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Legal right to carry out projects on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory, subject to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976

21 November 2016

 

The purpose of this advice is to clarify what evidence the Clean Energy Regulator will accept as establishing an applicant's legal right to undertake a proposed Emissions Reduction Fund emissions avoidance project in the Northern Territory on land subject to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (the ALR Act). Savanna burning is an example of an emissions avoidance project.

Establishing that the applicant is the person responsible for carrying out the project and has the legal right to carry out the project is necessary for a project to be registered by the Clean Energy Regulator.

The circumstances in which a person has a legal right to carry out a project are not provided for in the Emissions Reduction Fund legislation and must be determined separately. The legal right to carry out a project will most commonly relate to the estate or interest an applicant has in relation to the land on which the project will be carried out.

Land Trusts​

Land Trusts established under the ALR Act hold land title in the Northern Territory and as such, have all the rights of the owner of the land. These rights must be exercised for the benefit of Traditional owners concerned and in accordance with the directions of the Land Council for the area in which the land is situated.

As owner of the land, the Land Trust is also able to permit others to use the land, including granting an estate or interest in the land that allows that person exclusive possession of the land, such as a leasehold. Thus a person who acts with the authority of the Land Trust to conduct an offsets project would also have a legal right to carry out that project on the land. A leaseholder with a right to exclusive possession of the land would also generally have the right to conduct a Emissions Reduction Fund sequestration project and to authorise or licence others to do so.

Accordingly, applicants for proposed Emissions Reduction Fund emissions avoidance projects in the Northern Territory on land subject to the ALR Act are encouraged to provide evidence to the Clean Energy Regulator that in undertaking the emissions avoidance project they are doing so as the agent or with the permission of, or under licence from, the relevant Land Trust or leaseholder.

Evidence of the legal right to carry out a Emissions Reduction Fund​ emissions avoidance project could be the results of a title search, correspondence confirming the applicant is acting with the authority of or permission of the relevant Land Trust or interest holder and evidence of the resolution of the Land Council to undertake an emissions avoidance project on that area of land.

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