Resignation of NLC CEO

15 November 2018

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles, today acknowledged the resignation of Northern Land Council (NLC) CEO Joe Morrison with regret, saying it was a huge loss for the organisation.

Since Mr Vowles became Primary Industry and Resources Minister in 2016, he and Mr Morrison have enjoyed a productive, robust working relationship. This relationship was strengthened when Mr Vowles was named Minister for Aboriginal Affairs earlier this year.

Mr Vowles said many positive changes had occurred at the NLC under Mr Morrison’s watch, and the organisation had made significant steps forward on many issues during Mr Morrison’s nearly five years as CEO.

Quotes from Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles:

“No matter the subject – and there have been several difficult matters to discuss – Joe has always proved himself to be open to discussion and, most importantly, a strong advocate for the NLC and Aboriginal affairs in general.

“The NLC has benefitted greatly from his guidance during his tenure, and when he finishes up next year he will leave behind some big shoes to fill.

“I wish Joe all the best in his future endeavours, and remain committed to working with the NLC, and whoever becomes the new CEO, to better the lives of Aboriginal Territorians.”

Media Contact: Leanne Hudson 0427 687 079

Landmark Local Decision Making Agreement puts power back in the hands of communities

14 November 2018

The Territory Labor Government will today sign the Groote Archipelago Local Decision Making Agreement with the Anindilyakwa Land Council (ALC).

The agreement is one of nine Local Decision Making agreements now signed or underway across the Territory, developed in accordance with the principles of self-determination; flexible place based approaches; co-design; and community control.

A return to Local Decision Making for Aboriginal communities was a key election commitment of the Territory Labor Government.

The binding agreement outlines Anindilyakwa priorities and timeframes for transition to local control in the areas of housing, education, health, local government, economic development, law and justice and environmental sustainability.

The agreement recognises the long established and strong systems of Anindilyakwa governance and leadership, and sets out how ALC, the NT Government, other stakeholders and the Anindilyakwa people will work together to transition decision making and service delivery for the Groote Eylandt communities over the next decade.

Agreements signed include:

  • West Daly (signed November 2018)
  • Djalkiripunynu (Blue Mud Bay) Statement of Commitment  (signed July 2018)
  • Yugul Mangi Aboriginal Corporation (signed May 2018)
  • Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation (signed November 2018)

Agreements underway include:

  • Alawa Aboriginal Corporation
  • Mutitjulu Community
  • Tangentyere Council
  • Yolngu Region Statement of Commitment
  • Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation (to be signed 19 November 2018)

More information on Local Decision Making agreements can be found at

Quotes from Chief Minister Michael Gunner

“Local Decision Making is a key election promise of the Territory Labor Government, and it serves as a potential first step towards a Territory version of Treaty.

“The old way is finished, and today we embark on a significant journey to give decision-making power back to where it belongs, in the hands of the Anindilyakwa people of the Groote Archipelago.

“This means Government giving up decision making power to communities in areas like housing, education, justice, local government, health and looking after kids.

Quotes from ALC Chairman Tony Wurramarrba AO

“This agreement represents a future for the Anindilyakwa people of the Groote Archipelago that is decided by our people, for our people.”

“We celebrate today’s occasion because it marks the Northern Territory Government’s solemn commitment to return control of local decisions to Traditional Owners. We will work with the Northern Territory Government to undertake this important work under this agreement over the next decade and make these changes for the benefit of our people.”

Media Contact: Cameron Angus 0404 021 192

Scullion draws anger over legal funding

Australia’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has been criticised by Aboriginal groups for giving nearly half a million dollars to non-indigenous lobby groups for legal funding.

Northern Land Council chairman Joe Morrison says it is a “poor look” that public money meant for Aboriginal people was being used by third parties opposed to land claims.

The NT Seafood Council, NT Amateur Fishermen’s Association and NT Cattlemen’s Association shared in $465,000 earlier this year to pay lawyers to help them demonstrate how outstanding Aboriginal land claims would cause them detriment…..

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Indigenous advancement funding redirected to cattlemen and fishing groups

Nigel Scullion gave almost half a million dollars to groups to argue how they might be negatively impacted by land rights claims.

Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion has given almost half a million dollars’ worth of funds earmarked for alleviating Indigenous disadvantage to fishing and cattlemen’s groups in the Northern Territory. The grants will go towards legal fees for the groups to argue how they might be negatively impacted by land rights claims, he told a Senate estimates hearing last week.

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Tony Abbott challenged to support indigenous ‘bush university’

A remote Northern Territory ­Aboriginal community that was at the heart of Tony Abbott’s 2013 declaration that he would be a “prime minister for indigenous ­affairs” has challenged him to back its comprehensive plan for educational reform in his new role as special envoy.

Data shows only 20 per cent of Aboriginal students in the region continue past Year 8, leaving the vast majority unemployable and many on track for jail.

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Turnbull must pursue treaty with Indigenous Australians

Garma tells us it is time for Australia to become home to those whose ancestors have been here for 65,000 years and to those who came later. But first there must be an acknowledgment that the land was taken by force. There was war, genocide and atrocities from both sides. To heal, there must be recognition of war, loss and grief followed by a treaty, a makarrata. That need not undermine the sovereignty of the Australian nation if couched correctly. Surely, it is not beyond the wit and wisdom of our best lawyers, conservative and progressive alike, to achieve that.

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FactCheck: has Australia’s net debt doubled under the current government?

As the government and opposition seek to establish their economic credentials in the lead-up to the next federal election, we can expect to hear plenty about the relative performances of the Coalition and Labor Party with regard to government deficits and debt. On Q&A, shadow minister for finance Jim Chalmers claimed that “under the current Government, we have had net debt double”. Is that right?

Education Department contract handed to friend of minister without undergoing tender process

A former Northern Territory Education Department bureaucrat who cost taxpayers thousands in a payout for engaging in derogatory emails about a bullied teacher has been handed a consultancy contract that did not go through a competitive process.

Former Palmerston Regional School director Hylton Hayes was awarded the $19,000 contract two weeks before then-education minister Eva Lawler left the portfolio during a Cabinet reshuffle last month. Mr Hayes is a friend and campaign volunteer of Ms Lawler’s.

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