In an Australian first, exclusive native title holders in Territory towns now have the opportunity to receive a freehold title for their land.
The historic Land Title Amendment Bill 2021, passed by the Territory Labor Government today, will ensure exclusive native title holders where the land is within a gazetted town and is vacant Crown land, will have all the options and flexibility of a freehold land owner – meaning they can hold onto it, lease it, mortgage it or sell it.
The purpose of the Bill is also to provide appropriate recognition of native title interests within the Territory’s land titles register.
Through these changes, exclusive native title owners can be granted a freehold title with their native title suppressed rather than extinguished.
Prior to the Bill passing, native title holders were limited in what they could do with their land, with their rights and interests only recognised through a Federal Court judgement, rather than through a physical title.
To ensure native title holders can maximise their opportunities, the Territory Labor Government has developed the Town Lands Native Title Policy to enable more control and flexibility in managing their land into the future.
This move will increase economic opportunities for Aboriginal Territorians, which will have flow-on benefits right across the Territory.
For Government, this policy will provide more certainty around land release with native title holder consent. It will mean more opportunities for areas to be subdivided to meet residential and community needs to plan for future growth.
It will also open the door for new business ventures across the Territory, and will increase investment opportunities and viability, with land searches to readily reveal what vacant Crown land is subject to native title and what isn’t.
Quotes from Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Selena Uibo:
“This is about empowering native title holders in the Territory.
“These proposals are not only a first for the NT – but they are a first for Australia, and we are leading the way in this space.
“We know how important the benefits will be for the wider community – it will increase Aboriginal economic opportunities, which will have positive flow-on effects.
“The Territory Labor Government is committed to delivering for Aboriginal Territorians.”