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HomeIssue 43A billion dollars in the Aboriginal Benefits Account? UPDATE.

A billion dollars in the Aboriginal Benefits Account? UPDATE.

UPDATE November 11, 2020 at 11.20am

According to information from Minister Wyatt’s office just received, as at 30 June 2020, the ABA held $1,238m (about $1.2 billion) in term deposits with Australian banks. This compares with $1,042.5m (about $1 billion) as at 30 June 2019. The Aboriginal Benefits Account is audited and reported each year in annual reports, previously in that of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Department’s and now in the National Indigenous Australians Agency’s.



A prominent Arrernte man says there may be $1 billion in the Aboriginal Benefits Account (ABA) but the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, neither confirms nor denies that.

wrote to Mr Wyatt saying ABA money should be used to stimulate the economy in the post-COVID phase: “I raise this as a member of the Aboriginal community in Alice Springs who can see the huge backlog of remote community and outstation needs as per my comments in the post.

“I am also very active in this space for over 30 years and have some history of the ABA given my days at the Central Land Council as a manager under Tracker Tilmouth (deceased) and David Ross (retired).

“I am now a member and delegate representing Lhere Artepe on the CLC Full Council so can see a bigger picture,” Mr Smith wrote.

“If we have over $1b in reserve for the ABA then we need stimulus from the ABA, not the NTG to fix these back logs and set remote NT up for sustainable communities projects [as] are identified.

“In all, contractors and the community are set to benefit initially with flow on effects yet to be realised.”

However Mr Wyatt (at left, sourced from the Minister’s Facebook account), when asked by the Alice Springs News, did not disclose how much money is in the fund.

An aide provided only the information that the ABA is governed by the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and has two Beneficial Grants funding rounds each year, with a notional budget of up to $30m.

“The Minister for Indigenous Australians decides whether to approve the negotiation of funding conditions for ABA Beneficial Grants applications, taking into consideration advice provided by the ABA Advisory Committee and the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA),” said the aide.

At top: Aboriginal Housing in the NT. BMC Public Health photo.


  1. So many outstations like the one on the Garden Station are deserted after hundreds of thousands of dollars were invested in houses, generators, bores, com towers and more.

  2. I think you will find that they are not so much concerned with people’s welfare but intent on amassing sufficient $s to acquire as much land (Australia) as possible now and in the future.
    As judicious people know, having the land is the absolute power to control your destiny, regardless of whether you make use of it or not!

  3. Graeme Smith, stay strong young man, believe in yourself; we need strong young leaders like yourself, and others like Michael Liddle, and Jacinta Price, talking absolute good sense, to work together, asking the hard questions, lobbying governments, and peak Aboriginal bodies to get the task done.
    We the Government, should not be continually putting our hand in our pocket, using our hard earned taxes, when there is billions in royalty buckets. $ for $ agreements can work for all parties, for everyone’s benefit, not just a select few.
    Tracker by Alexis Wright: It’s a great read, and a good insight into blackfella politics. There is no mistake about Troika, they knew how to work quietly, lobby governments and get things done.
    Keep up the good fight all you good young people. Now we have enough dollars as an Aboriginal nation, and with more smart young Aboriginal people like yourselves coming along, we can truly have real self determination. We can truly have hope. We can truly have faith.
    The old adage still rings true: United we stand, divided we fall!
    We can do it, not as individuals, but together! It is time for change!

  4. The outstation at The Gardens is just the tip of a very large iceberg.
    Try Pannels Well near Arltunga where the remains of a CDU sponsored garden and advertised as such is no more, as is a sophisticated telecommunications system and a very expensive water tank.
    Try Mt. Barkley near Willowra and another near Orratipra and Argadargada to see where the money has gone.
    I am told there are many more.
    These are two that I have seen personally.
    Social philosophy does not fill bellies, but it does empty pockets for the rest of us for little apparent benefit.
    The point was badly made by a TV programme last year involving Ray Martin bringing a group of city people to Arnhemland, where the resident of a house claimed that she needed a new house because she had let the walls of the kitchen accumulate grime, when all she needed, like the rest of us, was bucket of hot soapy water and a scrubbing brush.

  5. @ Trevor: The wrecking and fixing and wrecking again cycle on communities has supported local businesses for decades.
    Without it the trade related businesses in town would have to halve their workforces and cut their apprentices.
    Are our pockets really emptied for no benefit?

  6. @ Jason @ Trevor: Well, that’s a pretty sad way of interpreting the ongoing reality in communities. I’d prefer to think that the tradies could be used to increase the stock of well-cared for housing. It’s surely needed. Now that would be a win-win!

  7. @ Sandra Taylor. Reading Sandy’s comment calling for unity and moving forward together, I cannot help but be impressed by this remarkable lady.
    Having been privileged to know Sandy as a friend for many years, I have followed her track record of community service with admiration.
    Sandy has always been a compassionate supporter of the underdog and anyone in need, with a conciliatory common sense approach to socially divisive issues. A voice of calm and wisdom, especially with troubled young people. Sandy and a number of other longtime local ladies of Alice are to be admired greatly.
    They are the Quiet Alicians whose voices should be listened to in the best interest of a happy united Alice community.


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