Commonwealth caveated property

Commonwealth rights and interests in Indigenous grant-funded property (CRIIP) project

Changes to ATSIC legislation

The Australian Government holds caveats over 2,800 grant-funded property titles owned by 400 Indigenous organisations. Former ATSIC legislation stopped the Government from removing its interests in these properties unless they were being sold, transferred or mortgaged. The old legislation meant ATSIC property grants were treated differently from other grants and that Australian Government agencies had different approaches for dealing with the disposal of property.

In February 2018, legislation was passed to allow the Government to give written notice to Indigenous organisations that its consent is no longer required for a property disposal. This means that Indigenous organisations can apply at any time to have a caveat on their property lifted perpetually.

Developing new policy guidelines

As a result of the legislative changes, the Government is developing new policy guidelines on the retention and removal of caveats over grant-funded properties. In May and June 2018, we conducted a national consultation process to inform the development of the new CRIIP policy and guidelines. We are now seeking feedback by 12 March 2019 on the draft policy and guidelines below:

  1. Draft policy statement (PDF 166 KB). This statement provides the Australian Governments’ overarching policy on removing or retaining caveats held over Indigenous owned properties purchased with grants made by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and its predecessor organisations.
  2. Draft guidelines (PDF 294 KB). The guidelines provide information to organisations about how to apply for caveat removal, including eligibility and assessment criteria.
  3. Draft application form (PDF 297 KB). This is the form that we will make online available for applications for caveat removal. You won't be able to fill in this draft, it is supplied for comment.
  4. Further information (PDF 295 KB). This document gives background information on the development and intent of the new policy.

While we welcome all comments, we are particularly interested in whether:

  • The documents are clear and easy to understand.
  • If there is any critical information missing that is needed to clarify the process or complete the application form.

Feedback, or requests for any other related information can be directed to

Governance of the Project

A governance committee is overseeing this process. The committee includes consenting authorities and invited Indigenous representatives:

  • Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
  • Department of Health
  • Attorney-General’s Department
  • Department of Communications and the Arts
  • Indigenous Land Corporation
  • Indigenous Business Australia
  • invited Indigenous representatives from Aboriginal Housing Victoria, NSWALC and National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

In developing the new policy guidelines, the Australian Government is committed to three clear principles: 

  1. Supporting self-determination by maximising choice, flexibility, autonomy and economic independence for Indigenous organisations.
  2. Supporting the sustainability of assets for community benefit, to ensure the activation of cultural, legal, health, environmental, social and economic outcomes.
  3. Ensuring no organisation is disadvantaged through a new policy to deal with grant-funded properties.

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