The EDS is now advancing into a five-year pilot phase of the Economic Development Strategy with six at-scale commercial projects (totalling ~$60m [CAPEX+OPEX] and ~1100ha). The Pilot Projects, which have been modelled with support of finance industry, are to:
- prove the commercial viability of the strategy;
- develop a mechanism that facilitates Land Councils, NTG, Commonwealth and industry to collaborate in the economic and social development of Aboriginal Land Trusts;
- develop joint Land Council, NTG and Commonwealth program planning and delivery systems;
- research approaches that support development in cross-cultural and complex environments;
- and provide a practical opportunity to report on, monitor and evaluate the strategy.
Concurrently, ALEDA and the Land Councils will be preparing other potential projects as investment ready opportunities at different locations across the NT. These will form the basis of the Land and Opportunities Prospectus and associated Investment Information Memorandum for release in 2023⁄24 to raise upwards of ~$250M for projects beyond the initial Pilot Projects.
The pilot phase of the EDS is a unique opportunity to engage and restructure current development approaches. It provides an opening for research, development and the trialling of additional processes regarding self-determination, empowerment and Indigenous-led economic development to improve livelihoods.
The model has passed through the due diligence process of the finance sector. Pivotal to the model is that leases and sub-leases from Aboriginal freehold land have been ruled as fungible from a leading bank and law firm.
The two regional trials, which are the social component of the strategy, will focus on the land-based policy framework to ensure that development is inclusive, equitable and prosperous. This concerns aspects that are important to support the success of the individual project’s development (including stakeholder relations, service provision, research and development, capacity building and governance). The social focus is to ensure that the development is what people want, is done according to their requirements and supports the outcomes they wish to see.