Propelling Traditional Owners into key role in NT’s space industry

Date: Jun 27, 2022

Publication Type: Media Releases

Subject: Northern Development

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The NLC is proud to support the involvement of Traditional Owners in the NT’s space industry, which reached a historic milestone in late June with Australia’s first commercial space launch.

NLC chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi said the Council has supported Traditional Owners' involvement in the space launch project since day one.

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

"Championing new approaches to creating economic opportunities for Traditional Owners is a priority of the NLC.

“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.” 

Northern Land Council chief executive officer Joe Martin-Jard was in north-east Arnhem Land yesterday (Sunday 26 June) to witness Equatorial Launch Australia’s (ELA) launch on behalf of their client NASA. 

Mr Martin-Jard said that 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.”