Program office

Introduction to the Program Office

The remote Indigenous Land and Infrastructure Program Office is part of the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Partnerships. It was established in 2009 to facilitate development across 16 remote discrete Indigenous communities in Queensland.

The Program Office provides government with a ‘one stop shop’ in addressing land administration issues along with whole-of-government coordination of all infrastructure development within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander discrete communities. The Program Office coordinates the following programs in Queensland’s discrete communities:

  • whole-of-government coordination for infrastructure development
  • land use planning schemes
  • native title compliance including Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs)
  • survey works including the Community Survey Program (CSP)
  • tenure resolution including Land Holding Act (LHA) leases (Katter leases)
  • infrastructure development
  • maximising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment, business and training opportunities
  • home ownership
  • cultural heritage compliance.

The Program Office’s work brings the following benefits to community and government:

  • consistency in state dealings across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • strengthened relationships within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
  • improved surveying within Indigenous communities
  • enhanced employment and business opportunities
  • statutory-compliant land dealings and infrastructure
  • enabling development to occur on Indigenous Trust lands
  • coordination, prioritisation and sequencing of development activities
  • facilitation of necessary essential services, including environmental health infrastructure
  • improved land-use planning by councils/trustees
  • providing pathways to home ownership
  • native title compliance
  • cultural heritage compliance
  • enabling freehold opportunities in Indigenous communities.

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What does ‘engaging with communities’ mean?

For the Program Office, ‘engaging with communities’ means talking to and carefully consulting with Traditional Owners, trustees and councils about housing investment and development opportunities.

The Program Office discuss with communities what needs to be negotiated, agreed upon and finalised before new infrastructure investment can take place. This discussion covers land use and infrastructure planning and the need for new leasing arrangements to enable the government to invest while also creating opportunities for housing, business and social development.

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What does the Program Office deliver to communities?

Whole-of-government coordination

  • identifies government assets and decides how they can best be used
  • determines the broader community land and infrastructure needs
  • coordinates land use planning and administration
  • ensures that government agencies use land and buildings in a coordinated way
  • ensures Integrated Capital Work economic opportunities are maximised.

Land administration

  • makes sure a community’s land use planning scheme complies with current planning laws
  • addresses cultural heritage requirements
  • improves surveying across the whole community to include roads and public infrastructure
  • uses a coordinated approach to addressing different land tenure arrangements in a community, for example, native title matters
  • ensures a strategic approach to future development and is undertaken through master planning.

Coordinated leasing negotiations

  • enable the government to invest in new housing and other leasing in communities.

Home ownership

  • assists individuals, trustees and councils to enable home ownership in communities where local indigenous residents want to own their own home.

Freehold in township areas of Indigenous Trust Land

  • provides advice to communities interested in freeholding within their township areas.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and training

  • maximises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment, training and business development opportunities coming out of the government investment in social housing and infrastructure construction in the discrete communities.

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What does all of this achieve for remote communities?

Through this work the Program Office will help facilitate:

  • new housing and infrastructure development
  • local employment opportunities
  • better use of government assets (for example, houses and offices) better service delivery for water, power and other essentials
  • long-term planning to encourage developmentprivate home ownership opportunities
  • coordinated approach to dealing with native title, cultural heritage and other land-related matters.

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Which communities does the Program Office engage with?

Aurukun, Coen, Cherbourg, Doomadgee, Hope Vale, Kowanyama, Lockhart River, Mapoon, Mona, Mornington Island, Mossman Gorge, Napranum, Northern Peninsula Area, Palm Island, Pormpuraaw, Torres Strait Islands, Woorabinda, Wujal Wujal and Yarrabah.

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