A traditional owner in north-east Arnhem Land is seeking greater control over economic development on his land in what’s expected to be a test case for a recent and controversial amendment to the Northern Territory Land Rights Act.

Djambawa Marawili and traditional owners in the small Baniyala community that overlooks Blue Mud Bay are in talks with the Northern Land council (NLC) about taking control of the issuing of leases on their country in the hope it will lead to economic development and jobs.

Mr Marawili said traditional owners in Baniyala, 600 kilometres east of Darwin, wanted to be able to make decisions locally, rather than requiring approval from the large, Darwin-based NLC.

Residents wanted “to have rights to control our land and also the business and economic things that we are wanting to bring onto our land,” Mr Marawili said.

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