Central Land Council

The Central Land Council is an Indigenous Land Council that represents the indigenous people of the southern half of the Northern Territory of Australia, predominantly in land issues. The head office is located in Alice Springs.

Its aims include:

  • Helping Aboriginal people recover land.
  • Consulting with landowners on mining activity, employment, development and other land use proposals.
  • Protecting Aboriginal culture and sacred sites.
  • Assisting with economic projects on Aboriginal land.
  • Promoting community development and improving service delivery.
  • Helping resolve land disputes, native title claims and compensation cases.
  • Running the permit system for visitors to Aboriginal land.

The Central Land Council region covers 771,747 square kilometres of remote, rugged and often inaccessible areas. There are 18,000 Aboriginal people from 15 different Aboriginal language groups in Central Australia. The region is divided into nine regions based on these language groups.

The Council is a representative body with statutory authority under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. It also has responsibilities under the Native Title Act 1993 and the Pastoral Land Act 1992.

Today Aboriginal people make up 27 per cent of the Northern Territory's population and own some 49% of the land in the Northern Territory.


The council has its origins in the struggle of Australian Aboriginal people for rights to fair wages and land. This included the strike and walk off by the Gurindji people at Wave Hill, cattle station in 1966.

The Commonwealth Government of Gough Whitlam set up the Aboriginal Land Rights Commission, a Royal Commission, in February 1973 to inquire into how land rights might be achieved in the Northern Territory. Justice Woodward's first report in July 1973 recommended that a Central Land Council and a Northern Land Council be established in order to present to him the views of Aboriginal people.

In response to the report of the Royal Commission a Land Rights Bill was drafted, but the Whitlam Government was dismissed before it was passed.

The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 was eventually passed by the Fraser Government on 16 December 1976 and began operation on Australia Day, that is 26 January 1977.

This Act established the basis upon which Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory could, for the first time, claim rights to land based on traditional occupation. In effect it allowed title to be transferred of most of the Aboriginal reserve lands and the opportunity to claim other land not owned, leased or being used by someone else.

Office locations

Communities and councils

  • Arrernte Council

Other NT Land Councils

The Central Land Council is one of four Land Councils in the Northern Territory, the others being:


    Australian National Audit Office

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