Treaty in the Northern Territory

The First Nation peoples of the Northern Territory never ceded sovereignty of their lands, seas and waters and were self-governing in accordance with their traditional laws and customs.

In recognition of this, the Northern Territory Government is committed to commencing discussion on developing a Treaty (or Treaties) with First Nations peoples in the Northern Territory.

Who will be involved?

Aboriginal people from the Northern Territory will be one party to a Treaty. The Northern Territory Government will be the other party.

There may be more than one Treaty and more than one Aboriginal group that is a party to a Treaty.

A Treaty will allow both parties to negotiate and agree on rights and responsibilities and establish a long lasting relationship.

Where to next?

A Treaty Commissioner will be appointed to consult with Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory regarding a Treaty and develop a framework for Treaty negotiations.

Treaty Commissioner Expression of Interest

An Expression of Interest is open for applications for an independent Treaty Commissioner for the Northern Territory and will close on Friday 31 August 2018.

The Treaty Commissioner will be appointed for a three year term. The appointment will initially be a non-statutory position while drafting legislation is underway for the position to be appointed as a statutory body established under an Act of Parliament.

Applications are invited from Aboriginal people with strong connections to the Northern Territory, who want to lead this important reform.

Enquiries to be directed to the Mr Steve Rossingh on (08) 8999 5401, or mobile 0438 826 993.

Download an Expression of Interest form (166.3 kb)

Download a flyer (691.2 kb)

Role of the Treaty Commissioner

The Treaty Commissioner is independent of the Northern Territory Government and will conduct themselves in an open, transparent manner.  They have a responsibility to represent the voices of all Aboriginal Territorians on this important matter and bring non-Aboriginal Territorians along with this process.

The Commissioner will inquire, report, investigate and make recommendations to the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory.  All reports will be made public.

The key objective of any Treaty in the Northern Territory must be to achieve real change and substantive, long term, benefits for Aboriginal people.

The Treaty Commissioner will advise the Northern Territory Government about how they can best achieve this.

For more information please visit

Additional information


Last updated: 03 August 2018


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