About the region

Jabiru is situated just over 250 km east of Darwin and covers a total area of 13.5 square kilometres. Jabiru was constructed to accommodate a mining industry workforce.

Jabiru map

The town has become the administrative and service centre for the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park and for the surrounding West Arnhem region of the Northern Territory.

Jabiru is the administrative centre for the Mirarr traditional owners. It is also the location of the majority of tourism infrastructure services. The town has historically relied on the operator of the Ranger Uranium Mine, Energy Resources of Australia Ltd, for many essential services such as the provision of power. New service solutions are required for the future.

Jabiru Tenure Information

The land in Jabiru is leased by the Commonwealth Director of National Parks (DNP) to the Jabiru Town Development Authority (JTDA), a Northern Territory Government statutory authority. This head-lease will expire on 30 June 2021. 

New arrangements are currently being negotiated whereby the freehold interest of the DNP will be replaced with a grant to an Aboriginal Land Trust under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 and new sub-leases will be negotiated with the Executive Director of Township Leasing (EDTL). A pre-condition for the new arrangements is a comprehensive assessment of the condition of the town infrastructure so that liability for remediating or otherwise bringing that infrastructure up to an acceptable standard can be negotiated between the relevant parties prior to the grant. 

While the EDTL cannot guarantee any offers of sub-leases prior to the commencement of the 19A lease, Jabiru Kabolkmakmen is working closely with stakeholders to formulate the Sub-Lease Allocation Plan to accommodate current and future residents, businesses and government agencies in Jabiru.

Existing sub-lessees are to be treated fairly and, subject to appropriate business planning, are given an opportunity to continue occupation and operations within the town with minimal disruption throughout the repurposing.
 

History

The Mirarr are the Traditional Aboriginal Owners of lands in the north of Australia’s Northern Territory.

Mirarr country is a stunning place. Most Mirarr land is within the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park including the vibrant wetlands of the Djabulukgu country and the stunning sandstone escarpment of Djidbidjidbi (Mount Brockman).

The Mirarr estate extends beyond Kakadu to Western Arnhem Land and also includes the Ranger uranium mine, the Jabiluka mineral lease and the mining town of Jabiru.

Mirarr country includes Australia’s oldest documented site of human occupation dated at around 65000 years. The land hosts a stunning array of ancient rock art which remains vitally connected to the life and culture of Mirarr and other local Aboriginal people.

The town of Jabiru was built on Mirarr land to support mining in the Alligator Rivers region by the Commonwealth government in 1970s. Mirarr people were excluded from the original construction and operation of the town.

With the imminent cessation of mining in the region and in recognition of the significant impact this will have on both the town and on Kakadu National Park, the Mirarr now take their place in leading the future management and development of the town.

The way forward

The Mirarr together with the Northern Territory government, the Commonwealth government and Energy Resources of Australia Ltd have identified eight goals, to support the Mirarr vision of Jabiru as a world leading ecologically sustainable, economically and socially vibrant community where traditional Aboriginal culture, all people and the natural environment flourishes.

All parties are working together to progress the planning for Jabiru’s future. 

In some cases, the decision-maker will be the entity, public or private, that owns or holds land tenure in Jabiru. In some cases, the decision-maker will be a Northern Territory government or Commonwealth government agency or grant program. The key to success is that all decision-making is guided by the one Jabiru Masterplan

Pathway graphic