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Groote Eylandt Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA) (Stage 1)

Date: 20 May 2008
Sub Category:Lease | Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA)
Place:Groote Eylandt
State/Country:Northern Territory, Australia
Alternative Names:
  • Groote Eylandt 40-year lease
  • Regional Partnership Agreement between the Anindilyakwa Land Council the Commonwealth of Australia and the Northern Territory Government
  • Subject Matter:Economic Development | Education | Employment and Training | Health and Community Services | | Land Transaction | Law - Policy and Justice | Leadership
    Summary Information:
    The Groote Eylandt Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA) was signed between the Commonwealth Government, the Northern Territory Government and the Anindilyakwa Land Council on 20 May 2008 at Groote Eylandt. It is the first RPA in the Northern Territory.

    The RPA was comprised of several projects, broadly dealing with township leases, education outcomes, economic development and employment, housing, health, leadership and governance and progress towards a second stage of the Agreement.

    To access the full text of the agreement, please refer to the 'documents' section of this entity. To compare the RPA with that which was being negotiated with the previous Commonwealth Government in 2007, see the link below to the Groote Eylandt Agreement-In-Principle for 99-Year Leases.

    The Groote Eylandt RPA Stage 1 has now been replaced with the Groote Eylandt RPA Stage 2 (although much of the Stage 1 agreement remains in effect- having been incorporated into the Stage 2 agreement). Please refer to file number A004993 for detailed information about Stage 2 and full text of the agreement.

    Detailed Information:
    Principles and Objectives

    The RPA aimed to achieve sustainable and measurable improvements for people in the Anindilyakwa region across the areas of:
    - housing;
    - health services;
    - education outcomes;
    - employment and business development outcomes;
    - community safety; and
    - local organisations' governance capacities (Regional Partnership Agreement, 2008, 3-4).

    The RPA was based on principles drawn from a Heads of Agreement signed by the parties in 2006 and the 'National Framework Principles for Service Delivery to Indigenous Australians' which were endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments in 2004.

    These principles include:
    - a recognition of the need for all parties to strengthen efforts to address the full extent of Indigenous disadvantage;
    - shared responsibility;
    - streamlining and improving service delivery;
    - establishing transparency and accountability;
    and a recongition of the need to build capacity and strengthen governance (Regional Partnership Agreement, 2008, 3-4).

    Development and services

    The Commonwealth Government and the Northern Territory Government agreed to provide more than $25 million for development and services, including housing, education, law and order, health, employment, economic development and leadership (Macklin 2008).

    These services include:
  • construction of at least 26 houses from July 2008;
  • upgrading of existing houses through the Fixing Houses for Better Health program from July 2008;
  • a review of education needs by a hired consultant;
  • a review of employment needs;
  • indigenous training programs conducted by Groote Eylandt Bickerton Island Enterprises (GEBIE), which is the business arm of Anindilyakwa Land Council;
  • a grant from the Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) of $2 million for establishment of a construction company, to construct at least 10 houses for lease or sale to community members, GEMCO or government agencies;
  • investment in health infrastructure for primary health care (see Macklin 2008; Robinson 2008).


    The RPA includes agreement to a lease that covers the townships of Angurugu (Groote Eylandt), Umbakumba (Groote Eylandt) and Milyakburra (Bickerton Island).

    In Decemeber 2008, the lease was finalised. This is the first township lease over more than one community, and covered the three communities for 40 years, with a option for renewal for another 40 years (Macklin, Dec 2008). The lease is administered by the Executive Director of Township Leasing, a statutory officer.

    Indigenous Affairs Minister, Jenny Macklin MP, stated that '[t]he purpose of the lease is to enable businesses to establish themselves on Groote Eylandt' (Smiles 2008).

    Land deeds

    During the signing ceremony, Jenny Macklin MP handed a framed copy of the deeds to Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island to the traditional owners. The deeds are held by the Anindilyakwa Land Council after previously being held at the Northern Land Council (Smiles 2008).

    Performance Management and Evaluation

    The RPA establishes the Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island Regional Partnership Committee, which will comprise representatives of the parties, and will meet at least quarterly in order to provide strategic leadership for the RPA. The RPA also provides guidelines for an internal resolution process of concerns raised by the Committee.

    In addition, the RPA provides for the development of baseline data and an independent review of the Agreement in its third year of operation (Regional Partnership Agreement, 2008, 3-4)
  • Outcomes:
    The Groote Eylandt RPA Stage 1 has now been replaced with the Groote Eylandt RPA Stage 2 (although much of the Stage 1 agreement remains in effect- having been incorporated into the Stage 2 agreement). Please refer to file number A004993 for detailed information about Stage 2 and full text of the agreement.

    Related Entries

  • Groote Eylandt Agreement-In-Principle for 99-year Leases - Previous
  • Groote Eylandt Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA) (Stage 2) - Previous
  • Organisation
  • Commonwealth of Australia - Signatory
  • Northern Territory of Australia - Signatory
  • Anindilyakwa Land Council - Signatory
  • Groote Eylandt Mining Company Pty Ltd
  • Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island Enterprises Aboriginal Corporation (GEBIE)
  • Legislation
  • Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth)
  • People
  • Anindilyakwa People
  • Policy/Strategy
  • National Framework of Principles for Delivering Services to Indigenous Australians

  • Documents

    Regional Partnership Agreement: Groote Eylandt - ( PDF)


    Regional Partnership Agreement (RPA) (Australia)

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