Township Leasing and the position of the Executive Director were both established in 2007 under amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. Under a Township Lease, a Township on Aboriginal Land is leased to the Executive Director to manage on a long term basis, usually from 80 to 99 years.
The Executive Director signs the Township Lease on behalf of the Australian Government, then manages the land in the Township for the Traditional Owners.
The Executive Director is an independent Commonwealth Statutory Officer who makes decisions about land use and development in the Township in partnership with a Consultative Forum of Traditional Owners.
The Executive Director of Township Leasing administers all land within a Township Lease. Land within the Township is Aboriginal land and will always belong to the Traditional Owners.
The Executive Director’s full-time salary and conditions are set by the Remuneration Tribunal. Details can be found on the Federal Register of Legislation website.
On 28 September 2018, the Commonwealth Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion, appointed Ms Pennie Weedon to the position of Executive Director for a term of three years.
For more information read our factsheet Who is the Executive Director of Township Leasing?
A township lease does not change the ownership of the land. It will always remain Aboriginal land, but it is leased to the Executive Director to manage on behalf of Traditional Owners for up to 99 years.
The township lease agreement sets out what the Executive Director can and cannot do upfront and how Traditional Owners still have a say about how land is managed.
Township leasing and the position of the Executive Director was set up under the amendments made to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act NT in 2006. The Executive Director is an independent statutory office holder who works in partnership with an advisory group of Traditional Owners called the consultative forum to make decisions about land use and development in the township.
The Executive Director works to ensure Traditional Owners receive a good economic return on their land including subleasing as much of the land as possible so that traditional owners receive an income from the rent that they can use to reinvest in economic or community development opportunities.