News and Views

Boosting jobs and economic productivity

The Territory Government introduced the Pastoral Land Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 into Parliament to help boost jobs and economic productivity in regional and remote areas by unlocking the development potential of the pastoral estate.

The proposed amendments will allow pastoral lease holders in the NT to diversify their business enterprises and boost the economy through further supporting diversification and investment in the pastoral estate. They will also support contemporary management of the pastoral estate.

NT Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources, Lauren Moss, said key features of the Bill include provisions which will:

  • Enable the grant of subleases for a range of non-pastoral purposes
  • Change the basis for rent methodology to estimated carrying capacity (productivity)
  • Allow for an increase in the number of people on the Pastoral Land Board.

“We promised to create jobs and support economic development across the Territory. Increasing the profitability and performance of the Territory’s pastoral sector is a vital part of the Territory’s Economic Development Framework. These amendments will help achieve these goals,” Ms Moss said.

“Broadening sublease options are a key component of the legislative changes. Specifically, subleases for non-pastoral uses will expand the range of existing uses to include horticulture, agriculture, aquaculture and forestry and will be registered on the title to provide a security for investors.

“These improved subleasing arrangements are also in line with earlier amendments to the non-pastoral use provisions which have resulted in 14 permits for activities ranging from tourism to irrigated agriculture so we know it will drive new activity.

“The NT Cattlemen’s Association has long advocated for changes to the Pastoral Land Act to allow for diversification in land use and provide secure tenure arrangements and certainty around subleasing. We have listened.

“Refining the rent methodology based on a pastoral property’s capacity to deliver an economic return also has industry support and is an established and stable metric. The current system based on Unimproved Capital Value has proven to be less stable and has previously led to uncertainty in the industry.

“An increase in Pastoral Land Board membership will enable the quorum of four to more easily be obtained and decisions made in a more timely manner.

“The proposed amendments also resolve a number of minor anomalies in the Act, which have been clarified or resolved by:

  • Strengthening the consent to transfer provisions to ensure that all proposals to transfer ownership or a controlling interest, such as through a majority shareholding, are assessed
  • Aligning the payment periods for pastoral rent with standard Government terms for receivables being 30 days from invoice date
  • Rectifying an anomaly regarding penalties for late payment of pastoral rent.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the pastoral industry on improvements to our legislative framework to support jobs and economic growth in our regional and remote communities.”

Source: NT Government