• A township lease over the remote community of Yirrkala is under negotiation
A high profile Indigenous leader has said the Federal Government's push towards a 99 year township lease on Aboriginal communities is a modern day invasion.
By
Lindy Kerin

Source:
NITV News
8 Nov 2013 - 11:35 AM  UPDATED 11 Nov 2013 - 5:23 PM

A high profile Indigenous leader has said the Federal Government's push towards a 99 year township lease on Aboriginal communities is a modern day invasion.

Reverend Djiniyini Gondarra from the Northern Territory says the government's consultations have been rushed and haven't been inclusive.

Reverend Gondarra is one of Arnhem Land's most respected elders and has a strong message for the Federal Government.

“We are concerned about the 99 year lease because the question has not been addressed properly and there has not been preparation given to people,” says Reverend Gondarra.

The Federal Government has struck a deal to negotiate a township lease over the remote community of Yirrkala in north-east Arnhem Land, saying it will open up economic and home ownership opportunities.

However, Reverend Gondarra says he wants the agenda to be driven by communities and not the government.

“We will control it. This is another invasion; this is another colonisation, another approach of taking over everything. You know you cannot sell land for something, the land is so precious you cannot do that,” says Reverend Gondarra.

The push for township leases over Aboriginal communities began under the Howard government, and remains high on the agenda of Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his new Indigenous Advisory Council.