NNTC WELCOMES PROPOSED PASTORAL LAND ACT (PLA) AMENDMENTS IN NT
The National Native Title Council (NNTC) welcomes the Northern Territory Government’s proposed amendments to the Pastoral Land Act (PLA), which are set to be introduced to the NT’s Legislative Assembly this week.
The proposed bill is a significant achievement, and will help strengthen the capacity of native title holders to negotiate with pastoral land lessees, where native title co-exists on the same area as a pastoral lease.
The Gunner Labor Government has agreed to amend the PLA to ensure native title holders have a right to negotiate (a right to be at the table) in relation to major economic developments on their traditional lands when a Non-Pastoral Use Permit (NPUP) for primary production diversification is sought on a pastoral lease.
The NNTC states that this better enables native title holders to be involved in discussions on land use arrangements, protect sacred sites and benefit from economic development on their lands including employment and business opportunities.
It is important to recognise that pastoralists do not own the land where pastoral leases exist, it is shared land with native title holders.
“Our position on the Pastoral Land Act is always to push for mutually beneficial outcomes for both native title holders and pastoral land lessees. It is important that both parties are given equal opportunity in the decision-making processes,” said NNTC’s CEO Jamie Lowe.
Mr Lowe states that the proposed amendments to be introduced to the Legislative Assembly this week could mean significant economic development opportunities for First Peoples in the territory.
“Native title holders in the territory should share in equal benefit from economic activities that happen on their traditional lands, and importantly, they need to have equal footing at the negotiating table,” said Mr Lowe.
“We know that developing northern Australia is a Government policy agenda, and if the development is to be sustainable then it needs to genuinely and meaningfully include the voices of Traditional Owners.”
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