Land Tenure & Lease Reform

Project Description

A recent James Cook University (JCU) and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) report into land tenure issues in Northern Australia identified key actions required to ensure land tenure arrangements facilitate rather than hinder investment.  Importantly, the report identified that Indigenous land interests cover some 94% of Northern Australia, though there were limited arrangements supporting Traditional Owners to lead development opportunities within these various tenures. The report also recognised that existing TNQ pastoralists and cattle farmers also needed more support to increase their tenure security and to extend or roll over existing leases to help them to capitalise on the growth of our existing and future export markets. Finally, the report recognised that conflict over land use at regional scale was often a higher order issue facing development than underlying tenure issues per se.


Tropical North Queensland (TNQ) and Torres Strait RDA Region


The region’s priorities for tenure reform to facilitate a significant increase in investment are:

  • establish an Office of the Coordinator General for Northern Queensland to effectively coordinate strategic regional land use planning and major development approval, supported by associated tenure resolution efforts;
  • enhance water planning and allocation by developing stronger water equity principles, supply options and area based approaches to vegetation management in the Gilbert and Mitchell catchments, and further development of the Cape York Water Resources Plan and planning for the strategic water use in the Lakeland sub-region;
  • stronger coordinated support raising the capacity of Indigenous land holding entities to plan the future of their estates and negotiate tenure-based issues that will enable financing and investment attraction to achieve their development aspirations;
  • review the currently prohibitive costs for Indigenous land holding entities and third parties to determine Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUA);
  • continued State efforts in leasehold reform to progress freeholding in strategic locations and to increase flexibility needed to enhance diversification in the pastoral lease estate.



CEO, Advance Cairns
Ph: 07 4080 2900

STATE ELECTORATES: Cairns, Barron River, Cook, Hill
FEDERAL ELECTORATES: Kennedy, Leichhardt