This document provides general information only and may be subject to change at any time.
The Jabiru Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are current as of 22 March 2021.
The Commonwealth Government, the Northern Territory Government, Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA) and the Mirarr Traditional Owners represented by Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the future of Jabiru Township. The four parties are working together to reposition Jabiru as a sustainable tourism and regional services hub.
Jabiru Kabolkmakmen Ltd has opened an office and display space in the Jabiru Town Plaza. The display space is a physical location for residents and tourists wanting more information about the future of Jabiru. Visitors and residents can see the proposed future layout of the town and get answers to their questions about proposed works and how to register an interest in future investment or housing.
Jabiru Kabolkmakmen Ltd (JKL) is a company limited by guarantee and represents a collaborative and innovative approach between the Northern Territory Government and the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation. JKL is committed to the following three priorities:
- Support the transition of ownership, leasing and maintenance of housing, business premises and other infrastructure from the current town Headlease to new township leasing arrangements
- Provide services to the founding members and other major stakeholders, which support and progress detailed implementation of the Jabiru Masterplan.
- Support local and regional economic development for Jabiru, Kakadu and the West Arnhem region.
JKL will assist residents and businesses throughout the transition period from current sub-leases with the Jabiru Town Development Authority (JTDA) expiring on 30 June 2021. JKL will continue the administration of the Sub-Lease Allocation Plan to provide current and future residents, businesses and government agencies in Jabiru with long term certainty of tenure (refer Q27). JKL will provide coordination and facilitation support to the MOU Parties in delivering their commitments.
Most of the land in Kakadu National Park is Aboriginal land.
Jabiru was excluded when the land grant was made in the 1980s because of the need for the town to support the Ranger mine. However, the Mirarr Traditional Owners have been recognised by the Federal Court as having continued native title rights and interests in Jabiru. With the end of mining, there is now a pathway for Jabiru to become Aboriginal land under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth) (ALRA). This will occur at the same time as a lease over the town is granted to Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation Jabiru Town as the approved township entity under ALRA.
The Jabiru Masterplan sets out the Traditional Owners’ vision for the future of the town to be:
“A world leading ecologically sustainable, economically and socially vibrant community where traditional Aboriginal culture, all people and the natural environment flourish.”
The Jabiru Masterplan demonstrates the Traditional Owners’ support for the future of the town. The Mirarr Traditional Owners have supported the principle of the town continuing beyond mining. The Masterplan is the foundation document used to develop the Jabiru Business Case (refer Q6).
The Jabiru Footprint is a visual representation of the Jabiru Masterplan (refer Q7).
The Jabiru Business Case outlines a pathway for capital investment to transform Jabiru to an Aboriginal led tourism hub and government services town.
The Business Case outlines catalyst projects and investment opportunities that are key for creating the circumstances to secure Jabiru’s future economic viability. These include:
- A Bininj Resource Centre to cater for all Indigenous groups in the region.
- A World Heritage Interpretative Centre to showcase the Park’s natural and cultural values
- 5-star tourist accommodation not currently available to the Park
- A new Government Services and Retail Centre.
The Jabiru Business Case includes a visual representation of proposed developments in the Jabiru Footprint aerial image (refer Q7).
The Jabiru Footprint aerial image is a visual representation of how the repurposed and redeveloped Jabiru could look as the new regional centre for Kakadu National Park tourism and government services.
The Footprint shows the location, scale and purpose of the town and will be used in conjunction with the Jabiru Masterplan and the Jabiru Planning Scheme to guide rehabilitation and remediation of existing infrastructure as well as the development of future infrastructure.
Although this aerial image will guide future developments; adjustments and modifications to the location, type and appearance of future infrastructure will be determined as part of the detailed implementation and planning phase currently underway.
Construction will commence mid-2021, with the Jabiru Hybrid Renewable power project.
Planning works have been underway since the announcement of the public commitments. Before any detailed construction timelines could be developed, assessments of all town infrastructure were completed to inform decisions about the condition of existing infrastructure and any remediation works that must be completed prior to the expiry of current leasing arrangements on 30 June 2021. These assessments were initiated by the Director of National Parks and completed in December 2019.
A Jabiru Masterplan Key Milestones Schedules will be made available in 2021.
The West Arnhem Regional Council (WARC) will continue to be an important service provider in Jabiru. WARC will continue to operate from its head office in Jabiru and will be involved in the planning and implementation of the Jabiru Masterplan.
Existing Infrastructure and Services
The NT Government has guaranteed the provision of services such as education, health, police, fire and emergency services at current service levels until 30 June 2023, irrespective of changes in Jabiru’s population. Residents of Jabiru, tourists and other communities in the West Arnhem region can be certain that current service levels will be maintained. The Northern Territory Government will plan for future service delivery after June 2023 based on the needs of a stabilised population.
Under the current town headlease arrangements, all current sub-lease holders are required to undertake rectification works prior to the expiry of the Headlease.
To better understand rehabilitation and remediation works, assessments of all town infrastructure were initiated by the Director of National Parks (DNP) and completed in December 2019. The DNP, as the current lessor for the town Headlease, approved comprehensive assessments on all lots located on the Jabiru Headlease area. These assessments included structural, electrical, hydraulic, ecological, hazardous building materials (including asbestos) and mould inspections. These assessments will determine whether all requirements under current lease arrangements have been duly performed and will provide a report about the condition of all buildings, structures, infrastructure or other improvement in, on or over each lot.
These assessments are now complete and inform the pre-condition required to be met by the Northern Land Council for any future tenure arrangement.
In 2019, the Director of National Parks as the lessor approved comprehensive assessments on all existing civic infrastructure to determine the removal, replacement or upgrade works required for the transition to the new grant. All assessments have been completed and reports are being finalised. Upon completion of these assessments, the MoU Parties in conjunction with Jabiru Kabolkmakmen will work to develop a program for the completion of the rectification and remediation requirement applicable to all civic infrastructure that also supports the repurposing and redevelopment of Jabiru in accordance with the Jabiru Masterplan.
The NT Government has committed to the ongoing provision of essential services including power, water, sewage infrastructure, and waste disposal.
Some new works will be required in order to increase the operational life span of essential services infrastructure including power, water, sewage, and waste disposal.
The NT Government has guaranteed essential health services at current levels for five years from 1 July 2018.
The NT Government’s commitment of $135.5 million towards the repurposing of Jabiru as a government services centre includes funding to upgrade medical facilities to ensure adequate health services are provided to the region. The Northern Territory Government will work with the community and existing healthcare providers to develop a detailed plan to upgrade medical facilities in Jabiru.
The current childcare centre will not cease operations unless an alternate facility is provided and will continue to be operated by the West Arnhem Regional Council as part of the NT Government’s commitment to services in Jabiru.
The NT Government’s commitment of $135.5 million towards the repurposing of Jabiru as a government services centre includes funding for a new government services centre. Further planning will investigate whether a new childcare centre could be provided as part of this facility, or whether to retain the current childcare centre.
The Alberto Luglietti Memorial Swimming Pool will remain and continue to be operated by the West Arnhem Regional Council.
The Northern Territory Government is building a hybrid power station to service the town of Jabiru. The procurement process for the hybrid power station will be finalised in the New Year, with the plant to be up and running by the end of 2021.
Works to upgrade the electricity network will be conducted through 2021/22 to ensure it is ready to receive new generation supplied by a hybrid power station.
The repurposing of Jabiru as a government services centre will include the Northern Territory Government providing funding for the planning and implementation of ongoing access to aviation services which are currently located on the Ranger Project Area and provided by ERA.
The MoU Parties are considering the options to secure ongoing access to aviation services for Jabiru and Kakadu National Park. The optimum solution will depend on economic viability, the availability and access to land and the technical, economic and environmental impacts of the various options.
No ‘town camp’ residents will be forced to move as a result of any new development unless and until alternative living arrangements have been made.
‘Town camp’ was originally a temporary solution for transient visitors to Jabiru. Decisions and details of the future accommodation for current residents of Town Camp will only be made in close consultation with the residents. For more information residents should refer to the Manabadurma Town Camp update provided by the Northern Territory Government.
Yes, approximately 10 properties may require demolition.
As part of the rectification requirement of the current sub-leases (refer Q12) some houses may require demolition due to the state of disrepair. It is anticipated that approximately 10 properties may come under this category.
Some houses are in areas that may be needed to support the repurposing and redevelopment of the town. The final planning for redevelopment is not completed and if any demolition of residential dwellings is required to make way for other developments, consultation with residents will occur well in advance to discuss both the timing of demolition and any alternative accommodation requirements. If residents currently living in this area are concerned or would like more information they should contact Jabiru Kabolkmakmen Ltd (refer Q2).
Tenure, Leasing, and Access to Housing
The current Headlease for the town expires on 1 July 2021.
The Jabiru Township Development Authority (JTDA) currently holds the Headlease for the town from the Director of National Parks. The JTDA has granted sub-leases over individual lots to various sub-lessees. The Headlease and all sub-leases expire on 1 July 2021.
The MOU Parties are committed to ensuring new tenure arrangements are in place prior to 30 June 2021.
The proposed new lease over the town of Jabiru is a township lease in favour of an approved township entity (refer Q24) pursuant to section 19A of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. (Cth).
The MoU Parties are committed to the preferred future tenure arrangements for the town and are now taking the necessary steps to implement the new tenure before the expiry of the current headlease. This is supported by the Traditional Owners, ERA and both levels of government.
The new section19A township lease tenure is intended to commence on or before the expiry of the current Headlease.
Certainty of tenure is critical to the economic development of Jabiru. The Sub Lease Allocation Plan (refer Q26) was developed to provide a pathway to new lease arrangements prior to the commencement of the proposed section 19A lease.
Section 19A of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth) is a mechanism for establishing township leases over a township on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory. Township leases can be for a period of up to 99 years. Township leases streamline land administration by creating secure tenure over Aboriginal land. A head lease is agreed by traditional owners and is held by an independent entity approved by the Commonwealth which is responsible for issuing subleases and other interests to third parties (refer Q23). Subleases can be used as security against bank loans and are tradeable. The area subject to a township lease remains Aboriginal land and traditional owners receive the benefit of rent generated by the subleases and other interests.
A head lease is held by an independent entity approved by the Commonwealth under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth), and is responsible for issuing subleases and other interests to third parties. Township leases were originally designed to be held by the Executive Director of Township Leasing (EDTL) on behalf of individual communities. Community entity township leasing enables traditional owners to hold a head lease, instead of the EDTL, through an approved entity such as a local Aboriginal corporation.
Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation Jabiru Town has been approved by the Commonwealth Minister as the township entity for Jabiru.
The Township Entity will issue and administer the new sub-leases granted under the section 19A lease. The Township Entity will issue the sub-leases guided by the Sub-lease Allocation Plan being developed by Jabiru Kabolkmakmen in consultation with current sub-lessees and residents.
The change of tenure means that all businesses in Jabiru will need to apply for new leases under the new tenure arrangements. Businesses and residents in Jabiru are encouraged to contact Jabiru Kabolkmakmen Ltd (JKL) to ensure their requirements for sub-leases or access to rental properties are included in the Sub-Lease Allocation Plan. To the greatest extent possible, JKL will work to ensure that the change of tenure causes minimal disruption to the continuation of both businesses and residents. The change of tenure will result in rent being payable to the approved township entity by all sub-lessees from the date of the new sub-leases. Other conditions may also be included in the new sub-leases such as requirements for insurance or a requirement to repair or rectify any defective buildings subject to the sub-lease.
This plan has been developed by the Mirarr Traditional Owners with the assistance and support of Jabiru Kabolkmakmen Ltd.
This plan describes the approach of the Mirarr Traditional Owners to administering the township of Jabiru. The plan supports fair and transparent opportunity for current and future residents and investors and supports services for the wider region.
JKL has an Allocation Request process in place for individuals and businesses to both confirm the accuracy of current housing usage and to request an allocation of future sub-leases or housing as part of the Sub-Lease Allocation Plan. Both the Sub-Lease Allocation Plan and the Allocation Request Form can be found at www.jabirukabolkmakmen.com.au. Contact JKL for more information on the Allocation Request Form (refer Q2). For costs associated with securing a sub-lease or tenancy refer Q29.
Yes, Jabiru will continue to be an industry-based town where housing is linked to employment.
Under a section 19A township lease there is a cost for acquiring a sub-lease and an annual sublease fee.
This will be in addition to any rates or other outgoings. The approved township entity will calculate the costs by reference to commercial rates and land valuation. If businesses require further information on expected rent payments under a section 19A township lease, please get in touch with Jabiru Kabolkmakmen for more details.
Jabiru Kabolkmakmen Ltd is currently working on a number of proposals to best support the town through the transition from a mining-based economy to a tourism and government services hub. Currently, the new Jabiru township housing entity has not yet been established and there is no timeframe around when rental rates will become available. Jabiru Kabolkmakmen recognises that equitable access to private rental housing is critical to the economic future of the town and is working hard to ensure this information is available to Jabiru residents.
The expiry of the Headlease over Jabiru coincides with the closure of the Ranger mine, the requirement to rehabilitate the mine infrastructure and a broader need to re-invigorate Kakadu National Park.
Both the Northern Territory Government and the Commonwealth Government have recognised that this is a pivotal moment for the future of both the town and the Park and that this is the right time to make a significant investment decision for the long term future. Based on the Jabiru Business Case by the Stafford Strategy Consultancy Group it is expected that key strategic investment will create up to 1,700 new job opportunities and contribute $1.02b in total economic output to the Northern Territory economy over the next ten years.
The Commonwealth and Northern Territory Government’s commitment to Jabiru and Kakadu National Park is reflected in the combined $351.7 million of funding that was pledged early in 2019. This funding will be pivotal in achieving the objectives of the Masterplan to make Jabiru an Aboriginal owned, sustainable national park tourism town that celebrates its cultural heritage and provides employment opportunities for Aboriginal people as well as encourage education and research in the region.
The Northern Territory Government has committed $135.5 million towards the future viability of Jabiru. More information on the NT Government funding commitment can be found here
The Commonwealth Government has committed $216 million for the future of Jabiru and Kakadu. More information on the Commonwealth funding commitment can be found here
The MoU parties will work to leverage the significant investment of public funding to attract more private investment in the future.
The first priority is to ensure the viability of the town and continuation of services for residents and visitors to Jabiru with the exit of ERA. From a tourism perspective, a key focus of early works will be on infrastructure to extend the shoulder season in the Park, with priority given to examine the most effective road investments. The Northern Territory Government is also working with Traditional Owners and Parks Australia to identify new experiences to attract more people in to experience Jabiru and Kakadu.