Develop on Aboriginal land

You must consult with land owners or the relevant regional council when planning a development in any Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory (NT).

Twenty remote communities are identified as major remote towns.

All major remote towns are zoned in line with corresponding area plans.

Development in major remote towns is assessed against the requirements of the NT Planning Scheme.

For the remainder of Aboriginal communities, you may not need a development permit to carry out works.

Apply for planning approval

Read below to find out when you need approval for your proposal.

When you might need approval

You may need approval if any of the following apply:

  • the land is zoned
  • you want to clear native vegetation
  • you are seeking a lease, licence or other right to occupy for more than 12 years
  • either of these clauses apply:
    • clause 7.1 Aboriginal Communities and Towns
    • clause 7.2 Towns on Aboriginal Land of the NT Planning Scheme 2020.

If any apply, contact Development Assessment Services.

If the conditions above don’t apply to your proposal, you don’t need a development permit.

Proposals that don't need a permit

If you don’t submit a development application, you must talk to all of the following parties:

  • the land owner or regional council - to get permission for the development to occur
  • Power and Water Corporation's Remote Operations - for site servicing requirements
  • surveyor general’s office - if your site needs an address or a new administrative lot number.

Speak to a planner.


For more information, get the planning guidelines for major remote towns and Aboriginal communities in the NT PDF (871.4 KB).

You will also find contact details for land owners, regional councils and service authorities.

More information

Area plans and zoning maps for major remote towns will help with your planning.

Find them in the NT Planning Scheme 2020.

For Serviced Land Availability Program (SLAP) maps, and general community and regional information, go to the Bushtel website.

Last updated: 31 July 2020

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