The Northern Territory Treaty Commission is usually headed up by the NT Treaty Commissioner. However, with the departure of the inaugural Treaty Commissioner, and given that the Commission’s Final Report is due in March 2022, the Commission will be headed by an Acting Treaty Commissioner for the balance of its term.

This role is currently being advertised and closes on Friday 5 November 2021. For information about the role and to download a nomination form go to the Office of Aboriginal Affairs website.

Over its three year life which commenced in March 2019, the role of the Treaty Commissioner was to consult with Aboriginal people across the Northern Territory and conduct research to inform development of a framework for future treaty negotiations. The Treaty Commissioner delivered an Interim Report in March 2020 and a detailed Discussion Paper for public release in June 2020. A Final Report to the NT Chief Minister on the outcomes of the consultations and recommendations for the framework will be delivered in March 2022.

The Acting Treaty Commissioner will guide the process of completing to Final Report and handing this to the Chief Minister.

Extract from the Barunga Agreement 2018

At an historic meeting at the Barunga Festival in June 2018, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the four Northern Territory Statutory Land Councils and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory Government.

In the MOU, it was agreed that:

a) Aboriginal people, the First Nations, were the prior owners and occupiers of the land, seas and waters that are now called the Northern Territory of Australia.
b) The First Nations of the Northern Territory were self-governing in accordance with their traditional laws and customs; and that
c) First Nations peoples of the Northern Territory never ceded sovereignty of their lands, seas and waters.

It is also agreed there has been deep injustice done to the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory, including violent dispossession, the repression of their languages and cultures, and the forcible removal of children from their families, which have left a legacy of trauma, and loss that needs to be addressed and healed.”