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.
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 - to hold two culture camps on country. These were such a success, they have 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 they are producing an information sign and brochure as a second 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. In September 2018 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.
Fixing up the cemetery and public spaces in Wadeye is also important to Traditional Owners and they have started planning projects that improve community facilities. They want young people to get involved in these upgrades so they get training and employment along the way.
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 have already started planning for a new outstation for their community.
East Arnhem Region
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 which will set up and manage a benevolent trust 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 September 2018 Traditional Owners approved funding for a second project which will provide casual employment for CDP participants as house painters in Gapuwiyak. They are partnering with local CDP provider Miwatj Employment and Participation.
Galiwin’ku Traditional Owners from numerous clans started working with the NLC’s CP&D Program in April 2017. In 18 months they have planned and allocated money from their community lease 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.
For the next two years Traditional Owners will partner 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. There is also a 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.
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. They are also keen to get young people more engaged at the school by fixing up the school oval. In November 2018 Traditional Owners committed further funds from their Section 19 lease income to community development, and will be planning more projects to strengthen their community.
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 more funds have been committed to projects for community benefit through the Community Planning and Development program.
Victoria River District Region
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 and Marralum residents have completed the stage 1 upgrade of Marralum, fixing up three existing houses and an ablution block, and installing solar power and water systems. Local DjarranyDjarrany people were employed to do this work, developing their building skills while living on country. Stage 2 of the upgrade is on the way, as well as bush trips to share cultural knowledge across the generations and a new football team to help keep people fit and healthy, and engaged with the community.