NLC CEO appointed to Indigenous Reference Group to develop the north

Date: Jan 02, 2018

Publication Type: Media Releases, Newsroom

Subject: Northern Development

NLC CEO Mr Joe Morrison has been appointed to the Indigenous Reference Group to advance Indigenous economic interests in the North.

The reference group is made up of senior Indigenous leaders from across the nation’s north and was established to ensure development includes benefits for Indigenous workers and businesses.

Mr Morrison said the group was off to a positive start.   

“It’s a very positive feeling to be part of this group. The reference group is made up of eight individuals comprising the three jurisdictions around northern Australia.”

"The IRG is off to a very positive start and we’re looking forward to working with Ministers Matt Canavan and Nigel Scullion."

Mr Morrison said Indigenous people are major land owners with primary interests in the development of the north and must be included in discussions and planning that span the local and national levels. 

"Let everyone understand that Aboriginal people themselves have got aspirations for development. They just don’t want to be respond to third parties coming in to develop their lands.” 

Through the NT Land Rights Act, Indigenous Territorians have freehold tenure over more than 50% of the NT and 85% of the coastline. Native Title interests covers the remainder.   

“Indigenous people make up 30% of the Territory’s population, and more than 80% of the population actually living on the land, continuing to use our depth of knowledge and experience to take care of the globally recognised natural and cultural assets that the NT is renowned.” 

"At the end of the day it’s Aboriginal people that stay here. They’re not flying in and flying out of anywhere, they’re the ones that are and will remain the residents of the north." 

“And we need to embrace that view and make sure that the people who are resident here are going to be able to have a supply of projects that they can participate in and be part of this notion of developing the North.”

He said we don’t want to talk about infrastructure as just being roads, rails and bridges.

“We also want to talk about soft infrastructure, i.e. improving educational & other outcomes for Aboriginal people.

"If we start understanding what Aboriginal people are proposing and what they want to do, while also understanding what’s possible in the marketplace then Aboriginal people can either plug into existing supply chains or create their own supply chains with unique Aboriginal brands."