The AAPA is overseen by a 12-member Board. This comprises five male and five female Aboriginal custodians nominated by NT Aboriginal Land Councils, together with two Government appointees.

Members are appointed by the Administrator of the Northern Territory for three-year terms and may be reappointed.

The Board meets at least four times each year, in Darwin, Alice Springs and regional parts of the Northern Territory.

The Chair and Deputy Chair of the Board are nominated by the Board and appointed by the Administrator. They must be of opposite gender.

Relationship with the Northern Territory Government

The Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority is a Northern Territory statutory body established under the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act. The Chief Executive Officer is appointed by the Administrator of the Northern Territory and is employed by the Minister for Community Services, The Honourable Bess Nungarrayi Price MLA. The staff of the Authority are employed by the Board and are not Northern Territory public servants. 

Key functions of the Authority that are specifically excluded from Ministerial direction by the Sacred Sites Act are: staff of the AAPA (S17 of the Act); the issue of Authority Certificates ( S19A-S26 of the Act); registration of sacred sites ( S27-S29 of the Act ); permission to enter sacred sites (S43 of the Act); and prosecution under the Act (S33-S39A of the Act).

 The Honourable Bess Nungarrayi Price

The Honourable Bess Nungarrayi Price  
Minister for Community Services  

Chief Executive Officer and Staff

The AAPA’s Chief Executive Officer is also appointed by the Administrator of the Northern Territory. The CEO has overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the Authority and oversees staff in both the Darwin and Alice Springs offices.

Dr Benedict Scambary, the current CEO, was appointed in January 2008.

Dr Benedict Scambary

 CEO Dr Benedict Scambary  


The AAPA’s staff includes anthropologists, researchers, librarians, IT and GIS specialists, finance officers and general administrative officers. They are split between four operational groups, being:

•    Darwin Research
•    Corporate Services
•    Technical & Registry
•    Alice Springs Regional Office

Organisation Charts

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