Disclaimer:

This document provides general information only and may be subject to change at any time.
The Jabiru Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are current as of 27 May 2019.

General
Existing Infrastructure and Services
Tenure, Leasing and Access to Housing
Funding

General

Q1. Is there a future for Jabiru after 2021? 

The Commonwealth Government, the Northern Territory Government, Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA) and the Mirarr Traditional Owners represented by Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC) are committed to Jabiru having a future beyond mining. These four parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide certainty for residents, businesses and the tourism industry. The four MoU Parties are working together reposition Jabiru as a sustainable tourism and regional services hub. This will include the continuation of government and community services for the West Arnhem region, encouraging more people to visit Kakadu National Park and exploring new opportunities for Bininj to participate in tourism, education and economic growth.

The Commonwealth is responsible for Kakadu National Park and has committed to a significant financial investment in reinvigorating the park.

Q2. Will Jabiru become Aboriginal Land? or Is Jabiru Aboriginal Land?

Most of the land in Kakadu National Park is Aboriginal land. Jabiru was excluded when the land grant was made in the 1980s because of the need for the town to support the Ranger mine. With the end of mining, there is now a pathway for Jabiru to become Aboriginal land under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA). This will occur at the same time as a lease over the town is granted to an approved township entity under ALRA. The Mirarr Traditional Owners have also been recognised by the Federal Court as having continuing native title rights and interests in Jabiru.

Q3. What is the Jabiru Masterplan?

The Mirarr Traditional Owners have supported the principle of the town continuing beyond mining. The Jabiru Masterplan sets out the Traditional Owners’ vision for the future of the town to be: “A world-leading ecologically sustainable, economically and socially vibrant community where traditional Aboriginal culture, all people and the natural environment flourish.” The Jabiru Masterplan demonstrates the Traditional Owners’ support for the future of the town.

The Masterplan is the foundation document used to develop the Jabiru Business Case (refer Q4). 
The Jabiru Footprint is a visual representation of the Jabiru Masterplan (refer Q5).

Q.4 What is the Jabiru Business Case?

The Jabiru Business Case is a high-level tourism and economic development study that provides a comprehensive economic plan for the future of Jabiru. The Jabiru Business Case was developed by the Stafford Strategy Consultancy Group who were commissioned by GAC on behalf of the Traditional Owners.

The Jabiru Masterplan is the foundation document underpinning the Jabiru Business Case. The Jabiru Business Case outlines a pathway for capital investment in Jabiru to grow tourism in both Jabiru and Kakadu. The Business Case outlines key investments for creating the circumstances to secure Jabiru’s future economic viability. These include:

  • A Bininj Resource Centre to cater for all Indigenous groups in the region;
  • A World Heritage Interpretative and Visitors Centre to be a more accessible headquarters and to showcase the Park’s natural and cultural values;
  • 5 star tourist accommodation not currently available to the Park;
  • A new Government Services and Retail Centre
     

The Jabiru Business Case included a visual representation of proposed developments in the Jabiru Footprint aerial image (refer Q5).

Q5. What is The Jabiru Footprint aerial image? Is this the final design of the future town?

The Jabiru Footprint aerial image is a visual representation of how the repurposed and redeveloped Jabiru could look as the new regional centre for Kakadu National Park tourism and government services.

The Footprint shows the location, scale and purpose of the town and will be used in conjunction with the Jabiru Masterplan and the Jabiru Planning Scheme to guide rehabilitation and remediation of existing infrastructure as well as the development of future infrastructure.

Although this aerial image will guide future developments; adjustments and modifications to the location, type and appearance of future infrastructure will be determined as part of the detailed implementation and planning phase currently underway.

Q6. Where can I find out more information on the Jabiru Masterplan and Business Case?

Jabiru Kabolkmakmen (refer Q7) has opened an office and display space in the Jabiru Town Plaza. The display space is a physical location for residents and tourists wanting more information about the future of Jabiru. Visitors and residents can see the proposed future layout of the town and get answers to their questions about proposed works, scheduling of assessments and works and how to register an interest in future investment or housing.

Q7. What is Jabiru Kabolkmakmen Ltd?

Jabiru Kabolkmakmen Ltd is a company limited by guarantee and represents a collaborative and innovative approach between the Northern Territory Government and the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation. Jabiru Kabolkmakmen continues the work of the Jabiru Futures Office (JFO) and has three priorities:

  • Support the transition of ownership, leasing and maintenance of housing, business premises and other infrastructure from the current town Headlease to new township leasing arrangements
  • Provide services to the founding members and other major stakeholders, which support and progress detailed implementation of the Jabiru Masterplan.
  • Facilitate social and economic development for Jabiru, West Arnhem Land and Kakadu. 
     

The Jabiru Futures Office (JFO) was established and staffed to provide a point of contact for residents and businesses to obtain information about rental housing and sub-leases in Jabiru. Jabiru Kabolkmakmen will continue the work of the JFO to assist residents and businesses throughout the transition period from current sub-leases with the Jabiru Town Development Authority (JTDA) expiring on 30 June 2021 through to the commencement of new sub-leases upon execution of a new township lease. Jabiru Kabolkmakmen, continuing the work of the JFO, will assist the coordination of rehabilitation works required by current sub-lessees and will continue the development of the Sub-lease Allocation Plan to provide current and future residents, businesses and government agencies in Jabiru with long term certainty of tenure (refer Q27).

Jabiru Kabolkmakmen can be contacted at admin@jabirukabolkmakmen.com.au

Q8. When will construction works commence?

Planning works are underway, and a preliminary construction timeline will be made available in 2020. The Coronavirus pandemic may impact the construction timeline. It is unlikely any construction works will commence during 2020.

Before any new construction commences, there needs to be assessments of all town infrastructure to inform decisions about the condition of existing infrastructure and any remediation works to be completed. These assessments were undertaken by the Director of National Parks in 2019. The reports are currently being finalised. More information on the planned assessments can be found at Questions 11 and 12.

Q9. Will West Arnhem Regional Council continue to operate post 2021?

Yes. The West Arnhem Regional Council (WARC) will continue to be an important service provider in Jabiru. WARC will continue to operate from its head office in Jabiru and will be involved in the planning and implementation of the Jabiru Masterplan.

Existing Infrastructure and Services

Q10. How will government services be affected if the population of Jabiru decreases after ERA ceases operations?

The NT Government has guaranteed the provision of services such as education, health, police, fire and emergency services at current service levels until 30 June 2023, irrespective of changes in Jabiru’s population. Residents of Jabiru, tourists and other communities in the West Arnhem region can be certain that current service levels will be maintained. The Northern Territory Government will plan for future service delivery after June 2023 based on the needs of a stabilised population.

Q11. What is the rehabilitation and/or remediation requirement for existing infrastructure and services in the town?

Under the current town Headlease arrangements, all current Sub-lease holders are responsible for keeping properties maintained and free from unauthorised additions and waste materials. This requirement applies to all residential, industrial, commercial and infrastructure Sub-leases in Jabiru. In addition the Kakadu Aboriginal Land Trust requires arrangements to be in place prior to the grant of the title for all substandard infrastructure and contamination within the town.

To better understand remediation works the Director of National Parks, as the current lessor, approved comprehensive assessments on all lots located on the Jabiru Headlease area. These assessments included structural, electrical, hydraulic, ecological, hazardous building materials (including asbestos) and mould inspections. These assessments will determine whether all requirements under current lease arrangements have been duly performed and will provide a report about the condition of all buildings, structures, infrastructure or other improvement in, on or over each lot.

These assessments were completed in December 2019 and reports are being finalised.

Upon completion of these assessment report, the MoU parties in conjunction with Jabiru Kabolkmakmen will work to develop a program for completion of the rectification and remediation requirement applicable to all Sub-lessees in Jabiru.

Q12. What is happening to civic infrastructure?

In 2019, the Director of National Parks as the lessor approved comprehensive assessments on all existing civic infrastructure to determine the removal, replacement or upgrade works required for the transition to the new grant. All assessments have been completed and reports are being finalised. Upon completion of these assessments, the MoU Parties in conjunction with Jabiru Kabolkmakmen will work to develop a program for the completion of the rectification and remediation requirement applicable to all civic infrastructure that also supports the repurposing and redevelopment of Jabiru in accordance with the Jabiru Masterplan.

The NT Government has committed to the ongoing provision of essential services including power, water, sewage infrastructure, and waste disposal.

Some new works will be required in order to increase the operational life span of essential services infrastructure including power, water, sewage, and waste disposal.

Q13. What is happening to the Jabiru Health Centre?

The NT Government has guaranteed essential health services at current levels for five years from 1 July 2018.

The NT Government’s commitment of $135.5 million towards the repurposing of Jabiru as a government services centre includes funding to upgrade medical facilities to ensure adequate health services are provided to the region. The Northern Territory Government will work with the community and existing healthcare providers to develop a detailed plan to upgrade medical facilities in Jabiru.

Q14. What is happening to the Jabiru Childcare Centre?

The current childcare centre will not cease operations unless an alternate facility is provided and will continue to be operated by the West Arnhem Regional Council as part of the NT Government’s commitment to services in Jabiru.

The NT Government’s commitment of $135.5 million towards the repurposing of Jabiru as a government services centre includes funding for a new government services centre. Further planning will investigate whether a new childcare centre could be provided as part of this facility, or whether to retain the current childcare centre.

Q15. What is happening to the Swimming Pool?

The Alberto Luglietti Memorial Swimming Pool will remain and continue to be operated by the West Arnhem Regional Council.

Q16. What is happening to the Power Generation currently located on the Ranger Project Area?

The repurposing of Jabiru as a government services centre will include the Northern Territory Government providing funding for the planning and implementation of a new power generation facility located on the Jabiru Headlease area.

Investigating options to secure Jabiru’s future energy supply is underway and  new supply will be installed and operating  before the cessation of the current power supply located on the Ranger Project Area.

Q17. What is happening to the Jabiru Airport currently located on the Ranger Project Area?

The repurposing of Jabiru as a government services centre will include the Northern Territory Government providing funding for the planning and implementation of ongoing access to aviation services which are currently located on the Ranger Project Area and provided by ERA.

The MoU Parties are considering the options to secure ongoing access to aviation services for Jabiru and Kakadu National Park. The optimum solution will depend on economic viability, the availability and access to land and the technical, economic and environmental impacts of the various options.

Q18. What will new development in Jabiru mean for Jabiru ‘Town Camp’ residents?

‘Town camp’ was originally a temporary solution for transient visitors to Jabiru. Decisions and details of the future accommodation for current residents of Town Camp will only be made in close consultation with the residents.

Q19. Are houses going to be demolished? Why?

As part of the rehabilitation requirement of the current Sub-leases (refer Q12) some houses may require demolition as the most economic solution. It is anticipated that approximately 10 properties may come under this category.

Some houses are located in areas that may be needed to support the repurposing and redevelopment of the town. The final planning for redevelopment is not completed and if any demolition of residential dwellings is required to make way for other developments, consultation with residents will occur well in advance to discuss both the timing of demolition and any alternative accommodation requirements. If residents currently living in this area are concerned or would like more information they should contact Jabiru Kabolkmakmen (refer Q7) 

Tenure, Leasing, and Access to Housing

Q20. What is the current tenure arrangement for the town headlease?

The Jabiru Town Development Authority (JTDA) currently holds the Headlease for the town from the Director of National Parks. The JTDA has granted Sub-leases over individual lots to various Sub-lessees. The Headlease and all sub-leases expire on 30 June 2021.

Q21. What is the proposed new tenure arrangement for the town headlease?

Certainty of tenure is critical to the economic development of Jabiru.

The MoU Parties have decided the preferred future tenure arrangements for the town and are now taking the necessary steps to implement the new tenure before the expiry of the current Headlease.

‘The proposed new lease over the town of Jabiru is a township lease in favour of an approved Township Entity (refer Q24) pursuant to S.19A of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.’ This is supported by the Traditional Owners, ERA and both levels of government.


Previously, the MoU Parties expected the proposed lessee would be the Executive Director of Township Leasing (EDTL). A further option is being explored for the lease to be held by a township entity that is established solely for the town of Jabiru. In either case, the lessee of the town will be guided by the Sub-lease Allocation Plan being developed by Jabiru Kabolkmakmen Ltd.

The new 19A township lease tenure is intended to commence on or before the expiry of the current Headlease.

Q22. What is a Section 19A township lease?

S.19A of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 provides for certain leases to be granted by an Aboriginal Land Trust over towns that are located on Aboriginal land. The lease is known as a ‘township lease’ and can be granted to a Township Entity.

The approved township entity manages the land on behalf of the Traditional Owners by issuing sub-leases over individual Lots in the Township and by collecting rents and other costs. The Township Entity makes decisions about land use with the Traditional Owners through a Consultative Forum that is established under the lease.

Previously the MoU Parties expected the proposed lessee would be the Executive Director of Township Leasing (EDTL). A further option is being explored for the lease to be held by a Township Entity that is established solely for the town of Jabiru. In either case, the lessee of the town will be guided by the Sub-lease Allocation plan being developed by Jabiru Kabolkmakmen.

Further information on township leasing is available at
https://www.otl.gov.au/other-leasing-aboriginal-land/section-19-and-section-19a-leases#

Q23. What is an Approved Township Entity?

An approved township entity is an entity approved by the Minister responsible for Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. This may be the Executive Director of Township Leasing (EDTL) or it may be a specific establishment solely for the town of Jabiru.

Q24. What role will the approved Township Entity play in future leasing decisions in Jabiru?

The Township Entity will issue and administer the new sub-leases granted under the S.19A lease. The Township Entity will issue the sub-leases guided by the Sub-lease Allocation Plan being developed by Jabiru Kabolkmakmen in consultation with current sub-lessees and residents.

Q25. How does the change of tenure affect existing businesses and residents in Jabiru?

The change of tenure means that businesses and residents in Jabiru will need to contact Jabiru Kabolkmakmen to ensure their requirements for sub-leases or access to rental properties are included in the Sub-lease Allocation Plan. To the greatest extent possible, Jabiru Kabolkmakmen will work to ensure that the change of tenure causes minimal disruption to the continuation of both businesses and residents.

The change of tenure will result in rent being payable to the approved township entity by all sub-lessees from the date of the new sub-leases. Other conditions may also be included in the new sub-leases such as requirements for insurance or a requirement to repair or rectify any defective buildings subject to the sub-lease.

Q26. How can individuals or businesses secure long term tenure in Jabiru?

Jabiru Kabolkmakmen is working closely with the MoU Parties to formulate the Sub-lease Allocation Plan to accommodate current and future residents, businesses and government agencies in Jabiru. To ensure a smooth transition for residents and businesses the development of the Sub-lease Allocation Plan will provide for fair and equitable criteria in making decisions about allocating sub-leases and tenancies and assessing the appropriate costs.

Many businesses and residents will be offered tenancies rather than sub-leases. The availability and management of rental housing will be provided for in the Sub-lease Allocation Plan.

Jabiru Kabolkmakmen has an allocation request process in place for individuals and businesses to both confirm the accuracy of current housing usage and to request an allocation of future sub-leases or housing as part of the Sub-lease Allocation Plan. Both the Sub-lease Allocation Plan and the Allocation Request Form (ARF) can be found in Resources. Contact Jabiru Kabolkmakmen for more information on the Allocation Request Form (refer Q7).

For costs associated with securing a sub-lease or tenancy refer Q30.

Q27. Will housing be linked to employment?

Yes. The first priority for the allocation of sub-leases and tenancies under the Sub-lease Allocation Plan will be to secure housing for existing workers and business operators in Jabiru. The next priority will be to ensure housing is available for the workforce that will be needed for new businesses in the town including the trades and other services that will be needed during the transition period.

Q28. What will the cost of housing be under a Section 19A township lease?

Under a S.19A township lease there is a cost for acquiring a sub-lease and an annual sub-lease fee. This will be in addition to any rates or other outgoings. The details of costs are expected to be made available late 2020. The approved township entity will calculate the costs by reference to commercial rates and land valuation.

Many residents will continue under a tenancy agreement. The finalisation of costs and terms for standard tenancies are underway and are expected to be made available late 2020.

Funding

Q29. Why is the government spending so much money in Jabiru?

The expiry of the Headlease over Jabiru coincides with the closure of the Ranger mine, the requirement to rehabilitate the mine infrastructure and a broader need to re-invigorate Kakadu National Park. Both the Northern Territory Government and the Commonwealth Government have recognised that this is a pivotal moment for the future of both the town and the Park and that this is the right time to make a significant investment decision for the long term future. Based on the Jabiru Business Case by the Stafford Strategy Consultancy Group it is expected that key strategic investment will create up to 1,700 new job opportunities and contribute $1.02b in total economic output to the Northern Territory economy over the next ten years. 

Q30. How much have Governments committed to the future of Jabiru and Kakadu?

The Commonwealth and Northern Territory Government’s commitment to Jabiru and Kakadu National Park is reflected in the combined $351.7 million of funding that was pledged early in 2019. This funding will be pivotal in achieving the objectives of the Masterplan to make Jabiru an Aboriginal owned, sustainable national park tourism town that celebrates its cultural heritage and provides employment opportunities for Aboriginal people as well as encourage education and research in the region.

The Northern Territory Government has committed $135.5 million towards the future viability of Jabiru. More information on the NT Government funding commitment can be found here
https://jabirukabolkmakmen.com.au/node/30

The Commonwealth Government has committed $216 million for the future of Jabiru and Kakadu. More information on the Commonwealth funding commitment can be found here
https://jabirukabolkmakmen.com.au/node/30

The MoU parties will work to  leverage the significant investment of public funding to attract more private investment in the future.

Q31. How will government investments be prioritised?

The first priority is to ensure the viability of the town and continuation of services for residents and visitors to Jabiru with the exit of ERA. From a tourism perspective, a key focus of early works will be on infrastructure to extend the shoulder season in the Park, with priority given to examine the most effective road investments. The Northern Territory Government is also working with Traditional Owners and Parks Australia to identify new experiences to attract more people in to experience Jabiru and Kakadu.