Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) Grant Funding


The Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) forms part of arrangements under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, also known as the ALRA. The ABA receives monies from the Commonwealth based on the value of royalties generated from mining on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory (NT). 

Up to $30 million per financial year of the ABA is set aside to fund one-off projects that will benefit Aboriginal people in the NT. This funding is delivered through the ABA Beneficial Grants Programme and is managed by the Department. 

The February round is now closed. The outcome of this round is expected to be announced in early July 2018.

Two grant funding rounds are held each year. The second round will open 2 July 2018 and will close 27 August 2018.



Key Principles of ABA Grant Funding

  • Proposals must be for the benefit of Indigenous residents of the NT.
  • Funding is for one-off projects that have a start and end date.
  • ABA does not fund ongoing projects; with the exception of support for land councils to deliver funerals and ceremonial support.
  • Applications that support participation of Aboriginal controlled organisations that are based in the NT will be looked upon favourably. Applications that support employment of Indigenous Australians will be looked upon favourably. 
  • Activities that should be funded through mainstream funding, such as government funding, are not eligible.
  • Business proposals need to verify their financial viability by obtaining Indigenous Business Australia’s (IBA) independent opinion.
  • Land acquisition proposals should be supported by independent opinion from the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC).

Examples of what ABA has been funding

  • Aboriginal controlled organisations based in the NT.
  • Applicants that request funding for Indigenous positions.
  • Business applications that IBA assess as viable.
  • Business applications which are further enhanced by applicants demonstrating commitment through co-contribution.
  • Applicants that can demonstrate their ability to deliver their proposal.
  • Projects that demonstrate they are not the responsibility of mainstream funding.

Examples of what ABA has NOT been funding

  • Proposals that don’t clearly address the selection criteria.
  • Projects that don’t have an end date.
  • Services and capital works that should be delivered via existing government funding.
  • Business proposals that cannot demonstrate viability.
  • Pilot projects that do not demonstrate a pathway to transition to a programme if successful.
  • Sole traders that propose to purchase significant assets but do not address how the asset will be managed post project or in the event of project failure.
  • Applications that cannot demonstrate support from those who are intended to benefit.   
  • Research and conferences that are not linked to tangible outcomes for Indigenous Territorians.
  • Proposals that are for investment purposes.
  • Rangers. Ranger groups are encouraged to apply for funding from the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS).



  • Applicants must have an ABN and be registered for GST.
  • Applicants cannot be:
    1. Bankrupt or subject to insolvency proceedings.
    2. Non-compliant with the Workplace Gender Equity Act 2012.
    3. An unincorporated association.
  • Have a full legal capacity to enter into an agreement with the Commonwealth.

Additional information

  • Applications that support participation of Aboriginal controlled organisations that are based in the NT will be looked upon favourably.
  • It is expected that funding will be delivered by organisations, but individuals (sole traders) can apply for ABA funding.
  • State and Territory Governments are ineligible to apply for the August 2018 round however applicants may apply for funding for a project to be implemented in partnership with Government.
  • Organisations receiving more than $499,999 of Commonwealth funding in a financial year will be required to be incorporated under the CATSI Act or the Corporations Act.


Funding rounds are generally held twice a year, in February and August. Funding rounds are open for four weeks. Once a funding round closes, the Department undertakes the assessment of applications and provides the assessment to the ABA Advisory Committee (ABAAC) for their consideration.

ABAAC are a committee consisting of Aboriginal members nominated by each land council from across the NT. The Chair is appointed by the Minister. ABAAC assess applications and provide advice to the Minister. A list of ABAAC members is provided at the end of this page.

The Minister considers the advice of ABAAC when deciding which applications will proceed to negotiation of a funding agreement with the Department.


The round is now open

The key documents and forms required to complete an ABA application are below:

  • ABA Application Kit DOCX. This is the key resource to assist applicants to complete an application. It is highly recommended that all applicants read the application kit prior to commencing the application form. The application kit is based on the  ABA Section 64(4) Beneficial Grant Guidelines.
  • Information on this web page.
  • Application Form. This is the online form that you will need to complete to lodge an ABA application. If you have issues accessing the form contact the ABA team on 1800 079 098.
  • ABA Section 64(4) Beneficial Grant Guidelines DOCX. Note: The Application Kit draws on the information from the Guidelines. Should you need further detail on any information in the Application Kit refer to the Guidelines or contact the ABA Team on 1800 079 098.
  • Grant Agreement template DOCX. If successful you will  be required to enter into a grant agreement with the Department. This template is provided as an example to ensure applicants are aware of the general conditions that they will be required to adhere to.


  • Applicants are also able to access the ABA application form and associated information at Grants Connect, a website used by the Australian Government to house grant opportunities.
  • The second round of ABA funding for 2018 will open 2 July and close 27 August 2018. It is likely that the information for the second round will move to the Grants Connect webpage.

If you have any questions, please talk to the ABA team in Darwin or the Department’s Regional Network. See the section on assistance below.

Below are some key documents and guidance that you will need to prepare an application:

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) form (DOCX): If your proposal relates to business investment you are required to consult with IBA and complete this form for submissions with your application. This process will provide an independent opinion on the viability of your proposal. It will also give you a chance to discuss IBA’s suite of supports for Indigenous business.

Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) form (DOCX): If your proposal relates to land acquisition or management, or agriculture, you are required to consult with ILC and complete this form for submission with your application. This process will provide an independent opinion on your proposal and will also give you a chance to discuss the ILC’s suite of supports.

Land tenure through leasing: For proposals that relate to developing assets on Aboriginal land, such as land covered by the ALRA, a formal form of tenure should be obtained, such as a section 19 lease under the ALRA. You should work with your local Land Council to obtain tenure and your proposal should either confirm the lease is in place or where your application is in the process of securing a lease. 

Budget template (XLSX): You are required to submit a proposed budget for the life of the project in the provided template. It is important to note that ABA funding is limited to the proposed project’s costs. Costs incurred prior to the project commencing or that are attributable to ongoing operations of the organisation are ineligible.

Financial position: Applicants that do not have a current Funding Agreement with the Department must demonstrate financial viability. This may be provided through a mix of audited financial statements and/or evidence of viability (for example, a certified statement from an approved person).

Quotes: If your proposal includes the purchase of equipment you are required to provide quotes with your application. Your quotes must not be more than 12 months old.

Project Management Plan: For projects that request funding over $250,000, a project management plan is required. The level of detail provided in the project management plan depends on the complexity of the project. Project management plans should be adequate for the effective implementation of the project, with the level of detail matching complexity of the project. A detailed project management plan for a complex project would include:

  • the budget (in the template provided on this web page)
  • project timeline
  • risk assessment with mitigation strategies
  • performance framework
  • cost benefit analysis
  • stakeholder consultation plan

Business Plan: Applicants wishing to submit business proposals that request funding over $250,000 must submit a business plan. The submission of a business plan will result in a project management plan not being required. 

Stakeholders: Applications are greatly strengthened by letters of support from stakeholders such as those that will benefit from the project. It is important to remember that other complimentary service providers and even mainstream funding bodies can also be your project’s stakeholder. You may also consider providing letters from mainstream funding bodies to demonstrate that your project isn’t their responsibility.

Acquittals: It is advisable that your organisation does not have any outstanding acquittals of ABA funding.

Maximum number of supporting documents: 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 send two unbound copies of the supporting documentation to: ABA Grant funding, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, PO Box 6500, Canberra ACT 2600.

Proposals with multiple projects: Each project requires a separate application for funding. The success or otherwise of an applicant's funding application will not influence the assessment of any other application from the same applicant. Every application for funding is assessed on its own merits.


A great starting point is to talk to the ABA team in Darwin. Contact details are 1800 354 612 and aba@network.pmc.gov.au, or you can arrange to meet them at their office in Jacana House, 39-41 Woods Street, Darwin.

The Department’s Regional Network has offices and staff located in regional centres and communities across the NT. These staff can provide you with assistance with your application. Call the ABA team on 1800 354 612 or the Department on 1800 079 098 to help you find your nearest office.

It is strongly recommended that you either engage with the ABA team or the Regional Network to discuss your proposal, prior to commencing an application.


In the instance that advice on this page conflicts guidance provided in the ABA Beneficial Grant Guidelines, the guidance provided in the ABA Beneficial Grant Guidelines should be followed. For clarification on any conflicts contact the ABA team.


Chair: Ms Donna Ah Chee

Members nominated by the Northern Land Council:

  • Ms Lisa Mumbin (Katherine region – Katherine)
  • Mr James Sing (Darwin Daly Wagait region – Darwin West)
  • Mr Bunug Galaminda (West Arnhem region – Warruwi)
  • Mr John Finlay (Borroloola Barkly region – Wombaya)
  • Mr Shadrack Retchford (Victoria River District region – Bulla)
  • Ms Virginia Nundhirribala (Ngukurr region – Numbulwar)
  • Ms Yananymul Mununggurr (East Arnhem region – Yirrakala)

Members nominated by the Central Land Council:

  • Ms Valerie Martin (Tanami region – Yuendumu outstations)
  • Ms Barbara Shaw (Alice Springs region – Alice Springs town camps)
  • Mr Harry Nelson (Tanami region – Yuendumu)
  • Mr Phillip Wilyuka (Alice Springs region – Titjikala)
  • Mr Kelvin Morrison (Tennant Creek region – Karlanjarriyi)

Member nominated by the Anindilyakwa Land Council:

  • Mr Tony Wurramarrba, AO (Groote Archipelago region)

Member nominated by the Tiwi Land Council:

  • Mr Andrew Tipungwuti (Tiwi Islands region)

The outcome of each ABAAC meeting is summarised in the ABAAC message. The last ABAAC meeting was October 2017 and the ABAAC message is available here (DOCX 640KB | PDF 116KB).


The Minister considered the advice of ABAAC and the Department on applications submitted through the August 2017 funding round. 

A list of organisations recommended for funding under the August 2017 ABA beneficial grant round is provided:

ABA Funding August 2017 (XLSX 28 KB | PDF 101KB)

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