Homelands and outstations are interchangeable terms used in different parts of the Northern Territory to describe places where small populations of Aboriginal people live in remote areas, on lands to which they have traditional ownership or historical association.
The NT Government recognises and supports the fundamental right of Aboriginal Territorians to live on, develop and maintain their homelands. Support for Aboriginal people to live on, develop and maintain their homelands is also in line with international obligations.
Significant national and Northern Territory policies exist to support homeland residents to fulfil their aspiration to maintain and strengthen distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions on homelands. Homelands policy and guidelines are aligned with Remote Contracting Policy and Good Practice Guidelines for Funding Remote Communities. Service delivery to homelands reflects these objectives and will continue to be based on strong, productive and collaborative relationships in recognition of the Territory’s long term commitment to principles of priority, engagement, sustainability, access and accountability. Approximately 10,000 Aboriginal Territorians are residents in 2,400 dwellings on more than 500 homelands across the Territory.
Find out about the Homelands Services Grants Program.
- Homelands policy - March 2015
- Homelands policy fact sheet
- Homelands - a shared responsibility
- 2019-20 Homelands Program Guidelines
Homelands policy review
In October 2019, the NT Government commissioned an independent review (the review) of the Homelands Policy and Programs, which guide the delivery of housing and infrastructure services to Northern Territory homelands.
The purpose of the review was to provide a new direction for the delivery of services to homelands following handover from the Australian Government to the NT Government of policy and financial responsibilities in 2015.
The review considered 18 submissions from homelands stakeholders and conducted over 30 face to face and telephone interviews.
The review is available at Homelands Policy Review .
NT Government's initial response to the Homelands Policy Review
As part of the NT Government’s immediate response to the review, it will:
- Revise the Homelands Grants Program, by removing red tape and streamlining program funding. Homelands residents will have greater flexibility and increased decision-making to target the use of funds against identified works on their own homes. The NT Government will introduce new program guidelines, maintaining the commitment of overall funding, by 1 July 2021.
- Commit to establishing a new body with Land Councils and the Australian Government to engage and co-design a long-term vision for homelands, including a holistic Homelands Policy framework. The development of a more collaborative and strategic Homelands Policy is required to support the aspirations of Aboriginal Territorians, to guide investment across a broader range of services and support the implementation of relevant Closing the Gap commitments.
The NT Government’s initial response to each of the review’s 13 recommendations is available at NT Government’s Initial Response to the Homelands Policy Review .
Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities
Phone: 1800 031 648
Last updated: 28 January 2021
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