Empowering Traditional Owners

Closing the Gap

In March 2019, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) entered into a partnership with the National Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations (Coalition of Peaks or CoP) to develop a new framework for Closing the Gap.

Launched in 2008, Closing the Gap aims to improve the lives of First Nations peoples through reducing inequalities in areas such as life expectancy, mortality, education and employment. More than a decade on, many of these targets have not been met.

The NNTC is involved in the Closing the Gap refresh, as a peak organisation for the native title sector. We represent the interests and views of Traditional Owners and native title holders, to ensure their voices are captured in the new Closing the Gap framework.

The partnership between COAG and the CoP is significant as it allows First Nations peoples to co-design the new framework for the first time.

Read more about Closing the Gap here: https://closingthegap.niaa.gov.au

Read our latest media release here.



While Treaty is a key land rights issue, it intersects with many social and economic issues impacting the ability of First Nations peoples to benefit economically, socially and culturally from their traditional lands and waters.

Currently, Australia is the only Commonwealth country without a Treaty with its First Nations peoples. While many treaty-like agreements exist in Australia – such as those derived through native title – there is growing momentum to establish formal treaties, particularly across the states and territories.

There are many benefits to establishing a Treaty or treaties. Some of these include creating structures for some level of self-governance and decision-making processes; a formalised recognition of Indigenous sovereignty; funding for Indigenous-led community services; and a platform for truth-telling about historical injustices. While these may have positive socioeconomic effects – ensuring public funding is more efficient – these outcomes could also have a less tangible, but equally important impact on healing the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Queensland, the Northern Territory and Victoria are all in varying stages of developing frameworks towards state-based treaties. The NNTC’s Chief Executive, Jamie Lowe, is an elected representative on the historic First Peoples Assembly of Victoria, representing the Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation.

The NNTC does policy and advocacy work in support of Treaty. We are a co-organising partner for the National Treaties Summit 2021, along with Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR) and Melbourne Law School. The National Treaties Summit will be held in Melbourne in 2021 as a landmark gathering to discuss the possibilities and pathway to Treaty. Find out more here: www.nationaltreatiessummit.com.au

For more information on Victoria’s Treaty process, see here.

For more information on Queensland’s Treaty process, see here.

For more information on the Northern Territory’s Treaty process, see here.


Cultural heritage

The NNTC supports the protection and repatriation of Aboriginal cultural heritage and Aboriginal intangible heritage, including sacred objects or ancestral remains. Sacred objects, such as those used in ceremonies or burials, form a large part of Aboriginal cultures and must remain in the hands of their rightful owners to keep these cultures alive. Along with the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council and the University of Melbourne, the NNTC is an organising partner for the Indigenous Cultural Heritage Conference 2020 (ICHC), which will be held in Melbourne 22-24 November. For more information and to register see the website: ichc2020.com.au

For more information about Aboriginal cultural heritage, see the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.