Northern Land Council propels Traditional Owners into key role in Northern Territory’s space industry

NLC

The Northern Land Council is proud to support the involvement of Traditional Owners in the Northern Territory’s space industry, which reached a historic milestone on Sunday night with Australia’s first commercial space launch.

Northern Land Council chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi was in north-east Arnhem Land yesterday (Sunday 26 June) to witness Equatorial Launch Australia’s (ELA) launch on behalf of their client NASA.

“Since day one, the Northern Land Council has supported Traditional Owners’ involvement in this project,” Mr Bush-Blanasi said.

“There were some people who said it would never happen. But we stuck by Traditional Owners and proved the sceptics wrong.”

Championing bold new approaches to creating economic opportunities for Traditional Owners is a priority of the NLC, Ms Bush-Blanasi said.

“Here we have the oldest living culture in the world working side by side with NASA on cutting-edge technologies. This shows Traditional Owners mean business.”

Mr Bush-Blanasi said the NLC played a key role in facilitating negotiations between ELA and local contractor Gumatj Corporation, which has undertaken a significant proportion of the works for the construction of the facility.

“I am very proud the Northern Land Council was able to support Gumatj on this new industry for the Northern Territory.”

NLC chief executive officer Joe Martin-Jard, who was also in Gove for the first of three NASA launches in this campaign, said irrespective of the economic activity Traditional Owners choose to undertake, the NLC will always assist and ensure decisions are made on a free, prior and informed basis.

“Whether it’s mining, carbon farming or sending rockets into space, the NLC is here to support Traditional Owners and make certain there is always free, prior and informed consent.

“With most land claims now finalised, we are shifting our focus to projects like this. This is about realising the benefits of Aboriginal rights and interests in land.”

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