Under the Aboriginal Land Act 1980, it is the Northern Land Council’s responsibility to oversee media access to Aboriginal land on behalf of traditional owners across the NLC’s area.
While Aboriginal land is privately owned, Aboriginal people recognise that it is important for media to have access to their communities so long as cultural sensitivities (e.g. sacred sites, periods of mourning) are respected and appropriate behaviour is observed.
News journalists should be aware that while the Northern Land Council makes every effort to expedite their permit applications, the final decision rests with traditional owners
Applicants involved in commercial projects such as films, documentaries or books are advised that the Northern Land Council requires a minimum of 10 days’ notice to process an application.
If the project is likely to involve a significant impact on Aboriginal people’s privacy and property, then eight weeks’ (56 days) working notice may be required. These time frames are required to ensure that all relevant traditional owners are consulted. In many instances, an application will cover a geographical area involving a number of different traditional owners and each must be consulted.
It is advised you read the following before beginning the application process: