Socioeconomic outcome area 15

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people maintain a distinctive cultural, spiritual, physical and economic relationship with their land and waters

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Target 15A

By 2030, a 15 per cent increase in Australia’s land mass subject to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s legal rights or interests.

Target 15B

By 2030, a 15 per cent increase in areas covered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s legal rights or interests in the sea.

In 2021, 4 027 232 square kilometres of the land mass of Australia and 90 555 square kilometres of the sea country of Australia were subject to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s rights or interests (figure CtG15.1).

Nationally, based on progress from the baseline, the land mass target shows good improvement and is on track to be met, while the sea country target shows improvement but is not on track to be met. However, these assessments should be used with caution as they are based on a limited number of data points. Please see the How to interpret the data page for more information.

For states and territories, and nationally, based on progress from the baseline, there has been: tick improvement   rectangle no change   cross worsening    not applicable as required data not available.

The assessment below reflects progress from the baseline (improvement, worsening or no change). For the national assessment, the land mass target shows good improvement and is on track to be met, while the sea country target shows improvement but is not on track to be met. The assessments below reflect progress from the baseline (improvement, worsening or no change). For the national assessment, the land mass target shows good improvement and is on track to be met, while the sea country target shows improvement but is not on track to be met.
NSW Vic Qld WA SA Tas ACT NT Aust
Assessment of Land massImprovementNo changeImprovementImprovementImprovementNo changeNo changeImprovementGood improvement and target on track to be met
Assessment of Sea CountryNo changeNo changeImprovementImprovementNo changeNo changeNot applicable as required data not availableImprovementImprovement but target not on track to be met

right arrow improvement rectangle no change left arrow worsening not applicable as required data not available. tick good improvement and target on track to be met. circle improvement but target not on track to be met.

Note: These assessments of progress should be used with caution as they are based on a limited number of data points.

Target data specifications

Target 15: Increase legal rights and interests in the land and waters

Outcome:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people maintain a distinctive cultural, spiritual, physical and economic relationship with their land and waters.

Target:

By 2030, a 15 per cent increase in:

  • Australia’s land mass subject to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s legal rights or interests (Target 15a)
  • Australia’s sea waters subject to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s legal rights or interests (Target 15b).

Indicator:

Area of Australian land mass and sea waters that is subject to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s legal rights or interests.

Measure:

This measure is defined as:

a: Land mass subject to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s legal rights or interests, at 30 June

b: Sea Country subject to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s legal rights or interests, at 30 June.

Target established:

National Agreement on Closing the Gap July 2020

Latest dashboard update:

31 March 2022

Indicator type:

Target

Interpretation of change:

A high or increasing area is desirable.

Data source(s):

Name: Native Title Determinations Outcomes; Indigenous estate

Frequency: Annual (revised data for 2020 in the March 2022 Dashboard update).

Documentation (links): http://www.nntt.gov.au

Data provider:

Provider name: National Native Title Tribunal (land and sea native title)

Provider area: Native Title

Baseline year:

2020

Latest reporting period:

2021

Target year:

2030 (at 30 June)

Disaggregations:

State and territory and Australia.

Support measure provided on native title as proportion of jurisdiction’s land — state, territory and Australia.

Computation:

Counting rules

Land area

Land under Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal rights or interests includes:

  • Determinations of native title – land subject to a determination that native title exists exclusive or non-exclusive
  • Indigenous estate – land grants under various land rights regimes of the states and territories and the Commonwealth.

Land area is in square kilometres (sq km) and has been calculated using GDA2020 (EPSG 7844). Pre-2016 areas are calculated using Australian Albers projection (EPSG 3577).

Proportion of land area is based on jurisdiction area sourced from Geoscience Australia (1993). (http://www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/national-location-information/dimensions/area-of-australia-states-and-territories).

Data for the ACT includes Jervis Bay.

Sea area

Sea area is in square kilometres (sq km) and is based on approximate jurisdiction areas sourced from maritime boundaries spatial data, Geoscience Australia 2006 (AMB 6th Edition).  

Commonwealth jurisdiction area only consists of that area from the 3NM Limit out to the Exclusive Economic Zone surrounding the mainland states and territories. It does not include the area surrounding the islands of McDonald & Heard, Christmas, Macquarie, Norfolk, Cocos (Keeling) or the Australian Antarctic Territory.

Data quality considerations:

Data are available at other points in time (available on request, obtained from automated processes but are not quality assured by the National Native Title Tribunal for reference dates other than 30 June).

Supporting indicators

Driver

Contextual information

  • Number of Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements
  • Income of registered native title bodies corporate as reported to the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC)

    Including income from businesses or grants

  • Charitable trusts holding native title and land rights monies
  • Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people employed in water and land management
  • Australia’s conservation estate that is managed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who recognise and live on homelands/traditional country

Material for download

The Productivity Commission acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures, Country and Elders past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of people who have passed away.