Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) Grant Funding

The Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) is part of arrangements under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA).

Mining on Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory (NT) generates royalties. The Commonwealth pays into the ABA an amount based on the value of these royalties.

Each financial year up to $30 million is set aside to fund:

  • One-off projects that will benefit Aboriginal people in the NT.
  • Projects that are not the responsibility of government funding.

NT based Indigenous controlled organisations are encouraged to apply.

Funding rounds

  • The next funding round opens 3 December 2018 and closes 1 February 2019.
  • We expect to announce the outcome of the August round in December 2018.


  1. Review our funding fact sheet of what ABA does and does not fund
  2. Contact us on 1800 354 612 to discuss your proposal
  3. Use the ABA Application Kit to guide your preparation
  4. Submit an application via our online form
  5. Allow at least 14 weeks for the application to be assessed
  6. You will be informed of the outcome
  7. If you are successful, you will need to enter into a funding agreement

Who can apply

You must have an ABN and be registered for GST.

To apply you must have ‘full legal capacity’ to enter into an agreement with the Commonwealth.

Indigenous owned or controlled organisations and individuals (sole traders) are encouraged to apply.  

Who can’t apply

You are not eligible to apply for funding if you are:

State and Territory Governments are unable to apply for the August 2018 round. Applicants can apply for funding for a project that is implemented in partnership with State and Territory Government.

Preparing your application

We are looking for applications that support participation of Indigenous controlled organisations. It is preferred that applicants are based in the Northern Territory.

Our staff can provide you with help.

Please contact us to discuss your proposal before starting your application.

Our contact details are 1800 354 612 or email aba@network.pmc.gov.au. You can arrange to meet us at our office in Jacana House, 39-41 Woods Street, Darwin. We also have Network offices and staff located across the Northern Territory.

Required documents

Below are the key documents and guidance that you will need to prepare your application:

Application kit

Read the ABA Application Kit before starting an application form. The application kit is based on the ABA Section 64(4) Beneficial Grant Guidelines.

Grant guidelines

The ABA Section 64(4) Beneficial Grant Guidelines are the authoritative source of information for your application.

Proposed budget

You are required to submit a proposed budget for the life of the project using the proposed budget template.

Supplementary documents

Below is a list of documents that you may also need to include depending on the nature of your proposal:

Business investment

If your proposal relates to business investment, you must consult with Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) using the ABA form. The consultation will provide your business proposal with 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. Follow these instructions for contacting the IBA. Include your correspondence with IBA in your application.

Land acquisition

If your proposal relates to land acquisition or management, or agriculture, you must consult with Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC). 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. Follow these instructions for contacting the ILC. Include your correspondence with the ILC in your application.

Land tenure through leasing

You will need to get a formal form of tenure if you are proposing to develop assets on Aboriginal land. For example, a section 19 lease under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALRA).

You should first work with your local Land Council to get tenure, and your proposal should either:

  • Confirm the lease is in place.
  • State the current status of your application to secure a lease.

Financial position

If you do not have a current Funding Agreement with the Department you must prove financial viability. You can do this by providing a mix of:

  • Audited financial statements.
  • Evidence of viability (for example, a certified statement from an approved person).


If your proposal includes the purchase of equipment, you will need to provide quotes with your application. Quotes must not be more than 12 months old.

Funding over $250,000

If your request for funding is over $250,000, you need to provide a project management plan or a business plan.

Project management plans should provide enough information for effective implementation of the project.

The level of detail should match the level of complexity for the project. A detailed project management plan for a complex project would include:

  • The budget (using our template)
  • Project timeline
  • Risk assessment with mitigation strategies
  • Performance framework
  • Cost benefit analysis
  • Stakeholder consultation plan.


Strengthen your application with letters of support. These can be from:

  • Stakeholders (including complimentary service providers).
  • People that the project will benefit.
  • Mainstream funding bodies (to show that your project isn't their responsibility).


It is recommended that you don’t have any outstanding acquittals of ABA funding.

Proposals with multiple projects

Each project requires a separate application for funding. We assess every application for funding on its own merit. The assessment of one project will not affect the assessment of another. 

Submitting your application

An example of an application form is available for review outside of the funding rounds. Use this as a guide only, we are unable to accept this form as your submission.

The online ABA Application Form will become available once the round opens.

Assessing applications

Once a funding round closes, we undertake the assessment of the applications. We provide our assessment to the ABA Advisory Committee (ABAAC) for their consideration.

The ABAAC reviews the assessment and provides advice to the Minister for Indigenous Affairs.

The Minister uses this information when deciding which applications will proceed to the negotiation of a funding agreement.

Results from previous rounds

The outcome of the February 2018 round will be announced in early July 2018.

A list of organisations recommended for funding in previous funding rounds is available:

Entering into an agreement

If successful, you will be required to enter into a grant agreement with us. You will need to meet the conditions included in your agreement. The Grant Agreement template is an example of our general conditions.

You will need to be incorporated under the CATSI Act or the Corporations Act if you:

  1. are an organisation, and
  2. receive more than $499,999 of Commonwealth funding in a financial year.

Special projects

The ABA supports two targeted projects:

The first stage of the ABA Homelands Project has begun. The Northern Territory land councils are consulting with remote homelands in their regions. Further information is available on the Homelands Project page.

The ABA Stores Infrastructure Project has been completed. Eighteen Northern Territory communities have received new or upgraded stores. Further information is available on the Stores Infrastructure Project page.

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