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NLC promoting economic development in remote communities

Posted: Fri, April 01, 2011

Northern Land Council Chief Executive, Kim Hill, today responded to accusations that the NLC has stopped the process of issuing leases in Aboriginal communities by saying the organisation’s critics are uninformed.

On Tuesday, Helen Hughes from the right-wing think tank Centre for Independent Studies, told ABC
Radio that the NLC was preventing people from engaging in the economy by controlling leases and
owning their own homes.

Mr Hill said this accusation could not be further from the truth.

“At our last Full Council meeting the NLC passed a record 95 Section 19 lease agreements directly
affecting economic development in Aboriginal communities,” he said.

“We encourage businesses to operate in communities and look to foster growth where we can.”

Forty-six of these leases were granted to private enterprises, 22 were to government funded bodies and
17 to government departments or agencies. These included leases at Yirrkala, Birritjimi, Galiwinku,
Gapuwiyak, Ramingining, Maningrida, Milingimbi, Numbulwar, Gunbalanya and Wadeye.

Mr Hill said that far from opposing home ownership, the NLC was actively engaging the financial
sector to encourage home ownership in Aboriginal communities.

“We are currently in discussions with the National Australia Bank regarding models of home
ownership schemes that would apply to communities in the Northern Territory,” he said.

“Like most Australians, many people in communities relish the prospect of owning their own home and we will
support them to achieve this.”

“The Northern Land Council shares Ms Hughes’ desire to see Aboriginal people engaged in the
economy and working in real jobs, however she needs to gain a better understanding of its role in
achieving this outcome,” he added.

For a PDF version of the media release, click below: