Northern Land Council

Northern Land Council

The Northern Land Council (NLC) represents Aboriginal people in the Top End of the Northern Territory and assists them to acquire and manage their traditional lands and seas.

The Institute has partnered with NLC to support the monitoring and evaluation of their Community Planning and Development Program. The program was established in 2016 to help Aboriginal people drive their own development. The program currently supports 32 projects in eight regions. All projects are governed and funded by Aboriginal people using income from land use agreements.

Using funding from Prime Minister and Cabinet, Dr. Linda Kelly, the Co-Director of the Institute, is working closely with the NLC to trial three approaches to monitoring and evaluation specifically designed for Aboriginal-controlled community development programs.

The first approach draws on community development project reporting, staff reflections and other sources to track the social, cultural, environmental and economic outcomes the projects are having and Aboriginal control over decision-making.

The second approach, led by staff at the Northern Institute at Charles Darwin University, seeks to understand how Aboriginal people define development for their communities and what outcomes they seek from the projects.

The third approach aims to assess the impact the community development projects are having more broadly on well-being within communities.

In 2019, Dr. Linda Kelly produced the first report based on findings from the first approach. This complemented and drew on an interim report produced by researchers from the Northern Institute.