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Dhimurru Section 73 Agreement

Date: 16 November 2002
Sub Category:Indigenous Partnership | Joint Management Agreement
Place:Arnhem Land
State/Country:Northern Territory, Australia
Subject Matter: | Cultural Heritage | Employment and Training | Environmental Heritage | Land Management
Summary Information:
The Dhimurru Section 73 Agreement (the Agreement) is made under section 73 of the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act of the Northern Territory (the Act). The parties are the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Land Trust (Land Trust), the Northern Land Council (NLC), Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation (Dhimurru), the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory (PWCNT) and the Commonwealth of Australia (Commonwealth), represented by Environment Australia.

The Agreement is in relation to the Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) managed by Dhimurru and which is part of land which is Aboriginal owned and held by the Land Trust on behalf of the Aboriginal Traditional Owners (TAOs) of the land. Under s73 of the Act the PWCNT is empowered to enter into negotiations and finalise agreements with an Aboriginal Land Council relating to schemes for the protection and conservation of wildlife in and the protection of the natural features of Aboriginal land.

The parties have agreed to management and administration arrangements for the IPA in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Agreement.

The Agreement is the first s73 Agreement to be made in relation to an IPA.
Detailed Information:
The Agreement is for a term of 21 years from the date of execution, unless terminated in accordance with the terms of the Agreement. In the final year of the term, if desired, the parties can enter into negotiations for renewal of the Agreement on substantially the same terms and conditions.

The Agreement provides for the establishment of an Advisory Group which consists of 5 members appointed as follows:
  • Two by the Executive Committee of Dhimurru;
  • One by the Land Council;
  • One by the Commission; and
  • One by the Commonwealth.

    The Advisory Group is obliged to hold meetings not less than three times per year and is given administrative support by Dhimurru. It is responsible for developing recommendations relating to the management of the IPA for consideration of the Executive Committee of Dhimurru. These include but are not limited to:
  • The collaborative working relationship between the NLC, Dhimurru, the Commission and Environment Australia in the management of the Land;
  • The application of by-laws under the Act;
  • The preparation and assessment of the draft Plan of Management for the IPA or any proposed amendments to the Plan of Management;
  • The day-to-day management of the land;
  • The location and management of works and facilities on the IPA;
  • The development and implementation of programs for the protection of the environment of the IPA and for the protection of sacred sites and areas identified by the TAOs as being significant in accordance with Aboriginal tradition;
  • Protecting the rights of TAOs of the IPA to occupy and use the land, protecting maintenance of their traditions and promoting their involvement in management of the land;
  • Encouraging business and commercial initiatives and enterprises on the IPA by the TAOs which are consistent with the principles of an IPA;
  • Promoting the maintenance and application of the traditional ecological knowledge and skills of TAOs in the management of the land;
  • Promoting broad community awareness of, and respect for, the history, beliefs, laws, languages, culture, landscape management practices and skills of the TAOs;
  • The development of educational or interpretative programs designed to promote broad community awareness of the natural and cultural values of the IPA;
  • The development and implementation of training programs for Dhimurru and PWCNT staff involved in the management of the IPA; and
  • Entry onto and use of the IPA by the public.

    Under the Agreement Dhimurru has agreed to manage the IPA in accordance with the directions of the TAOs, Dhimurru's internal rules of governance, the Plan of Management, the Agreement, the Act and any relevant by-laws. It has agreed to:
  • Co-ordinate the daily management of the IPA through the services of rangers;
  • Liaise and collaborate with external agencies and individuals seeking to undertake activities which relate to or may impact upon the natural and cultural values of the IPA;
  • Issue permits for access to the IPA, collect fees and monitor visitor compliance with permit provisions and access conditions. (The NLC has delegated its power under the ALRA to Dhimurru to issue visitor permits); and
  • Facilitate natural and cultural resource impact assessments and activities designed to protect the values of those resources.

    Services agreed to be provided by the PWCNT are:
  • To assist Dhimurru in the training of ranger staff;
  • Other management support services as agreed upon;
  • Reviewing, devising and settling monthly work programs in consultation with senior rangers;
  • In consultation and joint operation with senior rangers or Dhimurru, enforce the by-laws that are extended to the IPA;
  • In consultation and joint operation with senior rangers of Dhimurru, devise and deliver programs of community education and extension activities concerning the IPA;
  • Design, review and settle in consultation with employees of Dhimurru and the Advisory Group, management programs provided for under section 32 of the Act.

    The NLC has statutory functions under the terms of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act (ALRA), including representation of and assistance to the TAOs of the IPA and consultations with TAOs regarding actions in relation to the land which require the consent of the NLC under the ALRA, eg consent to the draft Plan of Management or proposals for commercial development of the land. The NLC has agreed to give other management support services relevant to the management of the IPA as may be agreed, as well as to advise Dhimurru of any development proposals that it becomes aware of that may affect the IPA.

    The Agreement provides that Dhimurru, in collaboration with the PWCNT, the NLC and the TAOs, shall prepare a draft Plan of Management for the IPA, which shall reflect the management wishes of the TAOs. The Plan of Management shall provide a framework for addressing issues in the context of land management, including but not limited to:
  • Management of visitors, tourism and infrastructure;
  • Regulation of commercial activities;
  • Use of the land and its resources by the TAOs;
  • Maintenance of biological diversity;
  • Mapping the cultural landscape, the recording of traditional ecological knowledge and oral histories, and the management of sacred sites, archaeological sites and other sites of significance to TAOs;
  • Scientific investigation of fauna, flora and other elements of the natural environment;
  • Fire management and the control of feral animals and weeds.

    Other provisions of the Agreement are in relation to:
  • Insurance: whereby Dhimurru is required to take out and maintain public liability insurance to cover all its activities on the IPA for at least the sum of ten million dollars for any one event;
  • Disputes: whereby in the absence of agreement an arbitrator may be appointed by the Commonwealth Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs;
  • Confidentiality: whereby the parties have agreed that the terms of the Agreement are public;
  • Review of the terms and conditions of the agreement which is undertaken by the parties and the TAOs every five years.

  • Related Entries

  • Northern Land Council - Signatory
  • Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation - Signatory
  • Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory - Signatory
  • Department of the Environment and Heritage (Cth) - Signatory
  • Event
  • Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation Indigenous Protected Area Management Plan
  • Legislation
  • Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth)
  • Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1978 (NT)
  • People
  • Yolngu Traditional Owners
  • Place
  • Dhimurru Indigenous Protected Area

  • Glossary

    Joint Management Agreement | Indigenous Partnership

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