Indigenous Economic Development

Gilbert + Tobin and Chalk & Behrendt together provide market-leading commercial legal advice for Indigenous companies and organisations, and to governments and corporates working with Indigenous landholders and other groups.

Our Approach

For Indigenous companies and organisations to utilise their assets and realise their aims, they need access to excellent legal advice and to creative thinking in areas including structuring, land use and financing. 

Gilbert + Tobin and Chalk & Behrendt are committed to working with clients to unlock economic opportunities, build capability and find innovative ways to support sustainable economic development – development that aligns with the culture and aspirations of our clients and their communities.

Gilbert + Tobin and Chalk & Behrendt have expertise in advising Indigenous companies and organisations, governments and corporates working with Indigenous landholders in:

  • Native title and land claims and cultural heritage.
  • Negotiating and drafting land use agreements.
  • Structuring of legal entities and governance.
  • Financing.
  • Joint venture agreements.
  • Resources, water and licensing agreements.
  • Planning and environmental law.
  • Funds management.
  • Tax.

Chalk & Behrendt

  • NSW Aboriginal Land Council on the structure of its gas joint venture, including providing assistance with the establishment and governance of NSWALC subsidiaries and ongoing advice regarding regulatory compliance and governance.
  • Paradigm Resources Pty Ltd on proposed changes to NSW laws affecting the company’s gas interest and assisting with successful representations to ensure changes did not disadvantage the project.
  • Wik Timber Holdings Ltd in relation to its timber harvesting project, including in relation to various commercial aspects and the Indigenous Land Use Agreement for the project. 
  • Wangan & Jagalinou People in relation to the proposed Adani Mining Indigenous Land Use Agreement and in the joint venture negotiations with Transfield Services.
  • Marnda Mia CNC Pty Ltd on leading the successful Pilbara Rio Tinto native title negotiations on behalf of the Traditional Owners which set benchmarks for iron ore royalty payments and community business structures.
  • Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council on coordinating a major land subdivision in north-western Sydney and facilitating commercial partnerships with various stakeholders including Government in relation to urban development.
  • Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council on assisting to preserve a development consent in relation to a major tourism project in northern New South Wales, including representations to the NSW Department of Planning and facilitating engagement with the local government authority.

Gilbert + Tobin

  • Cape York Partnerships: 
    • Advice on structuring and heads of agreement for private/public partnership for Good to Great Schools.
    • Establishment and restructure of entities including the Cape York Girl Academy and Bama Cape York Services Ltd.
    • Development of template contracts and sub-contracts including for Bama Cape York Services Ltd, Every Child is Special Project, Cape York Employment.
    • Document agreement to develop aged care facility.
    • Advice on Student Education Trust.
  • Murchison Region Aboriginal Land Council on the ratings liability under Local Government legislation for housing provided exclusively to Aboriginal People.
  • MG Corporation on assisting to restructure current group of 7 companies and 3 trusts so its corporate structure is fit for purpose in the modern context. 
  • Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation on establishing legal entities for commercial operations within the Balkanu Group including for Aurukun Wetlands Cruise, Archer Point Windfarm, Dreaming Trail.
  • Tribal Warrior in relation to the development and management of Blackwattle Bay Marina including joint venture agreement.
  • Advised on the establishment of Jarjum College Redfern.