New measures to economically empower Traditional Owners in NT

The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment (Economic Empowerment) Bill 2021 introduced today in the Australian Parliament will support Traditional Owner engagement and encourage new minerals exploration and investment in the Northern Territory.

These reforms make it simpler to amend exploration licences and enable Land Councils to tailor Traditional Owner engagement regarding proposed land uses.

The centrepiece of the Bill is the establishment of the NT Aboriginal Investment Corporation, an Aboriginal-controlled entity that will invest royalty equivalent funds from mining on Aboriginal lands in the Territory.

An initial investment of $500 million followed by $60 million annually for three years will support projects that deliver local jobs, business and wealth creation.

These substantial investments demonstrate mining’s significant economic contribution to the Territory.

The MCA contributed to these reforms on issues relevant to minerals exploration and investment.

The reforms will help bring forward minerals investment in a way that supports Traditional Owner aspirations and priorities by shortening administrative timeframes and better supporting Traditional Owner engagement.

The MCA also acknowledges the introduction of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Amendment Bill 2021 today.

It includes measures to simplify processes, support community engagement and reinforce governance arrangements for native title Prescribed Body Corporations (PBCs), key partners for the minerals industry.

Improvements to the CATSI Act should be supported by other measures to enable PBCs to establish strong foundations and undertake operational and strategic planning.

The MCA strongly supported the Australian Government’s additional $36.7 million over four years to enhance PBC Capacity Building in the 2021-22 Commonwealth Budget.

Indigenous Australians are core partners in mining.

The minerals industry is strengthening Traditional Owner partnerships, including better supporting the near and long-term social and economic aspirations, prosperity and wellbeing of First Nations communities.

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