The Northern Land Council has statutory responsibilities to protect the interests of traditional owners within its region, in particular the conservation of land and sea. Many of the Northern Territory’s most popular National Parks are owned by Aboriginal peoples and leased to either the Commonwealth or Northern Territory Government.
These parks include over 50% of Kakadu (with the remaining portion under claim), Nitmiluk and Garid Gunak Barlu as well as Judbarra/Gregory, Djukbinj and Barranyi. This represents just over 20% of all Aboriginal owned land in the NLC region.
At present, 27,851km/sq of Aboriginal owned land and sea and is included in jointly managed National Parks in the NLC region. The NLC anticipates that this figure will increase by approximately 12,700km/sq as joint management arrangements are in place for land affected by the NT Parks and Reserves (Framework for the Future) Act.
The NLC provides support and assistance to Aboriginal landowners, so that they can successfully participate in the joint management of parks and reserves.
Aboriginal landowners must:
• Make informed decisions about land use and land management proposals;
• Understand the social, economic and cultural implications of laws or proposals affecting parks and reserves; and
• Manage and resolve disputes.
Joint management presents Aboriginal peoples with a range of opportunities, from potential employment and enterprise development, to increased involvement in natural resource management.