Homelands and outstations are interchangeable terms used to describe small, often remote, Aboriginal communities where people have traditional ownership or historical association.
Homelands play a critical role in the social, cultural and economic life of Aboriginal people and the Territory as a whole. The NT Government recognises and supports Aboriginal Territorians’ fundamental right of to live on, develop and maintain their homelands.
The majority of homelands are located on Aboriginal Land, held by Aboriginal Land Trusts established under the Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) Act 1976. However, there are a small number of homelands on other statutory tenures, such as Community Living Areas (land excised from a pastoral lease), or parcels of land within national parks. As such, the process to establish a new homeland usually involves the relevant land council.
Generally, housing in homelands is communally owned and is not subject to NT Government leasing or part of the Northern Territory’s remote public housing system.
Approximately 10,000 Aboriginal Territorians are residents in 2,400 dwellings on more than 500 homelands across the Territory.
Homelands Grants Program
The Northern Territory Homelands Program contributes grant funding towards the delivery of housing, municipal and essential services for eligible homelands.
To be eligible for funding a homeland must:
- have a sustainable, potable water supply;
- have a water supply in operating condition;
- have its own operating power supply;
- have safe and secure housing;
- be accessible;
- be the principal place of residence; and
- a service provider, recognised under the Homelands Program, must be willing to undertake the responsibility for servicing the homeland and be able to deliver services in a safe environment.
To view funding and service provider details for a particular homeland, please visit Bushtel.
- Homelands Program Guidelines 2021-23
- Homelands Housing, Municipal and Essential Services Capital Funding (Homelands Capital Grant) Guidelines 2021-22
Homelands Policy and Review
The NT Government’s Homelands Policy – a shared responsibility was developed in 2015 following handover of municipal and essential services for homelands from the Australian Government to the NT Government.
In January 2021, the NT Government released an independent review of the Homelands Policy and Grants Program, which guide the delivery of housing, municipal and essential services.
The review considered 18 submissions from homelands stakeholders and conducted over 30 face to face and telephone interviews.
The review is available at Homelands Policy Review .
NT Government's initial response to the Homelands Policy Review
As part of the NT Government’s immediate response to the review, it has:
- Committed to establishing a new body with land councils and the Australian Government to engage and co-design a long-term vision for homelands, including a holistic Homelands Policy framework. The development of a more collaborative and strategic Homelands Policy is required to support the aspirations of Aboriginal Territorians, to guide investment across a broader range of services and support the implementation of relevant Closing the Gap commitments.
- Committed to revising the Homelands Grants Program, by removing red tape and streamlining program funding. Homeland residents will have increased decision-making abilities to target the use of funds against works in their homes.
The NT Government’s initial response to each of the review’s 13 recommendations is available at NT Government’s Initial Response to the Homelands Policy Review .
Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities
Phone: 1800 031 648
Last updated: 01 March 2022
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