Baniyala community working with NLC to explore lease options

Date: Oct 31, 2017

Publication Type: Newsroom

Subject: Land Rights

The NLC has undertaken to work with the Baniyala community in east Arnhem Land to develop a workable model for the issue of local leases under the Land Rights Act.

Baniyala Traditional Owner Djambawa Marawili and NLC CEO Joe Morrison

This follows meetings at Baniyala in February and August attended by the NLC Chairman, Samuel Bush Blanasi, and the CEO, Joe Morrison.

After the August meeting, the two parties issued this communique:

On 23-24 August 2017, the people from the Baniyala homelands, East Arnhem Land, met with Mr Joe Morrison, CEO, Northern Land Council (NLC) and other NLC staff, and discussed how they want the responsibility for leading the effective management and economic development of their lands. The meeting was facilitated by Dr David Martin, consultant anthropologist.

Mr Djambawa Marawili AM, senior traditional elder, explained that the people of Baniyala want to be able to encourage new house construction and business investment, to create local jobs and a good future for people living on their traditional lands.

To do this, traditional owners are exploring options to negotiate and issue leases for the Baniyala town and surrounding lands.

The people of Baniyala want to work in partnership with the NLC to make their aspirations a reality.

On 1 June 2017, traditional owners and residents of Baniyala established the Baniyala Nimbarrki Land Authority Aboriginal Corporation (BNLA) to make land use decisions and issue leases in the Baniyala homelands.  The BNLA was established in order to:

  • assist traditional owners in making local decisions to issue leases;
  • assist consultations with residents of Baniyala and the surrounding homelands;
  • manage local land use plans to make sure development meets local requirements;
  • effectively and efficiently consider leases that encourage local business activity and housing construction; and
  • support Baniyala residents to become leaders who can manage the requirements of Australian law while maintaining the responsibilities of their culture and traditions.

Mr Morrision was impressed by the views and hard work of the people of Baniyala, and committed the NLC to work in partnership with the people of Baniyala to implement a solution for localised decision making for the Baniyala homelands.

The NLC will work with the BNLA to:

  • develop a workable model for the issue of local leases under  the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth) (ALRA); and
  • jointly brief the NLC Full Council on the aspirations of Baniyala, and the proposed models for local lease decision making, in November 2017.

Mr Morrision committed the NLC to a continuing and strong engagement with the people of Baniyala, and has planned to visit Baniyala to support their work, before this coming Christmas. 

First published in Land Rights News October 2017

Land Rights News Northern Edition October 2017

Australia's longest-running Aboriginal newspaper, telling stories from remote Aboriginal lands from across the Northern Territory.

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