,001- $320,000

1 202,525 5,000 20,730 31,105 - - 59,265 318,625

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Common law contracts are primarily used for NLC management positions or positions equivalent to APSC levels SES or EL; this includes the NLC CEO, Branch Managers and Unit Managers. Salary increases associated with such contracts are generally negotiated at contract commencement and applied thereafter in line with agreed individual contract terms such as annual increases in line with CPI or individual performance levels.

Appropriate remuneration relativities between employees and managers ensures fairness and supports productivity, retention and stable workplace relations. A thorough position based review of the remuneration packages attached to NLC management positions was completed in May 2018 in order to establish if Managers were being remunerated with appropriate relativity to their direct line staff covered under the Agreement and also compared with similar external agencies and organisations.

Information about remuneration for other highly paid staff The Northern Land Council has no Other Highly Paid Staff to report in accordance with the Public Governance Performance and Accountability (PGPA) Rule.

Managing Attendance Managing a dispersed and diverse workforce requires a contemporary and flexible workplace relations approach.

Access to services in regional and remote communities of the NT can impact on attendance and ultimately productivity and performance.

In line with the rollout of the online leave management system (HR21), front line managers and staff were educated on better use and scheduling of leave entitlements and this has had a positive effect on leave management.

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TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT

Training options can be limited in availability and frequency in the NT. Management and APSC training in particular often requires travel to major cities. Sourcing local providers or bringing training providers to the NT to maximise value is always considered in the first instance. The NLC has training needs across three major areas:

• Compliance training, such as remote first aid, chainsaw and small engines, chemical handling and 4WD training. With more than 250 training activities in this area in 2018/2019, compliance-related training forms the bulk of the NLC training budget.

• Continuous improvement related training is training delivered to enhance employee performance in existing roles. This includes in-house training for new systems, industry or sector related training, seminars or conferences, APSC training and IT related training, such as training in the latest versions of Microsoft Office Excel or Word. The Employee Performance Review process is often the catalyst for identifying training of this nature.

• Succession training and development is offered to employees to support career progression and advancement to higher classifications. Training may include management training or professional coaching.

Work Health and Safety

New Initiatives • The NLC now has a contact officer for equity and diversity issues.

• The NLC has introduced a domestic violence action plan.

• The NLC formed a partnership with the National Hearth Foundation to conduct a workplace wellness program.

• Wellness activities included yoga, meditation and workplace massage.

• Stress management awareness information presentations were held for workers and managers.

• Ten workers were trained in mediation skills.

• The NLC has introduced support programs for workers who wish to quit smoking.

WHS Activities • The NLC WHS delegates continued to work on self-improvement.

• The WHS Committee continued to meet every three months.

• All NLC facilities were inspected during the year to monitor compliance with WHS requirements.

• Test and tag of all electrical appliances continued.

• Development, review and updating of WHS policies, procedures and work practices continued.

• WHS officers attended industry seminars, conferences and training programs.

• WHS officers maintained close links with regulators and other organisations to ensure best practice.

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Outcomes The NLC continued to experience low injury rates and minimal work days lost because of injuries. There were no notifiable incidents relating to injuries or near misses and no injuries requiring hospital admissions.

• Reported minor injuries that did not require time off work: three.

• Reported injuries resulting in lost work days: two.

• Total days lost due to injury: seven.

There were two new workers’ compensation applications during the year. Both were minor and were resolved quickly. One long-term case is being managed.

Worker Welfare The NLC provides access to an employee assistance program for confidential counselling and mediation.

The number of workers seeking workplace ergonomic assistance has increased, as has the provision of ergonomic aids such as stand-up desks and ergonomic chairs.

The NLC continues to provide education sessions related to worker welfare and stress management.

Notifiable Incidents There was one notifiable incident, which was the result of an asbestos scare in an NLC-rented facility.

The incident was reported to Comcare and NT Worksafe and the substance was ultimately determined not to be asbestos.

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Northern Land Council Northern Land Council Annual Performance Annual Performance Statements 2018/2019 Statements 2018/2019

1.0 Introductory Statement We, Samuel Bush-Blanasi and Marion Scrymgour as the Accountable Authority of the Northern Land Council (NLC), present the 2018/19 Annual Performance Statements of the Northern Land Council, as required under paragraph 39(1)(a) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). In our opinion, these Annual Performance Statements are based on properly maintained records, accurately reflect the performance of the entity, and comply with subsection 39(2) of the PGPA Act.

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2.0 Entity Purposes, Vision and Guiding Values The purpose of the NLC is to enable and assist Indigenous people within the NLC region to acquire and manage land and seas and promote economic and community development.

The NLC’s Vision is for a territory in which the rights and responsibilities of every Traditional owner are recognised and in which Aboriginal people benefit economically, socially and culturally from the secure possession of their lands, seas and intellectual property.

Our Guiding values are that we will:

• Consult with and act with the informed consent of Traditional Owners in accordance with the ALRA

• Communicate clearly with Aboriginal people, taking into account the linguistic diversity of the region

• Respect Aboriginal law and tradition

• Be responsive to Aboriginal peoples’ needs and effectively advocate for their interests

• Be open, transparent and accountable

• Behave in a manner that is appropriate and sensitive to cultural differences

• Act with integrity, honesty and fairness • Uphold the principles and values of social justice

• Treat our stakeholders with respect.

Northern Land Council Corporate Plan 2018/19 to 2021/22

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3.0 Results PRIORITY NUMBER PERFORMANCE CRITERION CRITERION SOURCE RESULT AGAINST PERFORMANCE CRITERION

PROSECUTE ALRA AND NTA RESPONSIBILITIES TO ACQUIRE & PROTECT ABORIGINAL PROPERTY RIGHTS.

Priority 1(a) Through the management of the available capacity, continue the prosecution of Land Rights claims, and the court schedule of Native Title claims. Corporate Plan pp. 3,

18 & 19

Substantial progress of ALRA intertidal and/or beds and banks land claims was made in the reporting period including:

• participation in contested hearings to resolve five claims;

• providing submissions to the Commissioner’s review of detriment issues relating to 16 land claims previously recommended for grant but not finalised;

• preparation of claim materials for four claims; and

• ongoing negotiations with the Northern Territory and other respondent parties for claims subject to settlement discussions.

All native title claims were completed in accordance with relevant court schedules in the reporting period.

Priority 1(b) Through the management of available capacity, consult with Traditional Owners and negotiate Land Use Agreements and other commercial agreements.

Corporate Plan - pp. 3, 18 & 19

The completion rate for ALRA Land Use Agreements in the 2018/ 2019 financial year was 63% against the number of land parcels subject to outstanding applications at the start of the reporting period (355).

The number of new applications received is increasing year-on-year, with applications received against 281 parcels of land this reporting period. The backlog remains relatively high and the NLC closed the year with outstanding applications over 413 parcels of land.

To achieve the completion rate above, the NLC:

• Convened 346 consultations with 7,242 traditional owners and community members at 147 locations across the NLC area;

• The cost of meetings and travel for consultations during the reporting period was $516,000;

• Prepared more than 120 land use agreements, which were ultimately granted in accordance with ALRA requirements over 158 parcels of land; and

• Conducted consultations and finalised key terms and land use agreements for a further 47 parcels of land (which will be deliberated on and potentially granted in the 2020 financial year).

Priority 1(c) Provide policy and advocacy for cultural integrity and protection of intellectual and cultural rights. Corporate Plan - pp.

3, 18 & 19

To improve efficiency and our performance, the Regional Development and Legal Branches have developed:

• standard expression of interest templates;

• standard processes for meeting notifications, scheduling and consultation aids;

• template agreements and agenda papers; and

• a more efficient agreement execution process.

Priority 1(d)) Initiate technological and administrative reforms to NLC systems to enable efficiencies and enhance services for proponents and traditional owners. Corporate Plan - pp.

26 & 27

The introduction of the LUMAR CRM system will further enhance efficiencies in this space. In particular, the NLC anticipates that the completion rate will increase once our system can more readily discount incomplete applications which cannot be progressed.

Priority 1(e) Update GIS Mapping capabilities. Corporate

Plan - pp. 26 & 27

The LUMAR update incorporates enhanced GIS and mapping capacity and capability.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 CORPORATE GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT

PRIORITY NUMBER PERFORMANCE CRITERION CRITERION SOURCE RESULT AGAINST PERFORMANCE CRITERION

PROSECUTE ALRA AND NTA RESPONSIBILITIES TO ACQUIRE & PROTECT ABORIGINAL PROPERTY RIGHTS.

Priority 1(a) Through the management of the available capacity, continue the prosecution of Land Rights claims, and the court schedule of Native Title claims. Corporate Plan pp. 3,

18 & 19

Substantial progress of ALRA intertidal and/or beds and banks land claims was made in the reporting period including:

• participation in contested hearings to resolve five claims;

• providing submissions to the Commissioner’s review of detriment issues relating to 16 land claims previously recommended for grant but not finalised;

• preparation of claim materials for four claims; and

• ongoing negotiations with the Northern Territory and other respondent parties for claims subject to settlement discussions.

All native title claims were completed in accordance with relevant court schedules in the reporting period.

Priority 1(b) Through the management of available capacity, consult with Traditional Owners and negotiate Land Use Agreements and other commercial agreements.

Corporate Plan - pp. 3, 18 & 19

The completion rate for ALRA Land Use Agreements in the 2018/ 2019 financial year was 63% against the number of land parcels subject to outstanding applications at the start of the reporting period (355).

The number of new applications received is increasing year-on-year, with applications received against 281 parcels of land this reporting period. The backlog remains relatively high and the NLC closed the year with outstanding applications over 413 parcels of land.

To achieve the completion rate above, the NLC:

• Convened 346 consultations with 7,242 traditional owners and community members at 147 locations across the NLC area;

• The cost of meetings and travel for consultations during the reporting period was $516,000;

• Prepared more than 120 land use agreements, which were ultimately granted in accordance with ALRA requirements over 158 parcels of land; and

• Conducted consultations and finalised key terms and land use agreements for a further 47 parcels of land (which will be deliberated on and potentially granted in the 2020 financial year).

Priority 1(c) Provide policy and advocacy for cultural integrity and protection of intellectual and cultural rights. Corporate Plan - pp.

3, 18 & 19

To improve efficiency and our performance, the Regional Development and Legal Branches have developed:

• standard expression of interest templates;

• standard processes for meeting notifications, scheduling and consultation aids;

• template agreements and agenda papers; and

• a more efficient agreement execution process.

Priority 1(d)) Initiate technological and administrative reforms to NLC systems to enable efficiencies and enhance services for proponents and traditional owners. Corporate Plan - pp.

26 & 27

The introduction of the LUMAR CRM system will further enhance efficiencies in this space. In particular, the NLC anticipates that the completion rate will increase once our system can more readily discount incomplete applications which cannot be progressed.

Priority 1(e) Update GIS Mapping capabilities. Corporate

Plan - pp. 26 & 27

The LUMAR update incorporates enhanced GIS and mapping capacity and capability.

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PRIORITY NUMBER PERFORMANCE CRITERION CRITERION SOURCE RESULT AGAINST PERFORMANCE CRITERION

LEGAL AND ANTHROPOLOGY BRANCHES - MAINTENANCE OF HUMAN RESOURCES AND CAPACITY

Priority 2 Resource the Legal and Anthropology Branches (subject to budget) to provide capacity in Human Resources and systems so that the legislative responsibilities can be prosecuted efficiently and in a timely manner.

Corporate Plan pp. 22, 23, 24, 26

Anthropology: All positions were filled for the majority of the reporting period. A number of vacancies arose in the final months of the financial year and a recruitment strategy for these positions has been implemented. Legal: Staffing capacity was maintained during the reporting period and any vacancies were filled within established timeframe.

FACILITATING THE COMMUNITY PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT UNIT SO AS TO PROTECT AND DEVELOP ABORIGINAL USE OF LAND AND SEAS AND STRENGTHEN ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY WELL-BEING.

Priority 3(a) Further develop the Community Planning and Development Unit to assist and facilitate Traditional Owners’ access to resources in order to economically and socially develop their own groups, and to support Aboriginal Corporations and Associations in their development.

Corporate Plan pp. 14, 19 & 20

During the reporting period the 3rd year incubation of the CP&D Program was completed and we are successfully growing the Unit as a standalone operational arm of the NLC.

We received additional funding from the ABA and successfully employed 3 additional staff, bringing CP&D Unit up to 8 staff.

• One additional Aboriginal Group has opted into the CP&D program bringing the total number of groups to 8, with those operating in 4 of NLC’s 7 regions.

• Convened 19 full TO meetings and a further 9 working group meetings to support groups plan and deliver their community projects.

• Groups invested a further $2M into community projects bringing the total value invested by groups up to $6.5M.

• The number of community-led projects has more than doubled from 9 to 24 community-led projects valued about $2.5M in total.

• CP&D monitoring reported annually.

• Delivery of CP&D’s baseline monitoring report 2016- December 18

• Commenced delivery of CP&D’s 3 year (2019-22) funded research project to develop a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system for the Program.

Priority 3(b) Develop and promote an “economic prospectus” for the region, identifying the demand, capability and opportunities for Traditional Owners to participate in economic development on their lands.

Corporate Plan pp. 14, 19 & 20

MAINTAINING AND CONTINUING TO STRENGTHEN THE CAPACITY AND SKILLS OF NLC-AFFILIATED RANGER GROUPS WORKING ON COUNTRY TO FURTHER PROTECT AND MAINTAIN ABORIGINAL LAND AND SEAS

Priority 4(a) Strengthen the capabilities of Ranger Groups through training and capacity building.

Corporate Plan pp. 14. 20 & 21

Caring for Country Branch review was approved by all regional councils and Full Council and the plans are implemented.

Priority 4(b) Continual improvement of operations of Ranger groups, management activities of IPAs and jointly managed parks. Corporate Plan pp. 14.

20 & 21

Capabilities of Ranger groups and management of IPAs and managed parks meet best practice.

Performance reporting accepted and endorsed as meeting required standard.

Completed the development of the Career Pathways Framework, aimed at providing career progression and equal employment opportunities for all Caring for Country employees. Currently in the implementation phase.

DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN A COMPREHENSIVE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM TO FACILITATE THE PROVISION OF INFORMATION AND ADVOCACY OF TRADITIONAL OWNERS’ INTERESTS

Priority 5(a) Develop and implement a communications and public relations plan. Corporate Plan p. 24 Communications and public relations plan implemented and reviewed as required. NLC Communications Strategy has been finalised in draft form for publication later in 2019.

Priority 5(b) Organise events, and prepare resources and publications, publish the Land Rights News quarterly; develop a program of media releases and press conferences around issues of the day.

Corporate Plan p. 24

Media Releases are prepared and distributed as required in support of traditional owners’ interests and at the direction of the Executive Council and CEO.

Land Rights News published on time. Media releases, speeches and submissions to legislative and policy reform are published and/or submitted consistent with the nLC’s role as a primary advocate for the rights and interests of Aboriginal landowners.

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PRIORITY NUMBER PERFORMANCE CRITERION CRITERION SOURCE RESULT AGAINST PERFORMANCE CRITERION

LEGAL AND ANTHROPOLOGY BRANCHES - MAINTENANCE OF HUMAN RESOURCES AND CAPACITY

Priority 2 Resource the Legal and Anthropology Branches (subject to budget) to provide capacity in Human Resources and systems so that the legislative responsibilities can be prosecuted efficiently and in a timely manner.

Corporate Plan pp. 22, 23, 24, 26

Anthropology: All positions were filled for the majority of the reporting period. A number of vacancies arose in the final months of the financial year and a recruitment strategy for these positions has been implemented. Legal: Staffing capacity was maintained during the reporting period and any vacancies were filled within established timeframe.

FACILITATING THE COMMUNITY PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT UNIT SO AS TO PROTECT AND DEVELOP ABORIGINAL USE OF LAND AND SEAS AND STRENGTHEN ABORIGINAL COMMUNITY WELL-BEING.

Priority 3(a) Further develop the Community Planning and Development Unit to assist and facilitate Traditional Owners’ access to resources in order to economically and socially develop their own groups, and to support Aboriginal Corporations and Associations in their development.

Corporate Plan pp. 14, 19 & 20

During the reporting period the 3rd year incubation of the CP&D Program was completed and we are successfully growing the Unit as a standalone operational arm of the NLC.

We received additional funding from the ABA and successfully employed 3 additional staff, bringing CP&D Unit up to 8 staff.

• One additional Aboriginal Group has opted into the CP&D program bringing the total number of groups to 8, with those operating in 4 of NLC’s 7 regions.

• Convened 19 full TO meetings and a further 9 working group meetings to support groups plan and deliver their community projects.

• Groups invested a further $2M into community projects bringing the total value invested by groups up to $6.5M.

• The number of community-led projects has more than doubled from 9 to 24 community-led projects valued about $2.5M in total.

• CP&D monitoring reported annually.

• Delivery of CP&D’s baseline monitoring report 2016- December 18

• Commenced delivery of CP&D’s 3 year (2019-22) funded research project to develop a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system for the Program.

Priority 3(b) Develop and promote an “economic prospectus” for the region, identifying the demand, capability and opportunities for Traditional Owners to participate in economic development on their lands.

Corporate Plan pp. 14, 19 & 20

MAINTAINING AND CONTINUING TO STRENGTHEN THE CAPACITY AND SKILLS OF NLC-AFFILIATED RANGER GROUPS WORKING ON COUNTRY TO FURTHER PROTECT AND MAINTAIN ABORIGINAL LAND AND SEAS

Priority 4(a) Strengthen the capabilities of Ranger Groups through training and capacity building.

Corporate Plan pp. 14. 20 & 21

Caring for Country Branch review was approved by all regional councils and Full Council and the plans are implemented.

Priority 4(b) Continual improvement of operations of Ranger groups, management activities of IPAs and jointly managed parks. Corporate Plan pp. 14.

20 & 21

Capabilities of Ranger groups and management of IPAs and managed parks meet best practice.

Performance reporting accepted and endorsed as meeting required standard.

Completed the development of the Career Pathways Framework, aimed at providing career progression and equal employment opportunities for all Caring for Country employees. Currently in the implementation phase.

DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN A COMPREHENSIVE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM TO FACILITATE THE PROVISION OF INFORMATION AND ADVOCACY OF TRADITIONAL OWNERS’ INTERESTS

Priority 5(a) Develop and implement a communications and public relations plan. Corporate Plan p. 24 Communications and public relations plan implemented and reviewed as required. NLC Communications Strategy has been finalised in draft form for publication later in 2019.

Priority 5(b) Organise events, and prepare resources and publications, publish the Land Rights News quarterly; develop a program of media releases and press conferences around issues of the day.

Corporate Plan p. 24

Media Releases are prepared and distributed as required in support of traditional owners’ interests and at the direction of the Executive Council and CEO.

Land Rights News published on time. Media releases, speeches and submissions to legislative and policy reform are published and/or submitted consistent with the nLC’s role as a primary advocate for the rights and interests of Aboriginal landowners.

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PRIORITY NUMBER PERFORMANCE CRITERION CRITERION SOURCE RESULT AGAINST PERFORMANCE CRITERION

Priority 5(c) Maintain the alliance with Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern Territory (APONT). Corporate Plan p. 24

General and on-going obligations.

Priority 5(d) Regularly liaise with the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority and other institutions. Corporate Plan p. 24

General and on-going obligations.

Priority 6(a) Develop, implement, and continually improve policies and procedures that will strengthen the governance and management of the organisation, so that NLC operates in accordance with best practice principles and meets all statutory reporting obligations in order to provide its Aboriginal constituents with responsive, transparent governance and administration.

Corporate Plan pp 24 & 25

16 policies were implemented within the 2018/19 period.

The Project Management Unit (PMU) has agreed a program of work to improve the governance and administration of land use agreements, permits and royalties.

Two Project Boards monitor the progress of reform initiatives and projects:

• Land Use Management and Royalty (LUMAR) Project Board

• Permit Reform (PR) Project Board

The spatial infrastructure project, known as Geospatial Mapping System (GMS) project, provides situational awareness to both projects, and the ability for visualisation and due diligence on land interests.

Each project has a schedule of business system releases over the next 24 months.

A number of mechanisms have been implemented based on the communications strategy to inform staff of the upcoming changes, including staff meetings, workshops, flyers and training sessions. The communication strategy also includes mechanisms to educate external stakeholders about reform initiatives.

Priority 6(b) Introduce improved processes to manage land use agreements and disbursement arrangements and lift internal capability by tracking activity through one consolidated system

Corporate Plan pp. 13, 14, 22, 23 & 24

The Project Management Unit (PMU) delivered a Future State Design for Royalties in early 2018. This document provides the framework for new policies, systems and procedures that will strengthen the governance and management of land use agreements, royalties and logistics.

The delivery strategy for the Land Use Management and Royalty (LUMAR) project identifies staged releases to provide incremental change, by working branch by branch. LUMAR integrates with the spatial infrastructure project (GMS) and the SAGE Financial Management System to streamline processes.

To date, system releases include:

• Release 1 on 4 March 2019: The new SAGE Trust Accounting Module was implemented in the Royalty Unit and historic interest allocated. The focus is now moving to the Anthropology Branch.

• Release 2 on 27 June 2019: The new Proposal Module was implemented in the Regional Development Branch using SAGE CRM to improve the consideration process for Expression of Interests for ALRA s19 leases and licences.

Further releases are planned for management improvements to logistics and cost recovery, royalty revenue and disbursement, contractual compliance and statutory reporting obligations.

More detailed work on policy is required to support consistent processes and procedures and agree a set of leading and lagging indicators to improve workflow.

FACILITATE ARRANGEMENTS TO PROVIDE A MORE RESPONSIVE AND EFFICIENT PERMIT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM TO ORGANISE, MANAGE AND DOCUMENT LICENSED ACCESS TO TRADITIONAL LANDS AND WATERS.

Priority 7(a) Create a Permit Reform Team to address the aspirations for permit reform from Traditional Owners and other stakeholders who recognise that current conditions and access arrangements constrain safety, tourism and investment, and the effective monitoring, control and deterrence of illegal and dangerous activity by visitors on Aboriginal land and waters.

Corporate Plan pp. 21 & 22

Competed

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PRIORITY NUMBER PERFORMANCE CRITERION CRITERION SOURCE RESULT AGAINST PERFORMANCE CRITERION

Priority 5(c) Maintain the alliance with Aboriginal Peak Organisations of the Northern Territory (APONT). Corporate Plan p. 24

General and on-going obligations.

Priority 5(d) Regularly liaise with the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority and other institutions. Corporate Plan p. 24

General and on-going obligations.

Priority 6(a) Develop, implement, and continually improve policies and procedures that will strengthen the governance and management of the organisation, so that NLC operates in accordance with best practice principles and meets all statutory reporting obligations in order to provide its Aboriginal constituents with responsive, transparent governance and administration.

Corporate Plan pp 24 & 25

16 policies were implemented within the 2018/19 period.

The Project Management Unit (PMU) has agreed a program of work to improve the governance and administration of land use agreements, permits and royalties.

Two Project Boards monitor the progress of reform initiatives and projects:

• Land Use Management and Royalty (LUMAR) Project Board

• Permit Reform (PR) Project Board

The spatial infrastructure project, known as Geospatial Mapping System (GMS) project, provides situational awareness to both projects, and the ability for visualisation and due diligence on land interests.

Each project has a schedule of business system releases over the next 24 months.

A number of mechanisms have been implemented based on the communications strategy to inform staff of the upcoming changes, including staff meetings, workshops, flyers and training sessions. The communication strategy also includes mechanisms to educate external stakeholders about reform initiatives.

Priority 6(b) Introduce improved processes to manage land use agreements and disbursement arrangements and lift internal capability by tracking activity through one consolidated system

Corporate Plan pp. 13, 14, 22, 23 & 24

The Project Management Unit (PMU) delivered a Future State Design for Royalties in early 2018. This document provides the framework for new policies, systems and procedures that will strengthen the governance and management of land use agreements, royalties and logistics.

The delivery strategy for the Land Use Management and Royalty (LUMAR) project identifies staged releases to provide incremental change, by working branch by branch. LUMAR integrates with the spatial infrastructure project (GMS) and the SAGE Financial Management System to streamline processes.

To date, system releases include:

• Release 1 on 4 March 2019: The new SAGE Trust Accounting Module was implemented in the Royalty Unit and historic interest allocated. The focus is now moving to the Anthropology Branch.

• Release 2 on 27 June 2019: The new Proposal Module was implemented in the Regional Development Branch using SAGE CRM to improve the consideration process for Expression of Interests for ALRA s19 leases and licences.

Further releases are planned for management improvements to logistics and cost recovery, royalty revenue and disbursement, contractual compliance and statutory reporting obligations.

More detailed work on policy is required to support consistent processes and procedures and agree a set of leading and lagging indicators to improve workflow.

FACILITATE ARRANGEMENTS TO PROVIDE A MORE RESPONSIVE AND EFFICIENT PERMIT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM TO ORGANISE, MANAGE AND DOCUMENT LICENSED ACCESS TO TRADITIONAL LANDS AND WATERS.

Priority 7(a) Create a Permit Reform Team to address the aspirations for permit reform from Traditional Owners and other stakeholders who recognise that current conditions and access arrangements constrain safety, tourism and investment, and the effective monitoring, control and deterrence of illegal and dangerous activity by visitors on Aboriginal land and waters.

Corporate Plan pp. 21 & 22

Competed

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PRIORITY NUMBER PERFORMANCE CRITERION CRITERION SOURCE RESULT AGAINST PERFORMANCE CRITERION

Priority 7(b) Facilitate Traditional Aboriginal Owner decisions about who visits their land and the circumstances under which access is permitted Corporate Plan pp.

21 & 22

Finalised subject to on-going consultations

Priority 7(c) Design, build and implement a modern Permit Management system Corporate Plan pp. 21 & 22

In October 2018, work commenced to develop a modern, intuitive, map-based Permit Administration System (PAS).

Permit System

The PAS is composed of three components: the administrative web application and two mobile apps which are not yet funded: Compliance and Visitors apps. The system has dependencies on two other projects - the spatial infrastructure project (GMS) and LUMAR.

Finalising the scope for administrative application for a planned Go-Live in October 2019.

Permit Zones

The system is designed to cater for Permit Zones, which specify conditions, fees, open dates, and activities and are adaptable based on Traditional Owner advice. Sea Country consultation have identified standing instructions for permit zones and more consultations will be scheduled once the system is live.

Policy

Subject Matter Experts provided input on the policy draft, which has been submitted to the leadership group and presented at both the 118 and 119 Full Council Meetings (FCMs). An ALRA s19 Permit Agreement and management procedures have been drafted to support the zoning process, including provision for designated activities like fishing.

Stakeholder Engagement

A Media and Education Campaign is planned for next year.

Compliance

The legal branch has received draft legislative changes for land ranger powers under the NT Parks, Wildlife and Conservation Act. Caring for Country has developed a submission to NIAA to fund four compliance projects. If successful, these projects will be the foundation for compliance management and deterrence that is a necessary part of permit reform.

Change

The PAS is more than a ‘like for like’ change to a contemporary system. It introduces changes in the way permits are considered, processed and stored, the information required from applicants, and more extensive reports to inform future decisions. The Reference Group has provided input on the new system and roles.

Priority 7(d) Develop and promote Permit Reform to connect permit holders with Aboriginal Traditional Owners and help them be safe and informed, understand their obligations and responsibilities as visitors, and participate in mutually beneficial opportunities and experiences while on country.

Corporate Plan pp. 21 & 22

CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVING THE NLC’S POLICIES AND PROCEDURES SYSTEMS FOR MORE EFFICIENCY AND BEST PRACTICE GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION.

Priority 8(a) Consultant to complete council and stakeholders’ satisfaction surveys.

Further refine Members Handbook (Code of Conduct).

Corporate Plan, pp. 13, 15,16, 24, 25

Consultancy brief drafted and subject to finalisation. This matter for re-consideration/refinement by Executive Council and senior staff.

On-going. Revised Members Handbook to be prepared for consideration at first NLC Full Council meeting in mid-2020

TAKE ACCOUNT OF AND IMPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS OF ANAO PERFORMANCE AUDIT: (A) DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN AN ACTION PLAN TO MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF REFORM INITIATIVES AND PROJECTS, AND (B) DEVELOP A COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY TO INFORM STAFF OF CHANGES.

Priority 8(b) Previous year’s Financial Statements are submitted and published on time.

Policies and procedures are implemented.

Corporate Plan, pp. 13, 15,16, 24, 25

Financial Statement for 2017/2018 submitted and published on time and ANAO recommendations implemented.

Policies and procedures for financial transactions (and generally) are continually reviewed and revised as necessary and implemented. Internal newsletter for intra-staff communications prepared and distributed monthly.

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PRIORITY NUMBER PERFORMANCE CRITERION CRITERION SOURCE RESULT AGAINST PERFORMANCE CRITERION

Priority 7(b) Facilitate Traditional Aboriginal Owner decisions about who visits their land and the circumstances under which access is permitted Corporate Plan pp.

21 & 22

Finalised subject to on-going consultations

Priority 7(c) Design, build and implement a modern Permit Management system Corporate Plan pp. 21 & 22

In October 2018, work commenced to develop a modern, intuitive, map-based Permit Administration System (PAS).

Permit System

The PAS is composed of three components: the administrative web application and two mobile apps which are not yet funded: Compliance and Visitors apps. The system has dependencies on two other projects - the spatial infrastructure project (GMS) and LUMAR.

Finalising the scope for administrative application for a planned Go-Live in October 2019.

Permit Zones

The system is designed to cater for Permit Zones, which specify conditions, fees, open dates, and activities and are adaptable based on Traditional Owner advice. Sea Country consultation have identified standing instructions for permit zones and more consultations will be scheduled once the system is live.

Policy

Subject Matter Experts provided input on the policy draft, which has been submitted to the leadership group and presented at both the 118 and 119 Full Council Meetings (FCMs). An ALRA s19 Permit Agreement and management procedures have been drafted to support the zoning process, including provision for designated activities like fishing.

Stakeholder Engagement

A Media and Education Campaign is planned for next year.

Compliance

The legal branch has received draft legislative changes for land ranger powers under the NT Parks, Wildlife and Conservation Act. Caring for Country has developed a submission to NIAA to fund four compliance projects. If successful, these projects will be the foundation for compliance management and deterrence that is a necessary part of permit reform.

Change

The PAS is more than a ‘like for like’ change to a contemporary system. It introduces changes in the way permits are considered, processed and stored, the information required from applicants, and more extensive reports to inform future decisions. The Reference Group has provided input on the new system and roles.

Priority 7(d) Develop and promote Permit Reform to connect permit holders with Aboriginal Traditional Owners and help them be safe and informed, understand their obligations and responsibilities as visitors, and participate in mutually beneficial opportunities and experiences while on country.

Corporate Plan pp. 21 & 22

CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVING THE NLC’S POLICIES AND PROCEDURES SYSTEMS FOR MORE EFFICIENCY AND BEST PRACTICE GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION.

Priority 8(a) Consultant to complete council and stakeholders’ satisfaction surveys.

Further refine Members Handbook (Code of Conduct).

Corporate Plan, pp. 13, 15,16, 24, 25

Consultancy brief drafted and subject to finalisation. This matter for re-consideration/refinement by Executive Council and senior staff.

On-going. Revised Members Handbook to be prepared for consideration at first NLC Full Council meeting in mid-2020

TAKE ACCOUNT OF AND IMPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS OF ANAO PERFORMANCE AUDIT: (A) DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN AN ACTION PLAN TO MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF REFORM INITIATIVES AND PROJECTS, AND (B) DEVELOP A COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY TO INFORM STAFF OF CHANGES.

Priority 8(b) Previous year’s Financial Statements are submitted and published on time.

Policies and procedures are implemented.

Corporate Plan, pp. 13, 15,16, 24, 25

Financial Statement for 2017/2018 submitted and published on time and ANAO recommendations implemented.

Policies and procedures for financial transactions (and generally) are continually reviewed and revised as necessary and implemented. Internal newsletter for intra-staff communications prepared and distributed monthly.

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4.0 Analysis The Northern Land Council continued to implement reforms in 2018/19 to strengthen, improve and increase efficiency through a review and upgrade of systems, policies and processes.

A focus in 2018/19 has been the establishment of a projects team to drive and manage major projects of the organisation. Many reform projects are currently underway, however the two major projects, commenced during the year, include the (i) Permits Reform project and (ii) Land Use Management and Royalties project. Both focus on delivering modern, efficient systems and processes. The information Technology and communications is committed to achieving savings and efficiency through installation of modern hardware, delivering secure, flexible and reliable systems and solutions to staff and customers. 2018/19 marked a significant achievement in term of successfully deploying ICT system that is modernise and flexible to changes and future challenges. This financial year saw the NLC working towards establishing its own datacentre to strengthen risk management and achieve savings.

The Community Planning and Development (CP&D) Unit activities increased over the year with eight Aboriginal groups opting in and working through the CP&D program to use their income for social, cultural, economic and environmental initiatives. The number of community projects planned, funded and being delivered has more than doubled from 9 to 24 community-led projects during the 2018/19 period, with four of those initiatives successfully completed.

The Northern Land Council’s purposes, activities and the environment in which it operates did not change significantly in the reporting period to materially impact its performance.

MARION SCRYMGOUR SAMUEL BUSH-BLANASI

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER CHAIRMAN

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Financial Financial Statements Statements

Part 4 Part 4

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

2018/2019 2018/2019 Annual Consolidated Annual Consolidated Financial Statements Financial Statements Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013

Table of Contents Auditor’s Report 201-203

Statement by the Accountable Authority and Chief Financial Officer 204

Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income 205-206

Consolidated Statement of Financial Position 207-208

Consolidated Statement of Changes in Equity 209

Consolidated Cash Flow Statement 210-211

Note 1: Summary of Significant Accounting Policies 212-225

Note 2: Events after the Reporting Period 226

Note 3: Expenses 226-228

Note 4: Own Source Income 229-231

Note 5: Income tax expense 232

Note 6: Financial Assets 233-234

Note 7: Non-Financial Assets 235-240

Note 8: Payables 241-242

Note 9: Unearned Revenue 242

Note 10: Provisions 243

Note 11: Subsidiaries 244

Note 12: Parent Entity Information 245-246

Note 13: Contingent Liabilities 246

Note 14: Related Party Disclosures 247-249

Note 15: Key Management Personnel Remuneration 250

Note 16: Remuneration of Auditors 251

Note 17: Financial Instruments 252-254

Note 18: Aggregate Assets and Liabilities 255

Note 19: ABA - Capital Works/Infrastructure 255

Note 20: Native Title 256-258

Note 21: Royalty Assets Held in Trust Account 259-262

200

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GPO Box 707 CANBERRA ACT 2601 19 National Circuit BARTON ACT Phone (02) 6203 7300 Fax (02) 6203 7777

INDEPENDENT AUDITOR’S REPORT

To the Minister for Indigenous Australians

Opinion

In my opinion, the financial statements of the Northern Land Council and its subsidiaries (together the ‘Consolidated Entity’) for the year ended 30 June 2019:

(a) comply with Australian Accounting Standards - Reduced Disclosure Requirements and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Financial Reporting) Rule 2015; and

(b) present fairly the financial position of the Consolidated Entity as at 30 June 2019 and its financial performance and cash flows for the year then ended.

The financial statements of the Consolidated Entity, which I have audited, comprise the following statements as at 30 June 2019 and for the year then ended:

• Statement by the Accountable Authority and Chief Financial Officer; • Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income; • Consolidated Statement of Financial Position; • Consolidated Statement of Changes in Equity; • Consolidated Cash Flow Statement; and • Notes to the financial statements comprising a Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and other

explanatory information.

Basis for opinion

I conducted my audit in accordance with the Australian National Audit Office Auditing Standards, which incorporate the Australian Auditing Standards. My responsibilities under those standards are further described in the Auditor’s Responsibilities for the Audit of the Financial Statements section of my report. I am independent of the Consolidated Entity in accordance with the relevant ethical requirements for financial statement audits conducted by the Auditor-General and his delegates. These include the relevant independence requirements of the Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board’s APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (the Code) to the extent that they are not in conflict with the Auditor-General Act 1997. I have also fulfilled my other responsibilities in accordance with the Code. I believe that the audit evidence I have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for my opinion.

Emphasis of Matter

Without modifying my opinion, I draw attention to:

• Note 1.4 of the financial statements which describes the qualification of a Northern Land Council’s subsidiary, the Northern Australian Aboriginal Charitable Trust, and management’s assessment of the qualification including the independent legal advice obtained; and • Note 1.7 of the financial statements which describes the restatement of comparative information related to

30 June 2018 and the year then ended as a result of a prior period error.

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Accountable Authority’s responsibility for the financial statements

As the Accountable Authority of the Consolidated Entity, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer are responsible under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the Act) for the preparation and fair presentation of annual financial statements that comply with Australian Accounting Standards -

Reduced Disclosure Requirements and the rules made under the Act. The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer are also responsible for such internal control as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer determine is necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.

In preparing the financial statements, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer are responsible for assessing the ability of the Consolidated Entity to continue as a going concern, taking into account whether the entity’s operations will cease as a result of an administrative restructure or for any other reason. The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer are also responsible for disclosing, as applicable, matters related to going concern and using the going concern basis of accounting unless the assessment indicates that it is not appropriate.

Auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the financial Statements

My objective is to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and to issue an auditor’s report that includes my opinion. Reasonable assurance is a high level of assurance, but is not a guarantee that an audit conducted in accordance with the Australian National Audit Office Auditing Standards will always detect a material misstatement when it exists. Misstatements can arise from fraud or error and are considered material if, individually or in the aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of the financial statements.

As part of an audit in accordance with the Australian National Audit Office Auditing Standards, I exercise professional judgement and maintain professional scepticism throughout the audit. I also:

• identify and assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to fraud or error, design and perform audit procedures responsive to those risks, and obtain audit evidence that is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for my opinion. The risk of not detecting a material misstatement resulting from fraud is higher than for one resulting from error, as fraud may involve collusion, forgery, intentional omissions, misrepresentations, or the override of internal control;

• obtain an understanding of internal control relevant to the audit in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Consolidated Entity’s internal control;

• evaluate the appropriateness of accounting policies used and the reasonableness of accounting estimates and related disclosures made by the Accountable Authority; • conclude on the appropriateness of the Accountable Authority’s use of the going concern basis of accounting and, based on the audit evidence obtained, whether a material uncertainty exists related to events or

conditions that may cast significant doubt on the Consolidated Entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. If I conclude that a material uncertainty exists, I am required to draw attention in my auditor’s report to the related disclosures in the financial statements or, if such disclosures are inadequate, to modify my opinion. My conclusions are based on the audit evidence obtained up to the date of my auditor’s report. However, future events or conditions may cause the Consolidated Entity to cease to continue as a going concern; • evaluate the overall presentation, structure and content of the financial statements, including the

disclosures, and whether the financial statements represent the underlying transactions and events in a manner that achieves fair presentation; and • obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence regarding the financial information of the entities or business activities within the Consolidated Entity to express an opinion on the financial report. I am responsible for

the direction, supervision and performance of the Consolidated Entity audit. I remain solely responsible for my audit opinion.

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I communicate with the Accountable Authority regarding, among other matters, the planned scope and timing of the audit and significant audit findings, including any significant deficiencies in internal control that I identify during my audit.

Australian National Audit Office

Rita Bhana

Senior Director

Delegate of the Auditor-General

Canberra

6 December 2019

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STATEMENT BY THE ACCOUNTABLE AUTHORITY AND CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER In our opinion, the attached consolidated financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2019 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 Group 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.

Samuel Bush-Blanasi Marion Scrymgour

Chairman / Accountable Authority Chief Executive Officer / Accountable Authority

Irfan Bhat Chief Financial Officer

2 December 2019

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CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME for the year ended 30 June 2019

NET COST OF SERVICES NOTES

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(Restated)*

EXPENSES

Employee benefits 3A 28,425 24,956

Suppliers 3B 24,173 18,890

Depreciation 3C 2,398 3,302

Loss on disposal of assets 3D - 15

Finance costs 3E 125 164

Impairment of property, plant and equipment 3F - 81

Total Expenses 55,121 47,408

OWN-SOURCE INCOME Own-source revenue

Rendering of services 4A 4,369 5,531

Interest 4B 560 413

Total own-source revenue 4,929 5,944

Gains

Gain from sale of assets 4C 119 -

Reversal of write - downs and impairment 4D 537 195

Total gains 656 195

Total own-source income 5,585 6,139

Net cost of services 49,536 41,269

Revenue from Government - Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet (PM&C) 4E 6,056 5,386

Revenue from Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) 4F 31,264 23,936

Revenue from Government-Special Purpose Grant 4G 15,055 12,788

Total revenue from Government 52,375 42,110

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NET COST OF SERVICES NOTES

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(Restated)*

Surplus attributable to the Australian Government 2,839 841

Other Comprehensive (Loss)/Income

Items that will not be classified subsequently to profit and loss:

(Loss)/gain on revaluation of land and buildings 7A (1,825) 1,841

Total Other Comprehensive (Loss)/Income (1,825) 1,841

Total comprehensive income attributable to the Australian Government 1,014 2,682

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

* The comparative information has been restated as a result of initial consolidation (see note 1.7).

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CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION as at 30 June 2019

NOTES

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(Restated)*

ASSETS Financial Assets

Cash and cash equivalents 6A 28,143 25,186

Trade and other receivables 6B 1,999 1,128

Total financial assets 30,142 26,314

Non-Financial Assets

Land and buildings 7A 22,434 23,737

Property, plant and equipment 7A 4,316 2,835

Other non-financial assets 7B 478 528

Investment property 7C 1,749 1,749

Total non-financial assets 28,977 28,849

Total Assets 59,119 55,163

LIABILITIES Payables

Suppliers 8A 2,569 1,550

Other payables 8B 651 933

Total payables 3,220 2,483

Interest bearing liabilities

Loans 8C 2,717 2,959

Total interest bearing liabilities 2,717 2,959

Unearned revenue

Advance Payments 9 18,823 16,657

Total unearned revenue 18,823 16,657

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NOTES

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(Restated)*

Provisions

Employee provisions 10 3,987 3,706

Total provisions 3,987 3,706

Total Liabilities 28,747 25,805

Net Assets 30,372 29,358

EQUITY Asset revaluation reserves 6,129 7,954

Retained surplus 24,243 21,404

Total Equity 30,372 29,358

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

* The comparative information has been restated as a result of initial consolidation (see note 1.7).

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CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN EQUITY for the year ended 30 June 2019

RETAINED SURPLUS

$’000

ASSET

REVALUATION RESERVE

$’000

TOTAL EQUITY

$’000

Balance at 1 July 2017 7,346 1,986 9,332

Prior period adjustment (note 1.7) 13,217 4,127 17,344

Balance at 1 July 2017 - As restated* 20,563 6,113 26,676

Other Comprehensive Income - 1,841 1,841

Surplus for the period 841 - 841

Total Comprehensive Income 841 1,841 2,682

Balance at 30 June 2018 21,404 7,954 29,358

Other Comprehensive Loss - (1,825) (1,825)

Surplus for the period 2,839 - 2,839

Total Comprehensive Income/(Loss) 2,839 (1,825) 1,014

Closing balance as at 30 June attributable to the Australian government 24,243 6,129 30,372

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

* The comparative information has been restated as a result of initial consolidation (see note 1.7).

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CONSOLIDATED CASH FLOW STATEMENT for the year ended 30 June 2019

NOTES

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(Restated)*

OPERATING ACTIVITIES Cash received

Rendering of services 6,617 6,922

Receipts from Government 54,984 43,532

Net GST received 260 -

Interest 4B 560 413

Total cash received 62,421 50,867

Cash used

Employees (28,705) (24,496)

Suppliers (26,110) (13,930)

Net GST paid - (1,370)

Borrowing costs paid (125) (163)

Total cash used (54,940) (39,959)

Net cash from operating activities 7,481 10,908

INVESTING ACTIVITIES Cash received

Proceeds from sales of property, plant and equipment 237 346

Total cash received 237 346

Cash used

Purchase of property, plant and equipment (4,519) (2,732)

Purchase of investment property - (857)

Total cash used (4,519) (3,589)

Net cash used by investing activities (4,282) (3,243)

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NOTES

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(Restated)*

FINANCING ACTIVITIES Cash received

Advances from borrowings - 869

Total cash received - 869

Cash used

Repayment of borrowings (242) (300)

Total cash used (242) (300)

Net cash (used by) / from financing activities (242) 569

Net increase in cash held 2,957 8,234

Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the reporting period 25,186 16,952

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the reporting period 6A 28,143 25,186

The above statement should be read in conjunction with the accompanying notes.

* The comparative information has been restated as a result of initial consolidation (see note 1.7).

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Note 1: Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

1.1 Overview

The Northern Land Council (NLC), the parent entity, is a representative body with statutory authority under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. It also has responsibilities under the Native Title Act 1993 and the Pastoral Land Act 1992. It is a not-for-profit entity. The objectives of the NLC are to:

• Advocate, protect and acquire Aboriginal property rights and interest in our traditional lands, water and seas through land claims and the native title process.

• Ensure the sustainable use and management of natural and cultural resources on Aboriginal lands.

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

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

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

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

• Operate in accordance with best practice and reporting standards and obligations.

The NLC is a statutory authority formed within the provision of Section 21 of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA). The NLC 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 NLC is structured to meet the following outcomes:

Outcome 1: Access to Aboriginal Land is managed effectively and efficiently.

Outcome 2: Traditional owners are assisted to manage their land, sea and natural resources in a sustainable manner.

Outcome 3: To assist Aboriginal people to obtain or acquire property rights over their traditional land and seas.

Outcome 4: To secure economic, social and cultural benefits for traditional owners from developments taking place on Aboriginal land.

Outcome 5: Develop employment and training plans in partnership with industry and government stakeholders, and facilitate the implementation of these plans.

Outcome 6: Efficiently process exploration and mining license applications and provide accurate advice on potential environmental impacts and benefits.

Outcome 7: Empower Aboriginal people to carry out commercial activities and build sustainable enterprises.

Outcome 8: Advocate on behalf of Aboriginal people and express their views.

Outcome 9: Raise public awareness of the NLC’s work and the views of Aboriginal people.

Outcome 10: Supporting Aboriginal people to maintain and protect their sacred sites and cultural heritage.

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Outcome 11: Help Aboriginal people achieve their development potential by facilitating access to leadership and governance programs, resources, infrastructure and government services.

Outcome 12: Receive and distribute statutory and other payments for Aboriginal people.

Outcome 13: Assist Land Trusts’ to act appropriately and in accordance with the ALRA.

Outcome 14: Support traditional owners to manage and resolve disputes.

The funding conditions of the NLC 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 Australians.

The continued existence of the NLC in its present form with its present programs is dependent on Government policy and on continuing funding by Parliament for the NLC’s administration and programs.

1.2 Basis of Preparation of the Financial Statements

The consolidated 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 comprise the consolidated financial statements of the Group comprising:

• Northern Land Council (the Parent Entity)

• Northern Australian Aboriginal Charitable Trust (the Subsidiary)

• North Australia Aboriginal Corporation (the Subsidiary)

• Northern Aboriginal Investment Corporation Pty Ltd (the Subsidiary)

The following subsidiaries are not consolidated as part of the Group’s financial statements as they are immaterial to the Group (refer to Note 1.4):

• Wirib Tourism Park Pty Ltd (the Subsidiary)

• Northern Australia Aboriginal Development Corporation Pty Ltd (the Subsidiary)

• Create Housing and Construction Pty Ltd (the Subsidiary)

• Aboriginal Solar Rollout Pty Ltd (the Subsidiary)

For the purposes of preparing the consolidated financial statements, the NLC and the entities controlled by the NLC (the Group) are not-for-profit entities.

The consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with:

a) Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Financial Reporting) Rule 2015 (FRR); and

b) Australian Accounting Standards and Interpretations - Reduced Disclosure Requirements issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB) that apply for the reporting period.

The financial year ended 30 June 2019 is the first year that the NLC’s financial statements have been prepared as consolidated financial statements in compliance with AASB 10 Consolidated Financial Statements. See note 1.3 Basis of Consolidation and 1.4 Critical accounting judgements in applying the Group’s accounting policies for more details.

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The comparative financial information has been restated in accordance with AASB 108 Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors. Refer to Note 1.7 for details of the restatement of 2018 comparative information.

The consolidated 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 policies on the results or the financial position of the Group.

The consolidated 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 along with income and expenses, are recognised in the statement of financial position and comprehensive income, when and only when it is probable that future economic benefits will flow to the Group 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.

1.3 Basis of Consolidation

The consolidated financial statements incorporate the financial statements of the NLC and entities controlled by the NLC (the Group). Control is achieved when the NLC:

• has power over the investee;

• is exposed, or has rights, to variable returns from its involvement with the investee; and

• has the ability to use its power to affect its returns.

The NLC reassesses whether or not it controls an investee if facts and circumstances indicate that there are changes to one or more of the three elements of control listed above. When the NLC has less than a majority of the voting rights of an investee, it has power over the investee when the voting rights are sufficient to give it the practical ability to direct the relevant activities of the investee unilaterally. The NLC considers all relevant facts and circumstances in assessing whether or not the NLC’s voting rights in an investee are sufficient to give it power, including:

• the size of the NLC’s holding of voting rights relative to the size and dispersion of holdings of the other vote holders;

• potential voting rights held by the NLC, other vote holders or other parties;

• rights arising from other contractual arrangements; and

• any additional facts and circumstances that indicate that the NLC has, or does not have, the current ability to direct the relevant activities at the time that decisions need to be made, including voting patterns at previous shareholders’ meetings of North Australia Aboriginal Corporation (NAAC) and Northern Aboriginal Investment Corporation Pty Ltd (NAIC) as trustee for Northern Australian Aboriginal Charitable Trust (NAACT) .

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Consolidation of a subsidiary begins when the NLC obtains control over the subsidiary and ceases when the NLC loses control of the subsidiary. Specifically, income and expenses of a subsidiary acquired or disposed of during the year are included in the consolidated statement of comprehensive income from the date the NLC gains control until the date when the NLC ceases to control the subsidiary.

When necessary, adjustments are made to the financial statements of subsidiaries to bring their accounting policies into line with the NLC’s accounting policies.

Changes in the NLC’s ownership interests in existing subsidiaries

Changes in the NLC’s ownership interests in subsidiaries that do not result in the NLC losing control over the subsidiaries are accounted for as equity transactions. The carrying amounts of the NLC’s interests and the non-controlling interests are adjusted to reflect the changes in their relative interests in the subsidiaries. Any difference between the amount by which the non-controlling interests are adjusted and the fair value of the consideration paid or received is recognised directly in equity and attributed to owners of the NLC.

When the NLC loses control of a subsidiary, a gain or loss is recognised in profit or loss and is calculated as the difference between (i) the aggregate of the fair value of the consideration received and the fair value of any retained interest and (ii) the previous carrying amount of the assets (including goodwill), and liabilities of the subsidiary and any non-controlling interests. All amounts

previously recognised in other comprehensive income in relation to that subsidiary are accounted for as if the NLC had directly disposed of the related assets or liabilities of the subsidiary (i.e. reclassified to profit or loss or transferred to another category of equity as specified/permitted by applicable AASBs). The fair value of any investment retained in the former subsidiary at the date when control is lost is regarded as the fair value on initial recognition for subsequent accounting under AASB 9, when applicable, the cost on initial recognition of an investment in an associate or a joint venture.

Consolidation reflects 100% of the assets, liabilities, revenue, expenses and cash flows of the material subsidiaries controlled by the Group. Note 1.4 states other subsidiaries which are considered immaterial to the Group and hence not consolidated.

1.4 Critical accounting judgements and key sources of estimation uncertainty

In the application of the Group’s accounting policies, which are described in note 1.5, the directors are required to make judgements (other than those involving estimations) that have a significant impact on the amounts recognised and to make estimates and assumptions about the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. The estimates and associated assumptions are based on historical experience and other factors that are considered to be relevant. Actual results may differ from these estimates.

The estimates and underlying assumptions are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Revisions to accounting estimates are

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recognised in the period in which the estimate is revised if the revision affects only that period, or in the period of the revision and future periods if the revision affects both current and future periods.

Critical judgements in applying the Groups’ accounting policies

The following are the critical judgements, apart from those involving estimations (which are presented separately below), that the directors have made in the process of applying the Group’s accounting policies and that have the most significant effect on the amounts recognised in financial statements.

Control over North Australia Aboriginal Corporation

Note 11 describes that NAAC is a subsidiary of the NLC and that NLC has control over NAAC in accordance with AASB 10 Consolidated Financial Statements. NAAC was incorporated in 1991 under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006.

NAAC’s Rule Book (2018) only allows Director appointments from members of the NLC’s Executive Council. Whilst the NLC does not directly appoint the Directors of NAAC, it appoints its own Executive Council members who then become qualified to become members and directors of NAAC. The substance of the arrangement is that NLC has the right to effectively fill the entire board of NAAC, which indicates ‘power’ over NAAC for the purposes of AASB 10 Consolidated Financial Statements.

The NLC has made the assessment that NLC has ‘power’ over NAAC (arising from its right to effectively fill the entire board of NAAC using its Executive Council members). This assessment also considers

NLC’s ability to use its power over NAAC to affect the extent to which broader social policy objectives are achieved (‘returns’).

Control over Northern Aboriginal Investment Corporation Pty Ltd

Note 11 describes that Northern Aboriginal Investment Corporation Pty Ltd (NAIC) is a subsidiary of the NLC, and NLC has 75% of the ownership interest and voting rights of the company. The company is the corporate trustee of the Northern Australian Aboriginal Charitable Trust (NAACT), and acting as trustee is its sole function. The trustee company has no other assets or liabilities and has no operations other than in its capacity as trustee.

The NLC holds 75% ownership of NAIC and the company which holds the remaining 25% shareholding was deregistered in 2002 and has no control on NAIC. The NAIC is in the process of cancelling the 25% shareholding and NLC will effectively hold 100% of the shares in NAIC, therefore in preparing this financial statements, NLC has taken a view to consolidate 100% of NAIC. Given NLC’s control of NAIC, it has been historic practice to appoint members of the NLC Executive Council to be Directors of NAIC. 7 out of 9 current NAIC Directors are from NLC’s Executive Council. The Executive Council members are on the Board of NAIC only by virtue of their role in the Executive Council. Additionally, NAIC was established by the NLC in 1987.

The NLC has made the assessment that NLC has ‘power’ over NAIC. This assessment also considers NLC’s ability to use its power over NAIC to affect the extent to which broader social policy objectives are achieved (‘returns’).

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Control over Northern Australian Aboriginal Charitable Trust (NAACT)

Note 11 describes that Northern Australian Aboriginal Charitable Trust (NAACT) is a subsidiary of the Group, by virtue of its trustee, NAIC, being controlled by NLC. Under the Deed of Settlement of Trust, NAIC has full powers to manage the activities of NAACT at its discretion. Accordingly, NAIC does have ‘power’ over the NAACT.

The NLC has made the assessment that NLC has ‘power’ over NAACT (arising from its control over the trustee). This assessment also considers NLC’s ability to use its power over NAACT to affect the extent to which broader social policy objectives are achieved (‘returns’).

NAACT also holds shares in the following companies that have not been considered separately as subsidiaries as they are immaterial to the Group, and hence are not consolidated as part of the Group:

• Wirib Tourism Park Pty Ltd (90% shares and voting rights)

• Northern Australia Aboriginal Development Corporation Pty Ltd (100% shares and voting rights)

• Create Housing and Construction Pty Ltd (100% shares and voting rights)

• Aboriginal Solar Rollout Pty Ltd (100% shares and voting rights)

Northern Australian Aboriginal Charitable Trust (NAACT) Qualification Disclosure

Northern Australian Aboriginal Charitable Trust (NAACT) was first established as a charitable trust on 13 May 1988 with a vesting date of 13 May 2009, despite the fact that at law, a charitable trust need not have a vesting date. Subsequently, a new deed of settlement was entered into on 7 March 2018 to re-establish the trust. This action formalised that the trust property would continue to be used charitably for the Aboriginal people of Northern Australia (for whose benefit the original trust was established).

Following the 2014-15 audit of NAACT, Merit Partners, the auditors, qualified the NAACT financial report for the years ended 30 June 2015, 30 June 2017 and 30 June 2018 as a result of the vesting on 13 May 2009. That qualification applies for the current financial year, 30 June 2019 which was signed on 31 October 2019, on the basis that in the opinion of Merit Partners, the legal status of the transactions that occurred in the period between 13 May 2009 and 7 March 2018 could not be determined.

The NLC has obtained a written opinion from Sturt Glacken SC on 20 November 2019 that the original 1988 trust did not vest or cease to exist in 2009 - such that it had to be re-established in 2018. In fact the original 1988 trust continued to exist right up to 2018 when, pursuant to power in the original trust deed, the trust property was transferred into a new trust which is on similar terms. Hence, the transactions entered into by the trustee during the period 13 May 2009 and 7 March 2018 are legally binding.

Based on the legal opinion received by the NLC, the NLC’s assessment is that the qualification on NAACT’s financial statements has no impact on the NLC’s consolidated financial statements.

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1.5 Significant Accounting Judgements and Estimates

The Group has made the following judgements and estimates that has the most significant impact on the amounts recorded in the financial statements:

• Impairment loss allowance of $144,989 has been recorded for doubtful debts in the current year.

No other 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.

Refer to Note 7A Accounting Policy for the critical accounting judgements in relation to prior year changes in useful lives for property plant and equipment for the NLC.

1.6 New Accounting Standards

New Accounting Standards and Interpretations not yet mandatory or early adopted

No accounting standard has been adopted earlier than the application date as stated in the standard.

All 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 on the Group’s financial statements.

1.7 Restatement of Prior Year Comparatives

The following entities’ financial information was consolidated for the first time in the 2019 financial reporting year, as each entity’s financial results are material to the Group:

• North Australia Aboriginal Corporation

• Northern Aboriginal Investment Corporation Pty Ltd

• Northern Australian Aboriginal Charitable Trust

Refer to Note 1.4 for the list of subsidiaries that are not consolidated as part of the Group’s financial statements as they are immaterial to the Group.

During the 2019 financial year, the NLC obtained independent accounting technical advice relating to the application of AASB 10 Consolidated Financial Statements to the subsidiaries listed in Note 1.4. The NLC adopted the advice to consolidate the subsidiaries and prepare consolidated financial statements in 2019. As the NLC held control as defined by Note 1.4 at 1 July 2017, (beginning of comparative period), the adoption of AASB 10 is applicable and subsequently the 2018 comparative figures have been restated under AASB 108 Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors. This restatement is due to an error. The following illustrates the change in the financial statements as a result of the restatement:

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL (SEPARATE FINANCIAL

STATEMENTS) 30 JUNE 2018

$’000

CONSOLIDATION ADJUSTMENTS

$’000

RESTATED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

30 JUNE 2018 ”AS PRESENTED”

$’000

STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME EXPENSES Employee benefits 24,581 375 24,956

Suppliers 19,437 (547) 18,890

Depreciation 3,006 296 3,302

Write- down and impairment of assets 193 (193) -

Loss on disposal of assets 5 10 15

Finance costs - 164 164

Impairment of property, plant and equipment - 81 81

Total Expenses 47,222 186 47,408

OWN-SOURCE INCOME Own-source revenue

Rendering of services 5,023 508 5,531

Interest 401 12 413

Total own-source revenue 5,424 520 5,944

Gains

Gain from sale of assets - - -

Reversal of write - downs and impairment 394 (199) 195

Total gains 394 (199) 195

Total own-source income 5,818 321 6,139

Net cost of services 41,404 (135) 41,269

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL (SEPARATE FINANCIAL

STATEMENTS) 30 JUNE 2018

$’000

CONSOLIDATION ADJUSTMENTS

$’000

RESTATED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

30 JUNE 2018 ”AS PRESENTED”

$’000

Revenue from Government - Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet (PM&C) 5,386 - 5,386

Revenue from Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) 23,433 503 23,936

Revenue from Government - Special Purpose Grant 12,761 27 12,788

Total revenue from Government 41,580 530 42,110

Surplus attributable to the Australian Government 176 665 841

Other Comprehensive Income

Items that will not be classified subsequently to profit and loss:

Gain on revaluation of land and buildings - 1,841 1,841

Total Other Comprehensive Income - 1,841 1,841

Total comprehensive income attributable to the Australian Government 176 2,506 2,682

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL (SEPARATE FINANCIAL

STATEMENTS) 30 JUNE 2018

$’000

CONSOLIDATION ADJUSTMENTS

$’000

RESTATED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

30 JUNE 2018 “AS PRESENTED”

$’000

STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION ASSETS Financial Assets

Cash and cash equivalents 23,758 1,428 25,186

Trade and other receivables 1,090 38 1,128

Total financial assets 24,848 1,466 26,314

Non-Financial Assets

Land and buildings 5,893 17,844 23,737

Property, plant and equipment 2,618 217 2,835

Other non-financial assets 426 102 528

Investment property - 1,749 1,749

Total non-financial assets 8,937 19,912 28,849

Total Assets 33,785 21,378 55,163

LIABILITIES Payables

Suppliers 1,374 176 1,550

Other payables 864 69 933

Total payables 2,238 245 2,483

Interest bearing liabilities

Loans - 2,959 2,959

Total interest bearing liabilities - 2,959 2,959

Unearned revenue

Advance Payments 16,525 132 16,657

Total unearned revenue 16,525 132 16,657

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL (SEPARATE FINANCIAL

STATEMENTS) 30 JUNE 2018

$’000

CONSOLIDATION ADJUSTMENTS

$’000

RESTATED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

30 JUNE 2018 “AS PRESENTED”

$’000

Provisions

Employee provisions 3,676 30 3,706

Total provisions 3,676 30 3,706

Total Liabilities 22,439 3,366 25,805

Net Assets 11,346 18,012 29,358

EQUITY Asset revaluation reserves 3,028 4,926 7,954

Retained surplus 8,318 13,086 21,404

Total Equity 11,346 18,012 29,358

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL (SEPARATE FINANCIAL

STATEMENTS) 30 JUNE 2018

$’000

CONSOLIDATION ADJUSTMENTS

$’000

RESTATED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

30 JUNE 2018 ”AS PRESENTED”

$’000

STATEMENT OF CHANGES IN EQUITY RETAINED EARNINGS Opening balance

Balance carried forward from previous period 8,142 12,421 20,563

Adjusted opening balance 8,142 12,421 20,563

Comprehensive Income

Other comprehensive income - - -

Surplus for the period 176 665 841

Total Comprehensive Income 176 665 841

Closing balance as at 30 June attributable to Australian Government 8,318 13,086 21,404

ASSET REVALUATION RESERVE Opening balance

Balance carried forward from previous period 3,028 3,085 6,113

Adjusted opening balance 3,028 3,085 6,113

Comprehensive Income

Other comprehensive income - 1,841 1,841

Surplus for the period - - -

Total Comprehensive Income - 1,841 1,841

Closing balance as at 30 June attributable to Australian Government 3,028 4,926 7,954

TOTAL EQUITY Opening balance

Balance carried forward from previous period 11,170 15,506 26,676

Adjusted opening balance 11,170 15,506 26,676

Comprehensive Income

Other comprehensive income - 1,841 1,841

Surplus for the period 176 665 841

Total Comprehensive Income 176 2,506 2,682

Closing balance as at 30 June attributable to Australian Government 11,346 18,012 29,358

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL (SEPARATE FINANCIAL

STATEMENTS) 30 JUNE 2018

$’000

CONSOLIDATION ADJUSTMENTS

$’000

RESTATED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

30 JUNE 2018 ”AS PRESENTED”

$’000

CASH FLOW STATEMENT OPERATING ACTIVITIES Cash received

Rendering of services 6,031 891 6,922

Receipts from Government 43,001 531 43,532

Net GST received - - -

Interest 401 12 413

Total cash received 49,433 1,434 50,867

Cash used

Employees (24,146) (350) (24,496)

Suppliers (14,100) 170 (13,930)

Net GST paid (1,370) - (1,370)

Borrowing costs paid - (163) (163)

Total cash used (39,616) (343) (39,959)

Net cash from operating activities 9,817 1,091 10,908

INVESTING ACTIVITIES Cash received

Proceeds from sales of property, plant and equipment 16 330 346

Total cash received 16 330 346

Cash used

Purchase of property, plant and equipment (2,624) (108) (2,732)

Purchase of investment property - (857) (857)

Total cash used (2,624) (965) (3,589)

Net cash used by investing activities (2,608) (635) (3,243)

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL (SEPARATE FINANCIAL

STATEMENTS) 30 JUNE 2018

$’000

CONSOLIDATION ADJUSTMENTS

$’000

RESTATED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

30 JUNE 2018 ”AS PRESENTED”

$’000

FINANCING ACTIVITIES Cash received

Advances from borrowings - 869 869

Total cash received - 869 869

Cash used

Repayment of borrowings - (300) (300)

Total cash used - (300) (300)

Net cash (used by) / from financing activities - 569 569

Net increase in cash held 7,209 1,025 8,234

Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the reporting period 16,549 403 16,952

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the reporting period 23,758 1,428 25,186

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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 Group.

Note 3: Expenses

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

Note 3A: Employee Benefits Wages and salaries 24,550 21,489

Superannuation

Defined contribution plans 2,798 2,476

Leave and other entitlements 1,077 991

Total employee benefits 28,425 24,956

Accounting Policy

Accounting policies for employee related expenses is contained in note 10.

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2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

Note 3B: Suppliers Goods and services supplied or rendered

Consultants 4,761 4,022

Stationery 588 622

Travel 3,685 2,937

Vehicle Expenses 1,664 1,600

Office Accommodation 1,232 1,098

IT/Communications 2,924 2,109

Meeting Costs 1,248 807

Financial and Legal Services 1,329 1,074

Payment to Grant Partners 3,560 1,557

Other 2,410 2,301

Total goods and services supplied or rendered 23,401 18,127

Other suppliers

Operating lease rentals

Minimum lease payments 575 518

Workers compensation expenses 197 245

Total other suppliers 772 763

Total suppliers 24,173 18,890

Leasing Commitments

Operating Lease Commitments

Within 1 year 483 321

Between 1 to 5 years 880 773

More than 5 years 22 49

Total operating lease commitments 1,385 1,143

Accounting Policy

The nature of operating leases relates to the leases for office accommodation and office equipment.

Lease payments are subject to annual increases in accordance with upwards movements in the Consumer Price Index. On expiry leases may be renewed for up to ten years at the Group’s option, following a once-off adjustment of rentals to current market levels.

Operating lease payments are expensed on a straight-line basis which is representative of the pattern of benefits derived from the leased assets.

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2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

Note 3C: Depreciation Depreciation:

Property, plant and equipment 1,371 2,754

Buildings and leasehold 1,027 548

Total depreciation 2,398 3,302

Note 3D: Loss on disposal of Assets Proceeds from sale - (356)

Carrying value of assets disposed - 371

Total loss from assets sales - 15

Note 3E: Finance costs Interest on borrowings 122 162

Account fees and charges 3 2

Total finance costs 125 164

Note 3F: Impairment of property, plant and equipment Impairment of property, plant and equipment - 81

Total impairment of property, plant and equipment - 81

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Note 4: Own-Source Income

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

OWN-SOURCE REVENUE Note 4A: Rendering of Services Rendering of services in connection with

Related entities 300 601

External parties 4,069 4,930

Total rendering of services 4,369 5,531

Accounting Policy

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) the amount of revenue, stage of completion and transaction costs incurred can be reliably measured; and

b) the probable economic benefits with the transaction will flow to the Group.

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.

Rental income from operating leases is recognised on a straight-line basis over the term of the relevant lease. Initial direct costs incurred in negotiating and arranging an operating lease are added to the carrying amount of the leased asset and recognised on a straight-line basis over the lease term.

Note 4B: Interest Deposits 560 413

Total interest 560 413

Accounting Policy

Interest revenue is recognised using the effective interest method as set out in AASB 9 Financial Instruments.

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2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

GAINS Note 4C: Gains from Sale of Assets Property, plant and equipment

Proceeds from sale 237 -

Carrying value of assets sold (118) -

Total gain from sale of assets 119 -

Accounting Policy

Gains from disposal of assets are recognised when control of the asset has passed to the buyer.

Note 4D: Reversal of write - downs and impairment Reversal of impairment losses 599 394

Less: Loss allowances for trade receivables (62) (199)

Net reversal of impairment losses 537 195

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2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

REVENUE FROM GOVERNMENT Note 4E: Revenue from Government - Department of the Prime Minister & Cabinet (PM&C)

Native Title Program 5,840 5,060

Others 216 326

Total revenue - PM&C 6,056 5,386

Note 4F: Revenue from Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) PM&C - Revenue from ABA s64 (1) 31,264 23,433

PM&C - Revenue from ABA s64 (4) - 503

Total revenue - ABA 31,264 23,936

Note 4G: Revenue from Government-Special Purpose Grants Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet 11,283 8,246

Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation 1,257 1,016

Department of Defence 173 318

Department of Environment & Energy (Natural Heritage Trust) - 1,125

Department of Primary Industries & Resources (Northern Territory Government [NTG]) - 120

Department of Environment & Natural Resources (NTG) 1,390 1,121

Department of Agriculture & Water Resources (NTG) 693 76

Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (NT) Limited - 173

Parks & Wildlife Commission (NTG) 249 232

Territory Natural Resource Management (NTG) - 94

Central Land Council - 150

Others 10 117

Total revenue - Special Purpose Grants 15,055 12,788

Accounting Policy

Funding received or receivable from Government is recognised as Revenue from Government when the Group 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.

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Note 5: Income tax expense The Northern Land Council (NLC) has been approved as a Public Benevolent Institution. The services of the Council are provided on a ‘not-for-profit’ basis. Therefore, the NLC is not subject to the Australian Government’s Competitive Neutrality policy.

Accounting Policy

Taxation

The NLC 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 the amount of the GST except:

a) where the amount of GST incurred is not recoverable from the Australian Taxation Office; and

b) for receivables and payables which are recognised inclusive of GST.

The net amount of GST recoverable from, or payable to, the taxation authority is included as part of receivables or payables.

Cash flows are included in the statement of cash flows on a gross basis. The GST component of cash flows arising from investing and financing activities which is recoverable from, or payable to, the taxation authority is classified as operating cash flows.

Northern Land Council

The NLC does not provide services on a for-profit basis. Therefore, the NLC is not required to make Australian Income Tax Equivalent payments to the Government.

Subsidiaries

North Australia Aboriginal Corporation (NAAC) is exempt from tax under the provisions of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 Subdivision 50-B. This situation will continue so long as the funds of the Corporation are being applied for the purpose for which it was established.

Northern Australian Aboriginal Charitable Trust (NAACT) is exempt from tax under the provisions of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 Subdivision 50-B. This situation will continue so long as the funds of the trust are being applied for the purpose for which it was established.

Northern Aboriginal Investment Corporation Pty Ltd (NAIC) was incorporated in Australia in 1987 and is the corporate trustee for the Northern Australian Aboriginal Charitable Trust (NAACT). The trustee company has no other assets or liabilities and has no operations other than in its capacity as trustee. Therefore, this entity is not subject to income tax.

Other subsidiaries that have not been consolidated as part of the Group are not exempt from taxation under the provision of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997.

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Note 6: Financial Assets

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

Note 6A: Cash and cash equivalents Cash on hand or on deposit 28,143 25,186

Total cash and cash equivalents 28,143 25,186

Accounting policy Cash is recognised at its nominal amount. Cash and cash equivalents include:

a) cash on hand

b) demand 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.

The closing balance of cash does not include amounts held in trust. Refer note 21 ”Royalty Assets Held in Trust” for further information.

Note 6B: Trade and other receivables Goods and Services receivables 1,864 1,089

Total goods and services receivable 1,864 1,089

Grant receivables

External parties 55 661

Related parties 225 61

Total grant receivables 280 722

Total trade receivables 2,144 1,811

Less impairment loss allowance

Grants receivable (40) (40)

Goods and services (105) (643)

Total impairment loss allowance (145) (683)

Total trade and other receivables (Net) 1,999 1,128

Credit terms for goods and services were within 30 days ( 2018 : 30 days).

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Accounting Policy

Financial Assets

Trade receivables and other receivables that are held for the purpose of collecting the contractual cash flows where the cash flows are solely payments of principal and interest, that are not provided at below market interest rates, are subsequently measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method adjusted for any loss allowance.

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

Note 6 C: Lease commitment receivables Operating leases relate to the investment properties owned by the Group with lease terms of between 1 to 5 years.

The future minimum lease payments under non-cancelling operating lease are as follows:

No later than one year 372 403

Later than one year and not later than five years 32 337

Total lease commitment receivables 404 740

The lease commitments represent the non-cancellable portion of current leases of the Group’s properties, and amounts are inclusive of GST. There were no contingent rents recognised as income in the period.

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Note 7: Non-Financial Assets Note 7A: Reconciliation of the Opening and Closing Balances of Land, Buildings, Leasehold Improvements and Property, Plant and Equipment

Reconciliation of the opening and closing balance of Land, Buildings, Leasehold Improvements and Property, Plant and Equipment for 2019:

LAND BUILDINGS LEASEHOLD IMPROVEMENTS PP & E TOTAL

$’000 $’000 $’000 $’000 $’000

Balance as at 1 July 2018

Gross book value 4,340 16,362 3,584 5,589 29,875

Accumulated depreciation - (233) (316) (2,754) (3,303)

Total as at 1 July 2018 - as restated* 4,340 16,129 3,268 2,835 26,572

Additions by purchase 405 208 936 2,970 4,519

Revaluation decrements recognised in other comprehensive income - (1,825) - - (1,825)

Depreciation - (205) (822) (1,371) (2,398)

Disposals - other - - - (118) (118)

Total as at 30 June 2019 4,745 14,307 3,382 4,316 26,750

Total as at 30 June 2019 represented by:

Gross book value 4,745 14,745 4,520 8,441 32,451

Accumulated depreciation - (438) (1,138) (4,125) (5,701)

Total as at 30 June 2019 4,745 14,307 3,382 4,316 26,750

* 45 Mitchell Street, 5/ 29 Katherine Terrace and 28 Scheelite Crescent properties are rented to Northern Land Council (NLC) from North Australia Aboriginal Corporation, within the consolidated Group. In the separate financial statements of the subsidiaries, these assets are classed as Investment Property and as a result are reclassified to Buildings at the consolidated group level. All rental income and outgoings on-charged are eliminated on consolidation.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Revaluations of non-financial assets

All revaluations are conducted in accordance with the revaluation policy stated in accounting policy below. On 30 June 2017, an independent valuer conducted the valuations of NLC’s assets. In 2018 an independent valuation of the property at 45 Mitchell Street, Darwin was conducted by Integrated Valuation Services resulting in a value of $9,800,000 (2017 NBV: $9,555,978). The lease for the building was renegotiated and signed in September 2019 reducing the annual rental amount by 21.5%. A director’s valuation was performed using the net income approach similar to the one performed by the independent valuer resulting in an impairment of the value of the property by $1,824,986. 32 Dripstone Street was valued by Integrated Valuation Services prior to 30 June 2018 at $5,000,000 (2017 valuation net book value: $3,403,125).

The directors of the Group determined the value of their properties at Katherine and Scheelite Cres Tennant Creek, using objective evidence from independent valuations performed in June 2016 and an internal capitalisation of net income approach. The directors have determined that there has been no significant change in value.

No indicators of impairment were found for Land, Buildings, Leasehold improvements and Property, Plant and Equipment at year end other than impairment of 45 Mitchell Street, Darwin property owned by North Australia Aboriginal Corporation (NAAC).

No Land, Buildings, Leasehold improvements and Property, Plant and Equipment are expected to be sold or disposed of within the next 12 months.

The contractual commitments for the purchase of the land, buildings, leasehold improvements and property, plant and equipment of the Group is $324,190 in 2019 (2018: $72,380), amounts are inclusive of GST.

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Accounting Policy

Acquisition 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 Group’s accounts immediately prior to the restructuring.

Asset Recognition Threshold

Purchases of land, buildings, leasehold improvements and 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 $1

Buildings $2,000 - $25,000

Leasehold Improvements $2,000 - $10,000

Furniture and Equipment $2,000 - $10,000

Information Technology (Hardware) $2,000 - $10,000

Information Technology (Software) $2,000 - $10,000

Motor Vehicles $2,000 - $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

Property Plant and Equipment Market selling price

Following initial recognition at cost, land, buildings, leasehold improvements and 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.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

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. An independent valuer conducted the valuations and has provided a comprehensive review and valuation of all stated assets on 30 June 2017 for financial reporting purposes on Northern Land Council (NLC) ‘s assets. An independent valuation of the property at 45 Mitchell Street and 32 Dripstone street properties were conducted by Integrated Valuation Services in the financial year ended 30 June 2018 for North Australia Aboriginal Corporation (NAAC). A Directors’ valuation was performed for 45 Mitchell Street property only on 30 June 2019.

Depreciation

Depreciable buildings, leasehold improvements and property, plant and equipment assets are written-off to their estimated residual values over their estimated useful lives to the Group 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:

2019 2018

Buildings on Freehold Land 40 years 40 years

Leasehold Improvements Lease term Lease term

Office Furniture and Equipment 3-5 years 3-5 years

Motor Vehicles 5-8 years 5-6.67 years

Plant and Equipment 2-10 years 2-10 years

Impairment

All assets were assessed for impairment at 30 June 2019. Where indications of impairment exist, the assets’ recoverable amount is estimated and an impairment adjustment made 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 Group were deprived of the asset, its value in use is taken to be its depreciated replacement cost.

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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.

Changes in Accounting Judgements and Estimates

In 2018, the NLC performed a review of the estimated useful lives of its fixed assets. This review indicated that the actual lives of certain assets were shorter than the estimated useful lives used for depreciation purposes. As a result, effective 1 July 2017, the NLC changed its estimates of the useful lives of its fixed assets to better reflect the estimated periods during which these assets will remain in service. The estimated useful lives of the motor vehicles that previously averaged up to ten years were reduced to 5 years. Similarly office furniture & equipment that previously averaged up to 5 years were reduced to 3 years. The effect of this change in estimate increased the 2018 depreciation expense by $1,988,794. It is impracticable to determine the effect of this change for future periods. Total gross carrying value of assets which are fully depreciated but still in use is $2,552,150 (2018 : $1,635,360).

Note 7B: Other Non-Financial assets

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

Deposits 15 107

Other 28 46

Prepayments 435 375

Total other non-financial assets 478 528

Other non-financial assets to be recovered

All other non-financial assets are expected to be recovered in no more than 12 months.

No indicators of impairment were found for other non-financial assets.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Note 7C: Investment property

$’000

Balance as at 1 July 2018 - as restated* 1,749

Additions -

Increase in fair value during the year -

Total as at 30 June 2019 1,749

Investment property

Investment properties comprise residential properties leased to third parties outside the Group. These properties are owned by North Australia Aboriginal Corporation (NAAC).

The Directors of the Group have determined that there has been no significant change in value from the date of construction. The construction of these investment properties was completed in 2018.

Accounting Policy

Investment property, principally comprising land, buildings and fixed plant and equipment, is held for long-term rental yields and is not occupied by the Group.

Investment properties are measured initially at cost, including transaction costs. The carrying amount includes the cost of replacing part of an existing investment property at the time that cost is incurred if the recognition criteria are met, and excludes the costs of the day-to-day servicing of an investment property. Subsequent to initial recognition, investment properties are measured at fair value, which reflects market conditions at the reporting date. Gains or losses arising from changes in the fair values of investment properties are recognised in profit or loss in the year in which they arise. Investment properties are revalued every three years or earlier if required.

Investment properties are derecognised either when they have been disposed of or when the investment property is permanently withdrawn from use and no future economic benefit is expected from its disposal. Any gains or losses on the retirement of an investment property are recognised in profit or loss in the year of retirement or disposal.

Transfers are made to investment property when, and only when, there is a change in use, evidenced by ending of owner-occupation or commencement of an operating lease to another party. Transfers are made from investment property when, and only when, there is a change in use, evidenced by commencement of owner-occupation or commencement of development with a view to sale.

For a transfer from investment property to owner-occupied property or inventories, the deemed cost of the property for subsequent accounting is its fair value at the date of change in use. If the property occupied by the Group as an owner-occupied property becomes an investment property, the Group accounts for such property in accordance with the policy stated under Property, Plant and Equipment (note 7A) up to the date of change in use. When the Group completes the construction or development of a self-constructed investment property, any difference between the fair value of the property at that date and its previous carrying amount is recognised in profit or loss.

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Note 8: Payables

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

Note 8A: Suppliers Trade creditors and accruals 2,569 1,550

Total suppliers 2,569 1,550

Suppliers expected to be settled

All suppliers are expected to be settled in no more than 12 months.

Settlement was usually made within 30 days.

Note 8B: Other Payables Salaries and wages 257 261

Superannuation 251 236

GST payable to the Australian Taxation Office 55 362

Other 88 74

Total other payables 651 933

Total other payables expected to be settled

All other payables are expected to be settled in no more than 12 months.

Note 8C: Borrowings Secured - at amortised cost

Bank loans 2,717 2,959

Total borrowings 2,717 2,959

In 2019, both National Bank of Australia (NAB) market and home loans have been re-negotiated and merged into one loan facility totalling $2,967,000 effective from 18 October 2018. The new NAB corporate market loan is secured by a registered mortgage over the property situated at 32 Dripstone, Darwin NT. Registered mortgage holdings under the previous loans (45 Mitchell Street, Darwin and 15,17 and 19 Bradshaw Crescent) have been released by the bank in the current financial year.

The length of the loan has been negotiated at 2 years which aligns the loan to the average lease terms on the security held. The loan will be re-negotiable upon expiry terms. The variable floating interest rate is set at the Bank Bill Swap Bid Rate (BBSY) plus the drawn margin of 1.75% per annum. The quarterly principal repayment of the renegotiated loan is $125,000.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Accounting Policy

Financial liabilities

Financial liabilities are classified as other financial liabilities.

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, to the net carrying amount on initial recognition.

Derecognition of financial liabilities

The Group derecognises financial liabilities when, and only when, the Group’s obligations are discharged, cancelled or they expire. The difference between the carrying amount of the financial liability derecognised and the consideration paid and payable is recognised in profit or loss.

Note 9: Unearned Revenue

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

Advance Payments 18,823 16,657

Total unearned revenue 18,823 16,657

Total Unearned Revenue expected to be settled

All unearned revenue is expected to be settled in no more than 12 months. Unearned revenue is made up of various special purpose grants and projects, which will be used as per grant agreements.

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Note 10: Employee provisions

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

Leave 3,987 3,706

Total employee provisions 3,987 3,706

Accounting policy

Employee 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. 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 Group’s employer superannuation contribution rates, to the extent that the leave is likely to be taken during service rather than paid out on termination.

Liabilities for employee benefits expected to be settled within twelve months of the end of reporting period are measured at their nominal amounts.

The Group used the shorthand method to calculate the long service leave lability.

Termination benefits

A liability for a termination benefit is recognised at the earlier of when the Group can no longer withdraw the offer of the termination benefit and when the Group recognises any related restructuring costs.

Defined contribution plans

Contributions to defined contribution superannuation plans are recognised as an expense when employees have rendered service entitling them to the contributions. The Northern Land Council Group staff can choose their own super fund with most members being with MLC Master Key Super. The Group makes employer-contributions to the employees’ defined benefit superannuation scheme, at rates determined by the enterprise agreement and Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993. The liability of superannuation, recognised as at 30 June represents outstanding contributions.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Note 11: Subsidiaries Details of the Group’s material subsidiaries at the end of the reporting period are as follows:

NAME OF SUBSIDIARY

PROPORTION OF OWNERSHIP AND VOTING POWER HELD BY THE GROUP

2019 2018

North Australia Aboriginal Corporation (i) 100% 100%

Northern Aboriginal Investment Corporation Pty Ltd (ii) 75% 75%

Northern Australian Aboriginal Charitable Trust (iii) 100% 100%

(i) The Northern Land Council (NLC) has the power to control the North Australia Aboriginal Corporation (NAAC) by virtue of having the right to appoint Executive Council members to the Board of NAAC.

(ii) Northern Aboriginal Investment Corporation Pty Ltd (NAIC) was incorporated in Australia in 1987 and is the corporate trustee for the Northern Australian Aboriginal Charitable Trust (NAACT). The trustee company has no other assets or liabilities and has no operations other than in its capacity as trustee. The NLC holds 75% of the 100 ordinary shares of $1 each of NAIC. The company which holds the remaining 25% shareholding was deregistered in 2002. The NAIC is in the process of cancelling the 25% shareholding and NLC will effectively hold 100% of the shares in NAIC.

(iii) Per (ii) above, NLC effectively fully controls and holds 100% of the voting rights of NAIC and therefore the ownership and voting power held by the Group in NAACT is 100%.

Refer to note 1.4 for the list of subsidiaries that are not consolidated as part of the Group’s financial statements as they are immaterial to the Group.

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Note 12: Parent Entity Information The accounting policies of the parent entity, which have been applied in determining the financial information shown below, are the same as those applied in the consolidated financial statements except as set out below. Refer to note 1 for a summary of the significant accounting policies relating to the Group.

Investments in subsidiaries

Investments in subsidiaries are accounted for at cost.

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

Financial position Assets

Financial assets 28,723 24,848

Non-financial assets 10,833 8,937

Total assets 39,556 33,785

Liabilities

Payables 2,918 2,238

Unearned revenue 18,671 16,525

Provisions 3,933 3,676

Total liabilities 25,522 22,439

Net assets 14,034 11,346

Equity

Asset revaluation reserve and retained surplus 14,034 11,346

Total equity 14,034 11,346

Financial performance Surplus for the year 2,688 176

Other comprehensive income - -

Total comprehensive income 2,688 176

Contingent assets and liabilities of the parent entity Contingent liabilities 30 34

Total contingent liabilities 30 34

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Commitments for the acquisition of land, buildings, leasehold improvements and property, plant and equipment by the parent entity

The contractual commitments for the purchase of the land, buildings, leasehold improvements and property, plant and equipment of the parent entity is $ 288,000 in 2019 (2018: Nil), amounts are inclusive of GST.

The operating lease commitments of the parent entity is $ 1,748,000 in 2019 (2018: $ 1,621,000), amounts are inclusive of GST.

Note 13: Contingent Liabilities

CLAIMS FOR DAMAGES OR COSTS

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

Contingent Liabilities

Balance from previous period 34 600

New contingent liabilities recognised - 32

Obligations expired (4) (598)

Total contingent liabilities 30 34

Quantifiable Contingencies

The above table contains $30,000 of contingent liabilities disclosed in respect to claims for damages/costs (2018: $34,000). The amount represents an estimate of the Group’s liability based on precedent cases. The Northern Land Council (NLC) is defending the claims.

The nature of decisions of the NLC mean that at times the decisions are subject to dispute and judicial review. Specific information about legal matters is not disclosed where the information would be prejudicial to the NLC.

Estimates of potential financial effect of contingent liabilities that may become payable

In the year ended 30 June 2018, Northern Aboriginal Investment Corporation Pty Ltd (NAIC) was named defendant in a court case. The Directors were confident that the claim would be successfully defended. This case was settled during the financial year 2018-19 and no contingent liability exists as at 30 June 2019.

Accounting policy

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.

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Note 14: Related Party Disclosures The Northern Land Council (NLC) Group is an independent statutory authority of the Commonwealth of Australia, under the Minister for Indigenous Australians (the Portfolio Minister). The NLC Group’s supreme body is the Full Council, made up of 83 members - 78 members plus 5 co-opted women positions, elected once every three years from across 7 NLC regions, with the next election schedule to be held in December 2019.

The Portfolio Minister, approves the method of choosing members of the NLC. Section 29 of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, states that an Aboriginal person who is a traditional owner or a resident living within the NLC region may nominate for membership of the NLC Group.

The Chair and the Deputy Chair are elected at the first meeting of the Full Council, along with one member nominated from each of the NLC’s 7 regions as Executive Council members. The Chair and the Deputy Chair comprise the NLC Group’s nine-member Executive Council. Being a member of the Group Executive Council is a pre-requisite to serve on the Boards of all of NLC’s subsidiaries.

The related parties to this Group are Key Management Personnel of the Group.

The NLC Group Council Executive Members, elected in November 2016, are as follows:

NLC (EXECUTIVE COUNCIL) NAAC, NAIC & NAACT*

NAME POSITION TERM POSITION TERM

Samuel Bush-Blanasi Chairperson Full Year Director Full Year

John Christophersen Deputy Chairperson Full Year Director Full Year

Richard Dixon Executive Member Full Year

Raymond Hector Executive Member Full Year Director Full Year

Ronald Lami Lami Executive Member Full Year Director Full Year

Peter Lansen Executive Member Full Year Director Full Year

Helen Lee Executive Member Full Year Director Full Year

Elizabeth Sullivan Executive Member Full Year Director Full Year

Bobby Wunungmurra Executive Member

Part Year - 01 July 2018 to 22 February 2019

Djawa Yunupingu Executive Member

Part Year - 22 February 2019 to 30 June 2019

* North Australia Aboriginal Corporation (NAAC), Northern Aboriginal Investment Corporation Pty Ltd (NAIC) and Northern Australian Aboriginal Charitable Trust (NAACT)

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The NLC Group Chief Executives, who held office over the 2018/19 financial year, were as follows:

NAME NLC GROUP TERM

Joseph Morrison NLC Part Year - 01 July 2018 to 30 November 2018

John Ah Kit NLC Part Year - 04 February 2019 to 24 May 2019

Marion Scrymgour NLC Part Year - 12 April 2019 to 30 June 2019

Rick Fletcher NLC Part Year - 1 December 2018 to 31 January 2019

Steve Smith NAAC, NAIC & NAACT Full Year

Balances and transactions between the Group have been eliminated on consolidation and are not disclosed in this note. Transactions between the Group and its subsidiaries, which are not being consolidated are disclosed below.

Trading transactions

During the year, the Group entered into the following transactions with subsidiaries that are not consolidated as part of the Group :

SALES OF SERVICES

PURCHASE OF GOODS AND SERVICES

RELATED PARTY

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

Create Housing and Constructions Pty Ltd - 20 - 9

Total - 20 - 9

The following amounts were outstanding at the reporting date:

AMOUNTS OWED BY RELATED PARTIES

AMOUNTS OWED TO RELATED PARTIES

RELATED PARTY

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

Create Housing and Constructions Pty Ltd 358 20 - -

Wirib Tourism Park Pty Ltd - - - 6

Total 358 20 - 6

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2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

Loans to related parties

Loans to other related parties:

Director loans 3 2

Total loans to related parties 3 2

The loan relates to recovery of expense payments to Directors of the subsidiaries.

There were no other transactions with Directors or any other entities controlled by common Directors.

In 2017 the Northern Land Council (NLC) and Central Land Council (CLC) had developed a joint economic development framework which includes, as a cornerstone, the establishment of the Aboriginal Land and Sea Economic Development Agency (ALSEDA). It is intended that ALSEDA provides funds to establish enterprises/businesses on Aboriginal land and coordinate the stakeholders required to ensure their success. Over the last three financial years the Northern Territory Government invested $1.097 million in the establishment of ALSEDA.

In November 2018, an Agreement to the value of $900,000 (excluding GST) was signed by Joseph Morrison, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the NLC, between NLC and Centrefarm Aboriginal Horticulture Ltd (Centrefarm). The Agreement was in relation to a Special Purpose Funding, provided by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), in respect of the ALSEDA Project. At the time the agreement was signed Joseph Morrison was one of two Centrefarm Directors. Of the $900,000 only $50,000 was paid to Centrefarm while Mr Morrison was the CEO.

Centrefarm, established by the CLC in 2002, is a not-for-profit Aboriginal company limited by guarantee and has members, not shareholders. Those members are the Aboriginal traditional owners that it works for, to engender economic development on Aboriginal land, Aboriginal land-trust properties, other properties and areas owned or part-owned by Aboriginal interests.

In October 2019, the new CEO of NLC, Marion Scrymgour, reviewed the agreement and signed a variation to the November 2018 Agreement to include the following:

i. increase the contract value to $1,059,000 (excluding GST) to match the funds received from the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet (PM&C)

ii. adjust the completion date for this project from 20 November 2020 to 31 March 2020; and

iii. the submisison of a completion-report, along with an acquittal.

As at 29 November 2019, $1,059,000 (excluding GST) has been paid in relation to this Agreement.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Note 15: Key Management Personnel Remuneration Key management personnel (KMP) are those persons having authority and responsibility for planning, directing and controlling the activities of the Group, directly or indirectly, including any of the directors of the Group.

In 2018, the Northern Land Council (NLC) determined the KMP to be the Executive Council members and Leadership Group, which consisted of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Branch Managers. In 2019, NLC Management has re-assessed their position regarding KMP, and determined that the NLC Executive Council members and the CEOs of the Group were to be classified as KMP. NLC considers that only the NLC Executive Council members and the CEOs of the Group, will have the final decision-making authority in respect of all operational activities performed by the group.

The remuneration of the directors, who are the KMP of the Group, is set out below in aggregate for each of the categories specified in AASB 124 Related Party Disclosure:

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

Short-term employee benefits:

Salary 900 2,356

Performance bonus - 10

Other benefits and allowance 52 193

Total short-term employee benefits 952 2,559

Post-employment benefits:

Superannuation 106 294

Total post-employment benefits 106 294

Other long-term employee benefits:

Long-service leave 8 46

Other long term benefits - -

Total other long-term employee benefits 8 46

Termination benefits

Termination payout 365 -

Total termination benefits 365 -

Total key management personnel remuneration expenses 1,431 2,899

The total number of key management personnel that are included in the above table are 15 (2018: 20#).

# 2018 KMP disclosure includes the Chief Executive Officer of the subsidiaries.

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Note 16: Remuneration of Auditors

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

Remuneration to auditors for the reporting period are as follows:

Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) - Statutory audit 169 71

HLB Mann Judd - Grant Audits 12 10

Merit Partners - Subsidiary audits 14 17

KPMG - Subsidiary audits - 3

Total remuneration to auditors 195 101

The audit fees above report the costs associated with auditing each financial year.

No other services were provided by the ANAO, HLB Mann Judd, Merit Partners and KPMG.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Note 17: Financial Instruments

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

17A Categories of financial instruments Financial Assets under AASB 139

Loans and receivables

Cash and Cash Equivalents 25,186

Trade and Other Receivables 1,128

Total loan and receivables 26,314

Total financial assets 26,314

Financial Assets under AASB 9

Financial assets at amortised cost

Cash and Cash Equivalents 28,143

Trade and Other Receivables 1,999

Total financial assets at amortised cost 30,142

Total financial assets 30,142

Financial Liabilities

Financial liabilities measured at amortised cost

Suppliers 2,569 1,550

Other payables 88 74

Borrowings 2,717 2,959

Total financial liabilities at amortised cost 5,374 4,583

Total financial liabilities 5,374 4,583

17B Net gain or losses on financial assets Loans and receivables (AASB 139)

Interest revenue 413

Net gain/(losses) on loans and receivables 413

Financial assets at amortised cost (AASB 9)

Interest revenue 560

Net gain/(losses) on loans and receivables at amortised cost 560

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17C 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.

Classification of financial assets on the date of initial application of AASB 9

FINANCIAL ASSETS CLASS NOTE

AASB 139 ORIGINAL CLASSIFICATION AASB 9 NEW

CLASSIFICATION

AASB 139 CARRYING AMOUNT AT 1JULY 2018

$’000

AASB 9 CARRYING AMOUNT AT 1JULY 2018

$’000

Cash and cash equivalents 6A

Loans and receivables Amortised cost 25,186 25,186

Trade receivables 6B

Loans and receivables Amortised cost 1,128 1,128

Total financial assets 26,314 26,314

There was no change in the carrying amounts as no transition adjustment was required.

Accounting Policy

Financial assets

With the implementation of AASB 9 Financial Instruments for the first time in the 2019 financial year, the Group classifies its financial assets at amortised cost.

The classification depends on both the Group’s business model for managing the financial assets and contractual cash flow characteristics at the time of initial recognition. Financial assets are recognised when the entity becomes a party to the contract and, as a consequence, has a legal right to receive or a legal obligation to pay cash and derecognised when the contractual rights to the cash flows from the financial asset expire or are transferred upon trade date. Comparatives have not been restated on initial application.

Financial Assets at Amortised Cost

Financial assets included in this category need to meet two criteria:

1. the financial asset is held in order to collect the contractual cash flows; and

2. the cash flows are solely payments of principal and interest (SPPI) on the principal outstanding amount.

Amortised cost is determined using the effective interest method.

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

Effective Interest Method

Income is recognised on an effective interest rate basis for financial assets that are recognised at amortised cost.

Impairment of Financial Assets

Financial assets are assessed for impairment at the end of each reporting period based on Expected Credit Losses, using the simplified approach which measures the loss allowance based on an amount equal to lifetime expected credit losses where risk has significantly increased, or an amount equal to 12-month expected credit losses if risk has not increased.

The simplified approach for trade, contract and lease receivables is used. This approach always measures the loss allowance as the amount equal to the lifetime expected credit losses. A write-off constitutes a derecognition event where the write-off directly reduces the gross carrying amount of the financial asset.

Transition

Changes in accounting policies resulting from the adoption of AASB 9 have been applied from 1 July 2018. The Group has used an exemption not to restate comparative information for prior periods with respect to classification and measurement (including impairment) requirements. Differences in carrying amounts of financial assets and financial liabilities resulting from the adoption of AASB 9 are recognised in retained surplus as at 1 July 2018.

Accordingly, the information presented for 2018 does not generally reflect the requirements of AASB 9, but rather those of AASB 139.

On transition the Group has not identified any impact and therefore no adjustment was recognised in retained surplus.

Financial liabilities

Financial liabilities are classified as other financial liabilities. Financial liabilities are recognised and derecognised upon ‘trade date’.

Financial Liabilities at Amortised Cost

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 interest basis.

Suppliers 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).

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Note 18 : Aggregate assets and liabilities

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

(RESTATED)*

Assets expected to be recovered in:

No more than 12 months 30,579 26,759

More than 12 months 28,540 28,404

Total assets 59,119 55,163

Liabilities expected to be settled in:

No more than 12 months 25,418 22,306

More than 12 months 3,329 3,499

Total liabilities 28,747 25,805

Note 19: ABA - Capital Works/Infrastructure The Caring for Country Branch of the Northern Land Council (NLC), manages various infrastructure projects involving ranger groups from across the NLC regions, in order to address some of their long term ranger program capacity needs and also ensure that NLC fulfils its Workplace Health and Safety obligations. The funding for this work is in part sourced from the Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA). This note relates to NLC only.

2018 $’000

2019 $’000

TOTAL $’000

INCOME Grant Income 1,823 - 1,823

Grant Income 1,823 - 1,823

EXPENDITURE Travel Related Expenses 6 4 10

Consultants 93 93 186

Meeting Costs - 2 2

Building/Capital Works 466 617 1,083

Total Expenditure 565 716 1,281

Surplus/(Deficit) 1,258 (716) 542

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Note 20: Native Title The Northern Land Council (NLC) is a Native Title Representative Body (NTRB) under the Native Title Act 1993. Since being recognised as an NTRB, the NLC has performed the functions of the NTRB in association with other NLC functions.

In the 2017-18 financial year, Native Title income and expenditure was audited and reported separately. As from the 2018-19 financial year, as per the new agreement, between the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and NLC, a set of comprehensive financial statements is not required to acquit NLC’s NTRB program funding, and the note disclosure in the NLC’s financial statements was considered appropriate.

This note relates to NLC only.

2019

APPROVED BUDGET

$’000

2019

ACTUAL

$’000

2019

ACTUAL VS. BUDGET

$’000 %

INCOME Income 2017/2018 brought forward 993 993 - 100%

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet funding - Operational 6,785 6,785 - 100%

Prescribed Bodies Corporate support funding 500 500 - 100%

Other Income 10 23 13 234%

Interest Income 38 46 8 120%

Total income 8,326 8,347 21 100%

EXPENDITURE Capital

Vehicles 65 59 (6) 91%

Operational

Salaries

Corporate Staff (eg. Accounting admin,) 224 210 (14) 94%

Project staff (eg. Legal, anthropologists, field) 3,023 2,662 (361) 88%

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2019

APPROVED BUDGET

$’000

2019

ACTUAL

$’000

2019

ACTUAL VS. BUDGET

$’000 %

Services

Accommodation 184 184 - 100%

Motor vehicles - corporate 143 126 (17) 89%

Repair and maintenance - equipment 10 10 - 100%

Repair and maintenance - buildings 10 10 - 100%

Bank charges 3 3 - 100%

Audit fees 13 - (13) 0%

Consultants - attributable 1,830 1,580 (250) 86%

Communications, telephones, fax and Information Technology 147 149 2 102%

Insurance 73 73 - 101%

Energy & Water 34 34 - 100%

Training and development

Governing committee

Staff 62 22 (40) 36%

Meeting expenses

Claimants 64 99 35 154%

Travel and allowances

Claimants 66 177 111 267%

Staff travel - corporate 40 50 10 126%

Staff travel - attributable 192 185 (7) 97%

Supplies and consumables

Office supplies and consumables - corporate 36 26 (10) 71%

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2019

APPROVED BUDGET

$’000

2019

ACTUAL

$’000

2019

ACTUAL VS. BUDGET

$’000 %

Other operational

Recruitment and relocation 55 42 (13) 77%

Security

Equipment

Policy and liaison 22 22 - 100%

Advertising & Publicity 34 34 - 100%

Computer Services 91 91 - 100%

Transcripts and claim documents 15 2 (13) 14%

Other

National Native Title Council contribution 28 25 (3) 89%

Prescribed Bodies Corporate support funding 500 - (500) 0%

One-off operational funding 1,363 - (1,363) 0%

Total expenditure 8,326 5,875 (2,452) 71%

Surplus - 2,472 2,472

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Note 21 : Royalty Assets Held in Trust Monetary Assets

The Northern Land Council (NLC) 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 (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA), and the Native Title Act 1993 are held in the royalty trust account, and are distributed according to the terms and conditions of the individual agreements. These monies mainly come from government agencies, mining and exploration companies and various commercial operators. Majority of the agreements are continuous agreements whereas some are one off agreements. These monies are not available for other purposes and are not recognised in the financial statement of the Northern Land Council and the Group.

Non-monetary Assets

The NLC had no non-monetary assets held in trust in both the current and prior reporting periods.

ROYALTY TRUST ACCOUNT - MONETARY ASSET

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

Cash held at the beginning of the reporting period 44,730 49,397

RECEIPTS

ABA Section 64 (3) royalty equivalents 17,869 17,322

Section 15, 16 & 19 rental and lease monies 30,216 22,418

Section 42, 43 and 44 mining exploration negotiated monies 14,086 16,457

Native Title 6,218 3,920

Contract administration 569 221

Other monies 728 843

Total receipts 69,686 61,181

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

ROYALTY TRUST ACCOUNT - MONETARY ASSET

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

PAYMENTS

ABA Section 35 (2) royalty equivalents (17,780) (17,322)

Section 35 (3) rental and lease monies (27,687) (21,659)

Section 35 (4) negotiated monies (15,002) (18,484)

Native Title (5,386) (5,705)

Contract administration (518) (100)

Other monies (1,980) (254)

Total payments (68,353) (63,524)

GST Paid to ATO (2,717) (2,324)

Total amount held at the end of the reporting period 43,347 44,730

Cash at bank 43,347 44,730

The reporting requirements of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 are detailed in section 37 (3) - (5), and refer to the application of monies received by the NLC under various sections of the Act, in particular under sub-section 64(3).

RECEIPTS UNDER SECTION 64(3), AS REFERRED IN SECTION 35(2):

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

Opening balance - -

Funds received 17,870 17,322

Funds distributed to the following associations:

Gumatj Aboriginal Corporation (10,642) (10,308)

Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation (3,274) (3,172)

Laynhapuy Homelands Aboriginal Corporation (2,456) (2,379)

Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (1,408) (1,463)

Closing balance 90 -

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Determination Pursuant to Section 35(2) Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976

Gove Rio Alcan project royalty equivalents received pursuant to Section 64(3)

The Northern Land Council (NLC) 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:-

Gumatj Aboriginal Corporation 65% Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation 20% Laynhapuy 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 (Northern Territory) Act

Ranger Project royalty equivalents received pursuant to Section 64(3)

The NLC 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: C 110/4785 Note: This determination will expire on 17 June 2020.

Community Planning and Development Fund:

The NLC’s Community Planning and Development (CP&D) Program, endorsed by the NLC Full Council in November 2016 and commenced in the financial year 2017-18, supports groups of Aboriginal people to plan and implement projects that bring lasting community benefit (social, cultural, economic, environmental), using income that they receive from land use agreements. It is a voluntary, consent-based approach based on the principles of Aboriginal people self-determination and participation, with Aboriginal people control and decision-making at every step. Approved CP&D Program designated funds are held on trust by the NLC for community benefit purposes, and then applied in accordance with the consultation and planning processes set out in the CP&D Program. Where there is a decision by Traditional Owners to set aside monies from payments in respect of Aboriginal land for community development projects, the NLC and its CP&D Program administer those funds in accordance its obligations under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA).

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

COMMUNITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT FUND

2019 $’000

2018 $’000

Cash held at the beginning of the reporting period 2,044 -

RECEIPTS Malak Malak - 176

Wadeye 1,374 -

Rak Paangal 264 -

Gapuwiyak 71 416

Galiwinku - 1,035

Ngukurr 350 236

SEAL IPA 450 -

VRD - 500

Other 92 126

Total receipts 2,601 2,489

PAYMENTS Malak Malak 15 49

Wadeye 12 -

Rak Papangal - -

Gapuwiyak 74 40

Galiwinku 271 264

Ngukurr 61 92

SEAL IPA 3 -

VRD 464 -

Other - -

Total Payments 900 445

Total amount held at the end of the reporting period 3,745 2,044

Cash at bank 3,745 2,044

This note relates to NLC only.

Wardaman Rangers, Gouldian Finch survey

Appendices Appendices Part 5 Part 5

Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 APPENDICES

Council Meetings Attendance NOTE: * Where a member was not present a proxy attended.

√ Member was in attendance

Three meeting of the Northern Land Council Full Council were held in 2018/19:

118th FCM Jabiru, 12-15 November 2018

119th Extraordinary FCM Darwin, 8 March 2019

120th FCM Nitmiluk, 24-28 June 2019

DARWIN / DALY / WAGAIT POSITION WARD

118TH FCM

119TH EXTRAORDINARY FCM 120TH

FCM

Elizabeth Sullivan Executive Pine Creek √ √ √

Aaron Hector Member Daly River √ √ √

Matthew Shields Member Daly River North √ √ √

John Daly Member Daly River South Absent Absent Absent

John Sullivan Member Daly River West √ √ √

Kevin Quall Member Darwin Apology √ Absent

Audrey Tilmouth Member Darwin √ √ √

Graham Kenyon Member Darwin East √ √ √

Phillip Goodman Member Darwin South √ √ √

Paul Henwood Member Darwin South West √ Replaced X

Calvin Deveraux Member Darwin South West X √ √

James Sing Member Darwin West √ √ *Absent

Adrian Ariuu Member Palumpa Absent Absent Absent

John Wilson Member Peppimenarti √ √ √

Tobias Nganbe Member Port Keats Apology Apology Apology

Mark Tunmuck-Smith Member Port Keats North Apology Apology Apology

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BORROLOOLA/BARKLY POSITION WARD

118TH FCM

119TH EXTRAORDINARY FCM 120TH

FCM

Richard Dixon Executive Robinson River √ √ √

Brian Limerick Member Alexandria √ √ √

Jason Mulholland Member Borroloola Apology Absent *Absent

Keith Rory Member Borroloola √ √ √

Jodie Evans Member Borroloola √ √ √

Maxine Wallace Member Brunette Downs Absent Absent √

Christopher Neade Member Elliott √ √ √

Jason Bill Member Muckaty √ √ √

Shannon Dixon Member Murranji Apology √ √

Timothy Lansen Member Nicholson Absent √ Absent

Joy Priest Member North Barkly √ Apology √

Gordon Noonan Member Rockhampton Downs Apology √ √

John Finlay Member Wombaya √ √ √

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 APPENDICES

EAST ARNHEM POSITION WARD

118TH FCM

119TH EXTRAORDINARY FCM 120TH

FCM

Bobby Wunungmurra Executive Gapuwiyak √ √ √

Jonathon Nunggumajbarr

Member Blue Mud Bay √ √ √

Jabani Lalara Member Blue Mud Bay √ *Absent *Absent

Johnny Burarrwanga Member Galiwinku √ √ √

Kenny Djekurr Guyula Member Galiwinku √ √ Apology

Jason Guyula Member Galiwinku √ √ √

David Djalangi Member Galiwinku √ √ *Absent

Wesley Bandi Bandi Member Gapuwiyak √ √ *Absent

George Milaypuma Member Milingimbi √ √ √

Michael Ali Member Milingimbi √ √ √

David Rumba Rumba Member Ramingining √ √ √

David Warraya Member Ramingining √ √ √

Djawa Yunupingu Member Ski Beach √ √ √

Yananymul Mununggurr

Member Yirrakala √ √ √

Caroline Dhamarrandji

Member Yirrakala Apology *Absent √

Witiyana Marika Member Yirrakala Apology

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WEST ARNHEM POSITION WARD

118TH FCM

119TH EXTRAORDINARY FCM 120TH

FCM

Ronald LamiLami Executive Cobourg √ √ √

John Christophersen Deputy Chairman Kakadu √ √ √

Vacant Position Member Gunbalanya *Proxy Vacant Vacant

Wayne Wauchope Member Gunbalanya √ √ √

Otto Dann Member Gunbalanya √ √ √

Matthew Ryan Member Maningrida

- Outstation

√ √ √

Victor Rostron Member Maningrida

- Outstation

√ √ √

Julius “Clint” Kernan Member Maningrida √ √ √

Valda Bokmarray Member Maningrida √ √ √

Matthew Nagarlbin Member Minjjilang √ √ √

Jenny Inmulugulu Member Warruwi √ √ √

Bunug Galaminda Member Warruwi √ √ √

June Fejo Co-opted Minjilang Apology √ √

Noni Eather Co-opted Maningrida √ √ Absent

√ √ √

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KATHERINE POSITION WARD

118TH FCM

119TH EXTRAORDINARY FCM 120TH

FCM

Helen Lee Executive Barunga √ √ √

Samuel Bush-Blanasi Chairman Beswick √ √ √

Samantha Lindsay Member Bulman √ √ Absent

Lisa Mumbin Member Katherine √ √ √

Linda Fletcher Member Katherine √ √ √

Jocelyn James Member Mataranka/

Djimbra

√ √ √

John Dalywater Member Weemol Absent *Absent Absent

NGUKURR POSITION WARD

118TH FCM

119TH EXTRAORDINARY FCM 120TH

FCM

Peter Lansen Executive Numbulwar √ √ √

Keith Farrell Member Hodgson

Downs

Apology √ *Absent

Gregory Daniels Member Ngukurr √ √ √

Bobby Nunggumajbarr Member Ngukurr Apology √ √

Walter Rogers Member Ngukurr √ Apology √

Virginia Nundhirribala Member Numbulwar √ √ √

Timothy Wurramara Member Numbulwar √ *Absent *Absent

Faye Manggurra Member Numbulwar √ Absent *Absent

Clifford Duncan Member Urapunga Apology Apology √

√ √ √

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VICTORIA RIVER DISTRICT POSITION WARD

118TH FCM

119TH EXTRAORDINARY FCM 120TH

FCM

Raymond Hector Executive Pigeon Hole √ √ √

Kenivan Anthony Member Amanbidji Apology √ *Absent

Shadrack Retchford Member Bulla √ √ √

Larry Johns Member Timber Creek √ √ *Absent

Brian Pedwell Member Yarralin √ Minister’s

Chairman

√

Charlie Newry Member Yingawunari Absent √ *Absent

Jocelyn Victor Co-opted Pigeon Hole Apology √ Apology

Doris Roberts Co-opted Timber Creek √ √ √

Elaine Watts Co-opted Timber Creek *Absent √ *Absent

NOTE: (*) Where a member was not present a proxy attended.

Three meeting of the Northern Land Council Full Council were held in 2018/19:

118th FCM Jabiru, 12-15 November 2018

119th FCM Darwin, 8 March 2019

120th FCM Nitmiluk, 24-28 June 2019

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Compliance Index COMPLIANCE INDEX COMPLIANCE INDEX OF PUBLIC GOVERNANCE, PERFORMANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY RULE 2014 (PGPA RULE) REQUIREMENTS FOR CORPORATE COMMONWEALTH ENTITIES

REQUIREMENT UNDER 17BE OF THE PGPA RULE PAGE(S) PGPA RULE 2014 PAGE(S) NLC

Approval of Annual Report by Accountable Authority s.17BB ix

Enabling legislation s.17BE (a) 18

Summary of objects and functions of the NLC s.17BE (b) (i) 18-20; 203

Purposes of the NLC included in the corporate plan s.17BE (b)(ii) 163; 186-192

Responsible Minister s.17BE (c) 162

Ministerial directions s.17BE (d) 162

General Policy Orders s.17BE (e) 162

Non-compliance with a direction or order referred to in sections 17BE (d) and (e) s.17BE (f) NIL

Annual performance statement s.17BE (g) 189-192

Statement of significance compliance with finance law s.17BE (h) and (i) 4; 195-197

Information about Accountability Authority s.17BE (j) 3; 9-11; 13-16

Organisational Structure s.17BE (k) 28

Statistics on the entity’s employees S.17BE (k) (a) 172-184

NLC locations s.17BE (l) viii

Board Committees and their main responsibilities s.17BE (m) 23-27

Corporate goverance practice s.17BE (m) 162-170

Related Entity Transaction s.17BE (n) and (o) 165; 226

Key changes to the Authority’s state of affairs or principal activities

s.17BE (p) 9; 13; 210

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REQUIREMENT UNDER 17BE OF THE PGPA RULE PAGE(S) PGPA RULE 2014 PAGE(S) NLC

Amendments to Authority’s enabling legislation s.17BE (p) NIL

Significant judicial or administrative tribunal decision s.17BE (q) 56-57

Reports made about the Authority s.17BE (r) NIL

Obtaining information from subsidiaries s.17BE (s) 203-204

Indemnities and insurance premiums s.17BE (t) 164

Operational and financial results s.46PGPA

Act 2013

194-236

Executive remuneration, under subsections 17CA, CB and CC.

179-182

ABORIGINAL LAND RIGHTS (NORTHERN TERRITORY) ACT 1976

REQUIREMENT ALRA SECTION PAGE(S) NLC

FEES

Specify the total fees received for services provided by the NLC:

• Under Part IV (Mining); and

• Under s.33A for services prescribed by the regulations that it provides in performing any of its functions, whether in the reporting year of the previous year. Specify total fees received under s.33B (other fees charged to the Commonwealth).

s.37 (2) 18

In the reporting period the NLC received $177,699.58 under Part IV (Mining) No fee types prescribed under section 33A and no fees were requested under section 33B.

SECTION 35 DETERMINATIONS

Include details of payments by the NLC under s.35 (2) or (3) and any determinations made by the Minister under s.35 (6) made during the reporting year. Details of payments made by determination or otherwise under s.35 (2), s.35 (6), s.35 (4), s.35 (4b), s.35 (11) and s.67 (b) 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.

s.37 (3)

s.37 (4)

235

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 APPENDICES

REQUIREMENT ALRA SECTION PAGE(S) NLC

DETAILS OF AMOUNTS HELD IN TRUST

Include details of payments by the NLC under s.35(2) or (3) and any determinations made by the Minister under s.35 (6) made during the reporting year. Details of payments made by determiniation or otherwise under 35 (2), 35 (6), 35 (4), 35 (4B), 35 (11) and 67 (B) 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.

s.37(5) 235-236

COMMITTEES

If a committee has been appointed under s.29A to assist the NLC 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.

s.37 (7) 23-26; 168

CONSULTANTS

Specify consultants engaged by the NLC during the year and the amount paid to each consultant.

s.37 (8) 166-167

OTHER REPORTING OBLIGATIONS

Environmental matters s. 516A EPBC Act 60, 89, 91,

126 & 136

Work, Health and Safety Act Item 4, Schedule 2 168, 177

& 183

FoI Act Reporting

requirements

165

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Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

Glossary of Terms and Acronyms 2018-19 Annual Report Glossary

ABA Aboriginals Benefit Account

Aboriginal land (a) land held by a land trust for an estate in fee simple; or (b) and the subject of a deed of grant held in escrow by a land

council until a specific event or condition takes place

ADF Australian Defence Force

AHNT Aboriginal Housing Northern Territory

ALC Aboriginal Land Commissioner, a statutory officer of the Commonwealth appointed to perform functions outlined in section 50 of the Land Rights Act

ALFA Arnhem Land Fire Abatement

ALRA Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976

ALT Aboriginal Land Trust

APO NT Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT

ANAO Australian National Audit Office

ATSI Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

CATSI Act Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006

CDP Community Development Program

CFI Carbon Farming Initiative

CLA Community Living Area

CLC Central Land Council

COAG Council of Australian Governments

CP & D Community Planning and Development

CSIRO Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

DAWR (Australian) Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

DENR (NT) Department of Environment and natural Resources

DPMC Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet

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NORTHERN LAND COUNCIL ANNUAL REPORT 2018/19 APPENDICES

EL Exploration Licence

ELA Exploration Licence Application

EP Exploration Permit

FPIC Free, Prior and Informed Consent

FTE Full Time Equivalent

GIS Geographic Information System

IAS Indigenous Advancement Strategy

IBA Indigenous Business Australia

ICT Information and Communication Technology

ILC Indigenous Land Corporation

ILUA Indigenous Land Use Agreement

IPA Indigenous Protected Area

IPP Indigenous Pastoral Program

Land Council

An Aboriginal land council in the Northern Territory established by or under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976

Land Rights Act The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, also ALRA

Land Trust An Aboriginal land trust established under the Land Rights Act to hold land on behalf of the traditional owners

LIMS The NLC’s Land Information Management System

LIR The NLC’s Land Interest Register

LUMAR Land Use Management and Royalties (Review)

MRM McArthur River Mine

NAA National Archives of Australia

NAIDOC National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee

NLC Northern Land Council

NNTC National Native Title Council

NTA Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)

NTG Northern Territory Government

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Our Land, Our Sea, Our Life

NTRB Native Title Representative Body

PBC Prescribed Body Corporate, a corporation that holds or manages native title for a native title-holding group

PGPA Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013

P & W (NT) Parks and Wildlife Service

PLO Principal Legal Officer

RPO Royalty Processing Officer

RTN Right To negotiate

Sacred Sites

Areas of spiritual significance to Aboriginal people, marking an association with, or a specific act of, a creation being. They may be parts of the natural landscape such as hills, rocks, trees, springs or offshore reefs and include burial grounds and places where ceremonies have been held.

SCWG Sea Country Working Group

TNRM Territory Natural Resource Management

Traditional Aboriginal owners (TAOs)

A local descent group of Aboriginal people 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 of right over that land.

WoC Working on Country

WoNS Weeds of National Significance

Angalari (Victoria River) at sunrise

276

For a copy of this report contact: Northern Land Council 45 Mitchell St Darwin NT 0800 +61 8 89205100 www.nlc.org.au