Community Planning & Development Projects

'Our strong community, our future'

The NLC is currently working with eight Traditional Owners groups from across the Top End that are using the Community Planning and Development Program to deliver a number of varied projects for community benefit. 

A map of the NLC regions showing the location of CD&P projects

Darwin/Daly Region

Members of the White family on the first culture camp, which is supporting intergenerational knowledge transfer.

Malak Malak

Malak Malak Traditional Owners in the Daly River region led the way back in 2015 when they decided to set aside some of their income for community development purposes and asked the NLC for help. 

This money comes from their agreement with the Northern Territory Government that allows fishers access to the Daly River on their Aboriginal land trust.

In June 2017, they approved their first project, which was to hold two culture camps on country. These were such a success, they decided to run more. They are partnering with the NLC’s Malak Malak Ranger group to do these camps. 

Traditional Owners also want to share information about their country and culture with visitors, and have produced brochures and information signs as a second project. Recently, they embarked on an exciting new project to help keep the Malak Malak language alive and strong. They are teaming up with US group The Language Conservancy to build a mobile phone app to learn words and phrases, using visual aids and spoken words. 

Traditional Owners discuss the Wadeye cemetery project.


In May 2018, Yak Dimininh Traditional Owners took the major step of setting aside a large amount of their lease income to strengthen their community. Their top priority is to support young people to learn about culture, get a good education and have employment opportunities so they can look forward to a positive future. 

Four months later Traditional Owners approved their first project, which involves visiting sacred sites and sharing knowledge with their family and younger generations to build a strong cultural foundation. 

In 2019, Traditional Owners approved a cemetery improvement project to create better and larger areas at the Wadeye cemetery through local employment.

Traditional owners are planning more community development projects that achieve strong outcomes for their community and deliver training and employment along the way.  

Outstation planning on-country


Rak Papangala Traditional Owners in the Palumpa area have a vision of living back on their traditional country. 

In July 2018 they committed funds from their lease towards that vision and after careful planning selected partners to build homeland infrastructure on their country. 

Traditional owners are looking forward to having basic shelter, water and power facilities so they can visit country easily and start living on their traditional lands. They know being on country will help their young people to learn traditional knowledge and be culturally safe. 

East Arnhem Region

Traditional owners talk about ideas for the future.


Gupapuyngu-Liyalanmirri Traditional Owners in Gapuwiyak receive income from township leases. In April 2017 they took the major step of setting aside money to invest in making their community a better place. Their first priority is to create training and employment opportunities for their young people. 

In June 2017, they planned and approved their first project to set up Milintji Developments Pty Ltd with assistance from project partner Arnhem Land Progress Association (ALPA). 

Getting a Traditional Owner corporate structure in place and building its governance capacity will lay a strong foundation for future business ventures. In 2019-20 the corporation will work with project partner Matrix Consulting and Training to develop a strategic plan, explore business opportunities and develop their governance skills.

In September 2018 Traditional Owners approved funding for another project to provide casual employment for CDP participants as house painters in Gapuwiyak.  They are partnering with the new local CDP provider ALPA. 

Young people at a raypirri (respect and discipline) camp get ready for fishing.


Galiwin’ku Traditional Owners from numerous clans started working with the NLC’s CP&D Program in April 2017. Over two years they have planned and allocated money from their community leases for urgently needed youth projects and a law and justice project.

This has been achieved through a series of clan consultations in different locations to make sure all Traditional Owner groups could have their say on what was most important to them. 

Concern about young people and the need to provide more positive activities for them was high on almost everyone’s agenda.

Traditional Owners are now partnering with the East Arnhem Regional Council (EARC) to support youth diversion, sport and recreation activities, and with Yalu Marnggithinyaraw Indigenous Corporation to run raypirri (respect and discipline) camps with children. The Milingimbi Outstations Progress Association is providing logistical support for raypirri camps run by Traditional Owners on Murrungga Island. To encourage school attendance, traditional owners are also co-funding adventure school playground equipment with the local school, Shepherdson College.

Also concerned about legal issues, traditional owners have developed a strong partnership with North Australia Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) to support Yolngu going through the justice system and improve knowledge of the Western law system and how it interacts with Yolgnu law.  

Ngukurr Region

Sharing the women’s ideas on community projects.


Milwarapara-Yutpundji Traditional Owners are well on the way to achieving their vision for a better community. The group has used some of the community lease money set aside in late 2016 to improve community facilities. They have funded a toilet block at the local church and an outstation sign. 

In November 2018 Traditional Owners committed further funds from their Section 19 lease income to community development, and are researching their next priority ideas for more community development projects. 

Traditional owners are interested in strengthening community facilities and safety at the oval and airstrip, supporting elders and setting up an opp shop to provide affordable clothing in town.  

Children learn about native bees at the Ngukurr culture camp.

South East Arnhem Land Fire Abatement Project

Every year the Yugul Mangi and Numbulwar Numburindi Rangers manage fire on their country. This country covers a vast area and includes the South East Arnhem Indigenous Protected Area (IPA). The rangers get carbon credits for their work and make income when the credits are sold, through the South East Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (SEALFA) project.

The rangers and IPA Advisory Committee are using some of this income for community benefit projects. They have an exciting vision for a major cultural program and in May 2018 they approved funding for their first project to deliver two culture camps. Partnering with the local ranger groups in Ngukurr and Numbulwarr, these camps are focusing on engaging young people and enhancing inter-generational knowledge transfer. The rangers involved the Ngukurr Language Centre and local school on the first camp, which was a great success.

In November 2018 the group committed more funds to community benefit through NLC's CP&D Program. They are partnering with Tamarind Consulting as their second project to strengthen the capacity of local people in meeting organisation and project planning through targeted training.  

Victoria River District Region

Traditional owners work on the outstation upgrade.

Project Sea Dragon, Legune Station

Near the border with Western Australia, Native Title Holders have signed an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with Seafarms Group Limited. 

Seafarms plans to build a prawn grow-out facility at Legune Station, which has the potential to deliver significant royalties and other benefits if it goes ahead. The three Native Title Holding groups - Gajerrong-DjarranyDjarrany, Gajerrong-Wadangbang and Gajerrong-Gurrbijim – are getting on the front foot and starting work on long-term development strategies using the Community Planning and Development program.

Seafarms has supported an upgrade of Marralum homeland as part of their agreement with Native Title Holders. DjarranyDjarrany people have completed stage 1 and 2 of an upgrade to Marralum community, fixing up three existing houses and an ablution block, and installing solar power and a clean water supply. Local DjarranyDjarrany people were employed to do this work, developing their building skills while living on country. 

A number of other projects are being implemented, including bush trips to share cultural knowledge across the generations and support for children who have travelled to cities to improve their education. Further projects are being planned.