How to Start Business on Aboriginal Lands

The Australian aborigines are the original occupants of the continent as defined by the High Court of Australia. They scattered throughout the country with different groups that stretched from the Northern Territory to Tasmania. Despite being pushed into remote areas and marginalised in some sectors, their rights are protected by various local and national agencies. When it comes to doing business with aboriginal groups, there are important rules and regulations that one has to consider. Whether or not you’re considering in taking a business for sale posted in the Internet, there are many options that you can do when it comes to Aboriginal business relations.

Before you consider doing business or putting up companies on Aboriginal lands, you have to understand the rules that defined land ownership as well as business practices in that area. Several Aboriginal legislations were not passed to make doing business difficult but were intended to protect their rights. Here are important tips that businessmen and entrepreneurs need to know before starting up their business with them:

1. Know the Laws
One has to understand that Aboriginal lands in many parts of Australia are private properties owned under special freehold titles. In other words, these lands are not for sale and can never be forfeited. Besides, these properties are granted as a communal title so that the indigenous groups hold the title for the benefit of all the traditional owners with interest in the land. If you intend to go commercial on Aboriginal lands, you have to seek permission from the traditional owners in accordance with the Land Rights Act. It is interesting to point out that the Aboriginal land in the Northern Land Council area is held as inalienable Aboriginal freehold.

2. Important Points
You have to know that the Aboriginal landowners have the power to control to do what they want with their lands. Their unalienable Aboriginal freehold allows them to do so! Through local and national governmental agencies on Aboriginal lands, the general public has only limited rights to implement any form of development unto these areas. However, these lands can be leased from the Aboriginal Land Trusts (which hold the title) to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal corporations and business entities with the informed consent from the traditional owners.

3. Role of the Aboriginal Land Council
Whether starting local business or not, the Aboriginal Land Council arbitrates disputes involving the entry of non-Aboriginal corporations and other corporate entities on Aboriginal lands. The legal control falls into the traditional landowners as defined by the Land Rights Act and Aboriginal customary law. Recently, a large mining company has agreed to pay billions of dollars to an Aboriginal group in the Pilbara region as part of the expansion of its iron ore mining operations. All applications for land use or commercial developments on Aboriginal lands should be made through the council.

The major role of the council is to ensure that Aboriginal culture, traditions, and laws are observed on their lands. Aside from that, the council has to make sure that the Aboriginal people make informed and intelligent decisions so that commercial and resource exploitation agreements are fair.

4. The Process of Doing Business
It is important to understand that entering a land use agreement or joint venture for Aboriginal lands is expensive and time-consuming. Business providers on Aboriginal lands have to maintain a high level of financial disclosure and comply with the Land Rights Act in order to establish a long and sustainable relationship with the Aboriginal landowners.

A prospective business venture requires a detailed business proposal that includes a business plan, financial projections and viability studies, payment scheme, local employment, environmental protection strategies, and other benefits relevant to the Aboriginal community is concerned. The council may then consider revisions to the proposal and further studies and expert analysis. Land Use Agreements are entered upon the direction of a council delegate if the term less than two years while larger and longer agreements are approved by the entire council.

5. Getting Work Permits
The council issues work permits that authorise the holder to work in a specific area and do their specific tasks agreed upon in the business agreement. Aside from that, there specific working permit for government and self-employed contractors. Government contractors need to fill out permit application forms that mention the government agency and contact information. On the other hand, self-employed contractors have to accomplish an application form together with a supporting letter from the contractor.

To expand business networking on Aboriginal lands, businessmen and entrepreneurs have to understand the laws and regulations, the role of the Aboriginal Land Council, the process of doing business, and getting work permits.

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