Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) Grant Funding

Funding Round Status: Notice of upcoming funding round

Opening Date: 31 July 2017

Closing Date:  28 August 2017

August 2017 ABA Beneficial Grant Funding Round

The next ABA beneficial grants funding round will open at 8:00 am AEST on Monday 31 July 2017.  In order to support organisations to prepare an application, an example of the application form and grant guidelines are now available, and can be downloaded and printed. Early access to the guidelines and application form will provide organisations more time to fully consider requirements and start planning their funding requests. Please note final applications must be lodged using the online form, which will become available when the round opens on Monday, 31 July. 

Please note a printable version of the application form will not be available once the round opens.

Applying for ABA Beneficial Grant Funding

The second ABA funding round for 2017 will open 31 July 2017 at 8:00am Australian Eastern Standard Time and close on 28 August 2017 at 5:00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.

Applications received after the closing time and date will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

It is anticipated all applicants will be notified of the outcome of the August 2017 ABA beneficial grant funding round around 14 weeks after the round has closed.

The Application Kit provides information to assist applicants to apply for ABA beneficial grant funding. It is important that you read all this information before completing the application form as it will help you understand the ABA grant funding requirements, including the types of activities that can and can’t be funded. 

Application Kit

The Application Kit comprises: 

  1. the ABA Beneficial Grant Guidelines DOCX 187KB | PDF 332KB which set out the terms and conditions on which an applicant may access Australian Government grant funding under ABA section 64(4) beneficial grants;
  2. An example of the Application Form PDF 200KB which must be completed to apply for ABA beneficial grant funding;
  3. a copy of the Department’s Head Agreement for Indigenous Grants DOCX 156KB | PDF 372KB

ABA Selection Criteria

A targeted selection process is used to seek proposals for ABA beneficial grants. Selection criteria have been developed to ensure that proposals for ABA beneficial grants are selected in a consistent, transparent and accountable manner. The selection criteria are contained in Section 2.7 of the ABA Beneficial Grant Guidelines. It is important that you answer all the selection criteria and note:

  • You can use up to 1,000 words for each Criteria 1 – 3;
  • If your project is over $250,000 (GST ex), it is deemed to be a large project and you will need to complete Criterion 4. You can use up to 1,000 words for this criterion.
  • The information you provide against the criteria should be about the proposal and how you or your organisation will deliver the proposal and achieve improved outcomes for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.
  • The Business Plan or Project Management Plan (if a large project) and any other attachments to support your proposal (e.g. your organisation's annual report or brochures, diagrams, tables or graphs) need to be submitted with your application. However, any text contained in the attachments will not be considered in assessing your responses against the criteria.

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has a file size limit restriction of 10MB, at no more than 2MB per attachment. If your file attachments are larger than 10MB you will need to individually submit attachments. 

Land or Business Proposals

Applicants with proposals relating to land acquisition or management, agriculture or pastoral investment must engage the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) first before applying for ABA funding, seeking the ILC's view of the proposal including whether the ILC consider the proposal viable and value for money. The views of the ILC must be included in your application using the template that will become available when the round opens. Applicants can contact the ILC during the question and answer phase. Contact details will become available when the round opens

Applicants who have proposals relating to business investment must engage Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) first before applying for ABA beneficial grant funding, seeking IBA's view of the proposal including whether IBA consider the proposal viable and value for money. The views of IBA must be included in your application using the template that will become available when the round opens. Applicants can contact the IBA during the question and answer phase. Contact details will become available when the round opens.

Getting Help

Applicants can discuss potential projects with Regional staff in the Department or seek advice from the ABA Advisory Committee, the ILC, IBA or the four Northern Territory Land Councils.

Questions and Answers regarding ABA Grant Funding

Applicants can contact the Department to ask general questions about the ABA programme, the selection process, and seek clarification to better understand the requirements of the Application Form or the ABA Beneficial Grant Guidelines. The Department will accept questions for the August 2017 funding round from 31 July 2017 until 21 August 2017 (five working days prior to the closure of the grant funding round). After this time only questions relating to technical issues will be answered.

Enquiries should be emailed to aba@network.pmc.gov.au or by phone to the ABA Hotline on 1800 354 612. This hotline will be active from the opening of the round.

Frequently asked Questions and Answers are available.  

About the ABA

The ABA is legislated under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Land Rights Act) to receive and distribute royalty equivalent monies generated from mining on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory. ABA beneficial grant funding is provided for one-off grant funding (non-recurrent funding) proposals that benefit Aboriginal people living in the Northern Territory.

Applicants should frame their proposal under one of the following ABA beneficial grant funding categories:

  • Supporting Enterprises
  • Supporting Community
  • Supporting Culture, Language and Leadership
  • Supporting Land, Sea and Waters Management and Use.

Further information on ABA grant funding categories is contained in Section 2.3 of the ABA Beneficial Grant Guidelines.

Funding under each category is available for Small Projects up to and including $250,000 (GST exclusive) or Large Projects over $250,000 (GST exclusive).

The ABA contributes to the Government's priorities for Indigenous Australians through:

  • Getting Indigenous Australians into work
  • Fostering Indigenous business
  • Ensuring Indigenous Australians receive economic and social benefits from the effective management of their land.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion (the Minister), has overall responsibility for the ABA. The Minister is the delegate (final decision maker) in relation to any proposals funded under ABA beneficial grants, taking into consideration the advice provided by the Department and the ABA Advisory Committee.

The Minister determines available ABA beneficial grant funding and the timing of grant funding rounds.

The ABA Advisory Committee

The ABA Advisory Committee is established under subsection 65(1) of the Land Rights Act to advise the Minister for Indigenous Affairs in connection with debiting the ABA for the purpose of making payments under subsection 64(4) of the Land Rights Act. The ABA Advisory Committee provides invaluable cultural and local advice to the Minister on which applications should be supported for ABA beneficial grant funding.

The ABA Advisory Committee consists of a Chair appointed by the Minister and 14 members elected by the four Northern Territory Land Councils. The members elected by the Northern Territory Land Councils must be Aboriginal people living in the Northern Territory or whose names are set out in a register of Traditional Aboriginal Owners maintained by the relevant Land Council. Members comprise:

  • 7 from the Northern Land Council
  • 5 from the Central Land Council
  • 1 from the Anindilyakwa Land Council
  • 1 from the Tiwi Land Council.

Committee meetings

The Committee generally meets up to twice a year and may also meet on occasion at the request of the Department to consider policy matters or for strategic planning.


The Chair of the Committee is appointed by the Minister and is a part-time statutory office holder.

Ms Donna Ah Chee was appointed as Chair of the Committee by the Minister, for a term of three years from 1 July 2016.

Current Committee Members

Northern Land Council

  • Ms Lisa Mumbin
  • Mr James Sing
  • Mr Bunug Galaminda
  • Mr John Finlay
  • Mr Shadrack Retchford
  • Ms Virginia Nundhirribala
  • Ms Yananymul Mununggurr

Central Land Council

  • Ms Valerie Martin
  • Ms Barbara Shaw
  • Mr Harry Nelson
  • Mr Phillip Wilyuka
  • Mr Kelvin Morrison

Tiwi Land Council

  • Mr Andrew Tipungwuti

Anindilyakwa Land Council

  • Mr Tony Wurramarrba, AO (Chair)

February 2017 ABA Beneficial Grant Funding Round

The Minister is currently considering the advice provided by ABAAC and the Department on applications submitted through the February 2017 funding round. An announcement on the outcomes from this round will be made shortly.

An ABAAC message from the May 2017 meeting is available here.

August 2016 ABA Beneficial Grant Funding Round

On 22 December 2016, the Minister announced remote and regional communities in the Northern Territory will benefit from up to $8.08 million worth of projects.  When finalised, these projects will help to improve the quality of life of Aboriginal people across the Northern Territory.

The Minister instructed the Department to commence negotiating funding conditions with 32 organisations as a result of the August 2016 ABA beneficial grant funding round.

The Minister's media statement is available on the Minister’s website.

A list of organisations the Department is entering into negotiations with under the August 2016 ABA beneficial grant funding round is available below.  

September 2015 ABA Beneficial Grants Funding Round

The Minister announced the outcome of the September 2015 ABA grant funding round on 26 April 2016. The Minister's media statement is available on the Minister’s website.

A list of organisations recommended for funding under the September 2015 ABA beneficial grant round is provided: ABA Funding February 2015 XLS 21 KB | PDF 307 KB

Further details of each grant will be listed on the PM&C website within 14 days of the agreement taking effect, as required under the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines.

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