Northern Territory Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Adam Giles
Country Liberals Support Land Council Reform
Victor P Taffa
Shadow Indigenous Affairs Minister, Adam Giles, has welcomed moves by a number of Indigenous communities across the Northern Territory to form a Regional Land Council centred on Katherine.
Mr. Giles said the move, coming as it does in the Post Land Claim era, “signals a timely change of direction in Indigenous governance”.
“The majority of community-based Aborigines are land rich but dirt poor and these proposed changes could lay the foundation for an economic future.” Mr. Giles said.
“Regional land councils can provide communities with opportunities to become economically independent by allowing traditional owners to take ownership of development and reduce bureaucracy and red-tape.”
“One only has to look at the success of other smaller land councils such as the Tiwi Islands and Anindilyakawa which have fostered industries including tourism, mining and forestry to see the potential benefits of the Regional Land Council Structure.” Mr. Giles said.
“The competition that should emerge through smaller land councils will see greater productivity in commercial operations and open up opportunities for all residents to share the benefits.”
“A Regional Land Council structure will reintroduce the authority and voice Aboriginal Territorians lost when Labor introduced the Shire reforms.”
“Potential partnerships through regional land councils and Shires could see economies of scale achieved in service delivery, particularly if an alignment of boundaries became reality.” Mr. Giles said.
“I encourage Aboriginal Territorians to open up their land to commercial activities and jobs.”
“I know there are processes underway in other regions of the Territory for similar models.” Mr. Giles said.
Mr. Giles said there is potential for a number of Regional Land Councils to emerge from the existing structures.
He called on Indigenous Development Minister, Malarndirri McCarthy, to throw her support behind land council reform.
“There can be no reason for the Labor Government to not support the empowerment of Indigenous Territorians.” Mr. Giles said.
“This reform process deserves the support of both the Territory’s Major Political Parties.”
“I know the Country Liberals support Indigenous Democracy, Empowerment and Economic self-determination, let’s see if Labor does the same.” Mr. Giles said.