The Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Member for Lingiari
The Australian Government holds five year leases over 64 communities in the Northern Territory as a result of the NTER legislation passed by the previous government in 2007.
Twenty six of the leases came into effect on 18 August 2007 and the remaining 38, including Milikapiti and Pirlangimpi, on 17 February 2008.
In 2008, in response to the recommendation of the NTER Review Report, the Australian Government committed to reducing the boundaries of the leases, transitioning them to voluntary leases as quickly as possible and making fair payment for the five year leases.
Paying rent to the traditional owners of land demonstrates the Australian Government's acknowledgement of Indigenous land ownership and our commitment to ensuring that land ownership leads to economic development and opportunity, as well as the maintenance of strong cultural connection.
The Government undertook a comprehensive survey of the lease areas to accurately assess lease boundaries and exclude areas which are not essential to support the delivery of services as part of the NTER.
The boundary changes, which came into effect on 1 April 2009, reduced the overall leased area by more than fifty per cent.
The rent payments which begin today, meet the recommendations of the NTER Review Board and follow the Government's request to the Northern Territory Valuer General in October last year, to determine reasonable amounts of rent to be paid.
We will continue to negotiate whole of township and long-term housing leases with land owners across the Northern Territory to support housing investment and to create the best possible platform for service delivery and economic development.
We are determined to address the shocking living conditions in remote Northern Territory Indigenous communities and to improving the lives of the Aboriginal people who live there
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