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Dismantling the Land Rights Act
99 year leases


Statement by Rev. Dr Djiniyini Gondarra OAM regarding MOUs on township 99 year leases

6 November 2013

I express my deep concern at the actions of the Abbott Government as evidenced by the behaviour of the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Scullion, in hastily procuring MOUs on township leases for 99 years in Gunbalanya and Yirrkala in recent weeks. He is quoted as saying that this was part of a blitz to encourage other communities around the country to sign similar deals.

For his full statement: please click here

The Australian - 18 November 2013
Overhaul township leasing system, says Northern Land Council
THE powerful Northern Land Council is calling for the federal 99-year township leasing system to be overhauled in a bid to increase the benefits to remote Aboriginal communities.
The council has also rejected claims by a senior indigenous leader that he is a traditional owner excluded from recent negotiations with Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion over a lease.
or click here

NITV News - 27 November 2013
Malcolm Fraser criticises government's leasehold plan
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has criticised a federal government push to introduce 99-year leaseholds over some Northern Territory communities. ... Mr Fraser is among a growing number opponents to the plan who say there has been little community consultation to date. "If the government is wanting 99-year leases, it goes a long way to making sure Aboriginals can no longer control their own land," Mr Fraser said. That view is shared by senior Indigenous figure Rosalie Kunoth-Monks.

ACM Sydney - 29 November 2013
The dismantling of the Land Rights Act (NT) 1976 forum
On Wednesday Graeme and I attended a forum held by 'concerned Australians'. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear Utopia Elder Rosalie Kunoth-Monks speak about her concerns with 99 year leases and other challenges communities are facing. It was also an opportunity to hear expert legal and political analysis of the Federal Government’s proposed 99 year leases. Below is a letter that Michele Harris has sent out today regarding the forum. Also attached is a letter from Rev. Dr Djiniyini Gondarra sent to the Australian newspaper Djiniyini and The Australian- referred to by Michele below. As Michele says this letter is of great educational value and I would recommend it to you. Regards, Gabrielle ...

ACM Sydney - 29 November 2013
The dismantling of the Land Rights Act (NT) 1976 forum
Dear Friends, I would like to thank all those who attended the conversation on  the "Dismantling of the Aboriginal land Rights Act (NT) 1976" yesterday [Wednesday 27th]. To those who were unable to attend  I wanted to let you know that we will attempt to use the material from the event to make a couple of you tubes which we will be able to send to you sometime soon. It is clear from the legal advice that was provided, from both Alastair Nicholson and Frank Vincent, that there is a great deal for NT communities to be concerned about as our new Government offers considerable sums of money in return for 99-year leases. ... Thank you. Michele Harris 'concerned Australians'
[scroll down page]

See also 'concerned Australians':


Media Coverage

Koori Mail - Elder in Fight for 'Cultural Survival' - 4 December 2013 -
'I think every First Nations person should be concerned when we've fought so hard for land rights and now they're going to be taken back.'
- Alyewarre Elder Rosalie Kunoth-Monks
For the full article: please click here (edition 565, page 9)


Koori Mail - edition 565 - Gathering held in Canberra -  4 December 2013
... "Regarding the proposed issuing of 99-year leases in the NT, the Sovereign Union supports the Alyewerre Nation and People's opposition to the threat of these leases over their land. ...


The Stringer - Nigel Scullion responds to criticisms about the 99-year-leases  - 1 December 2013
n the November 20, 2013 edition of The National Indigenous Times, journalist Gerry Georgatos wrote of a wave of fear that has gripped Aboriginal communities outside of the Northern Territory, that the 99-year-leases proposed to Northern Territory communities will soon be proposed to communities in South Australia’s APY lands and elsewhere in Australia. Senator Nigel Scullion, Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Gerry Georgatos recently discussed these concerns: ...

Sovereign Union - NT News - No 99 year leases - No oil and gas exploration say Arnhem Land clans - 19 November 2013
... Eddie Mason has come to town to tell the Territory Government he doesn't want oil and gas exploration off the Arnhem Land coast - and he doesn't want 99-year leases on his land. The Maningrida resident and Bulachani clan law man said he had been given permission to speak on behalf of the 25 clans of the Amburra Nation and Japana Nation. And he said the Government would not come and see him. He has hand-delivered a letter to a representative of Chief Minister Adam Giles at the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly."

NITV News - A modern day invasion threatens Aboriginal community - 8 November 2013
A high profile Indigenous leader has said the Federal Government's push towards a 99 year township lease on Aboriginal communities is a modern day invasion. Reverend Djiniyini Gondarra from the Northern Territory says the government's consultations have been rushed and haven't been inclusive. Reverend Gondarra is one of Arnhem Land's most respected elders and has a strong message for the Federal Government. "We are concerned about the 99 year lease because the question has not been addressed properly and there has not been preparation given to people," says reverend Gondarra. ...

The Wire - Traditional Owners reject 99-year leases - 7 November 2013
Aboriginal Land Rights are again in spotlight as the Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion seeks to negotiate 99-year township leases in Arnhem Land. Traditional owners are expressing displeasure, claiming they have been excluded from consultations about the the plans. Traditional owners in Arnhem Land are claiming that the new leases are dismantling the Land Rights Act (NT) 1976 and are calling for other Aboriginal Communities to reject the plans.
Featured in story: Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra

The Australian - Nigel Scullion faces rebellion on leases - 7 November 2013
SEVERAL traditional owners are declaring that an agreement signed with Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion to negotiate a 99-year township lease by next September is "null and void" because they were not consulted. Yirrkala, a town wracked by petrol-sniffing, kava abuse and unemployment, recently became the second Arnhem Land community to sign an agreement with Senator Scullion to negotiate a 99-year township lease that would allow private ownership...
or click here

The Australian - Truancy army to get kids to school - 31 October 2013
SCORES of truancy workers will be sent to individual homes in remote indigenous communities as Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion designs a new emergency response to get children to school and deliver a measurable increase in student attendance from the first term next year. ... The Australian can also reveal a second Arnhem Land community has signed an agreement with Senator Scullion to negotiate a 99-year township lease by September next year...
or click here


Background to support for the Yolngu statement and opposition to the 'Stronger Futures' laws
* Yolngu Nations Assembly Statements and Media Releases
* Compilations calling for: support for the Yolngu statement of 24 April 2012 and the abandonment of the Stronger Futures laws
* Supportive Statements, Media Releases and News (14 March 2012 - 8 July 2013)