Recent developments

  • In 2016, the new NT Government committed to conduct a conversation with Aboriginal Territorians about Treaty.
  • At an historic meeting of the 4 NT Statutory Land Councils and NT Government (represented by the Chief Minister – who at the time was the Aboriginal Affairs Minister - and the members for Namatjira and Arnhem) in March 2018, the NT Government and Land Councils agreed to establish a Treaty Working Group to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
  • The MOU was signed at the Barunga Festival on Friday 8 June 2018 by the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory and the CEOs of the four NT Land Councils in a public signing ceremony.
  • The MOU requires extensive consultation with all Aboriginal people across the Northern Territory to inform development of a framework for negotiating a Treaty.
  • The four NT Land Councils, as the statutory bodies representing Traditional Owners, are key and essential stakeholders in Treaty negotiations.  However, It is also acknowledged that there are a range of Aboriginal interests in the Northern Territory and that all Aboriginal people and their representative bodies must have the opportunity to engage fully in the process agreed to in the MOU
  • Under the TOR, the Treaty Commissioner is required to deliver an interim report and Discussion Paper for public release no later than 12 months after their appointment and a final report on the outcomes of consultations; recommendations on next steps; and a proposed negotiation framework for Treaty to proceed in the NT no more than 18 months after the provision of the first report and discussion paper to the Chief Minister.
  • Professor Mick Dodson AM was announced as the Treaty Commissioner in March 2019.
2019 Treaty Commissioner appointed
2018 Barunga Agreement
Historic MOU PDF (9.6 MB) signed between the 4 NT Statutory Land Councils and the NT Government that details how a Treaty Framework will be developed and commits to the appointment of an Independent Treaty Commissioner to lead the process
2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart  
Called for a truth-telling and Treaty process in Australia and recommended the establishment of a representative body that gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations a Voice in the Commonwealth Parliament.
2016 NT Government Commitment
New NT Government commits to a conversation with Aboriginal Territorians about a Treaty
1998 Kalkaringi Statement
Prepared in response to the Northern Territory’s bid for statehood – stating a failure of the Northern Territory Government to negotiate with Aboriginal people. Called for self-government, recognition of Aboriginal structures of law and governance, land rights to be protected, effective levels of representation in parliament, and a guarantee of human rights.
1988 Barunga Statement
Wenten Rubuntja (Central Land Council) and Galarrwuy Yunupingu (Northern Territory Council) present the Prime Minister Bob Hawke with the ‘Barunga Statement’ calling for a Treaty. The then Prime Minister commits to a Treaty by 1990.
1978 Northern Territory is granted self-government.
1963 Yirrkala Bark Petition
Bark Petition against mining on the Gove Peninsula, signed by senior men of the affected clans, is presented
to the Australian Governor General. The petition calls for a Parliamentary Committee to hear the views of the people of Yirrkala before permitting the excision of their land