The Aboriginal community of Mutitjulu is celebrating the signing of a historic town lease that will finally provide local control over decision-making, as well as millions in investment in housing and other services.
The Township leasing agreement signed yesterday means the local community will be responsible for managing their own affairs. Under the previous arrangement, the Commonwealth Director of National Park was responsible for the community, because it sits on Aboriginal land that is part of the Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park 99-year lease.
Among the benefits will be a $10 million investment in housing for the community delivered between the Northern Territory and federal Governments.
Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation chairman and traditional owner Sammy Wilson thanked the minister and others involved but said there was work ahead for the community.
Sammy Wilson, Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation Chairman said in a statement: “I wish to thank nguraritja, who are all of the Traditional Owners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. We will always be true as landowners and people of law and culture and Mutitjulu will now be under the careful watch and control of Anangu.
“Most of all, I want to thank the old people tjilpi munu bumpa of Mutitjulu who have fought for and supported their right to be treated the same as any other Australian.
“Together we are now on one road to the future.”
The federal government has also promised a $2 million in development funding to create a community and business hub in Mutitjulu.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion attended the signing yesterday and said the new agreement would provide security and financial opportunities for the Mutitjulu.
“Residents of Mutitjulu should have similar opportunities to start their own businesses and I am pleased to be able to support this initiative that will deliver jobs for the residents of this community,” Minister Scullion said.
“This sublease will also promote economic and community development in Mutitjulu. Income from the sublease will flow back to the community to be used to support new business ventures, for instance in tourism, and invest in community infrastructure.