Request for Information
In accordance with the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) maintains records of all recorded sites that it has identified in the Northern Territory. This information indicates what the Authority currently knows about an area.
A ‘Request for Information’ is a service that makes available to the public any known sacred site records that may exist over an area of interest.
The sites that are listed in the Records fall into two main categories:
- Registered Sites – these are sacred sites that Aboriginal custodians have asked the AAPA to protect and that have been comprehensively documented and evaluated by the AAPA. Registered sites include information on locations and boundaries. These make up the Register of Sacred Sites.
- Recorded Sites – these are sacred sites that have been made known to the AAPA from a variety of sources. In many cases the AAPA has not been able to assess the accuracy of its information regarding recorded sites, nor have these sites been fully mapped.
A ‘Request for Information’ is not a definitive way of determining the location of all sacred sites in a given area (particularly where use of land or sea may result in disturbance of features) and only indicates sacred sites known to AAPA. There is a risk that a sacred site previously unknown to AAPA may be identified after the commencement of works, leaving no option but to cease works under the provisions of the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act. This is because the Act applies to all sacred sites in the Northern Territory, not just sites registered or recorded by the Authority.
A ‘Request for Information’ does not indemnify the applicant for works that are carried out and does not protect from prosecution if a site is damaged, desecrated or trespassed upon. Only an Authority Certificate provides protection in a Court of Law (provided the certificate conditions are met).
It is recommended that the public use the ‘Request for Information’ process during the preliminary planning stage of a project and seek an Authority Certificate prior to commencing works.
Types of Requests
A 'Request for Information' from AAPA Records is available for inspection by anyone with a bone fide interest in specific areas of land or sea in the Northern Territory.
There are three options when lodging a Request for Information:
Abstract of Records
An Abstract of Records is useful to anyone seeking to know whether sacred sites exist in a particular area of land that they are interested in. Applicants are provided with a written abstract and map (if applicable) of all of the known recorded and registered sacred sites within an area of land at the time the application is received. It may also contain any Restricted Works Areas (RWAs) that relate to Authority Certificates that have been issued in the past.
The mapping product is an A3 size map that shows registered sacred sites, registered sacred site boundaries, recorded sites (no boundary information is given for recorded sites) and restricted work area boundaries from previously issued Authority Certificates.
Note: AAPA does not normally provide sacred site information in a digital GIS format.
Viewing of Registered Sacred Site Public Register
The Register of Sacred Sites can be inspected at the Authority’s offices where access to information on the location and extent of registered sites within a clearly specified project area, identified by a lot number is provided. Copies are not available. This inspection provides the centre coordinate point of the site, features of the site, geographic description, custodian details and the tradition associated with the site. Information regarding recorded sacred sites is not available.
Viewing of Authority Certificate Public Register
The Register of Authority Certificates can be inspected at the Authority’s offices. The Authority will provide access to information on Authority Certificates subject to commercial and secrecy exclusions. The information available includes a list of Authority Certificates granted or refused for a specified area, including the conditions for any works that may have been proposed for that area. Such conditions can include but are not limited to no damage, no ground disturbing works, no damage to trees, no removal of sand or gravel, no access etc.
Please Note: Copies of Authority Certificates can only be granted or authorised by the holder of the certificate(s) and proof of such is required in writing.
Applying for a Request for Information
Fees and Charges
|Application Fees||Costs* (GST is not applicable)|
|Inspection of the Register of Sacred Sites. Charges are per Sacred Site inspected||$26.00|
|Inspection of the Register kept under section 26 of the Act. Charges are per inspection of Authority Certificate application and related Certificate or refusal.||$26.00|
|An abstract of the Authority’s records (this includes a map up to A3 size showing known sacred sites). Charges are per Parcel, Lot, Mining Tenement or Pastoral Lease etc.||$26.00|
|Additional information which can be provided with an abstract of the Authority’s records||Costs** (GST is applicable)|
|Per Additional map up to A3 size||$26.00|
|Maps over A3 size:
Per map (for the first 5 maps)
|Per additional map (when acquiring more than 5 maps)||$32.00|
Please view the Fees and Charges Factsheet
Frequently Asked Questions
Why can’t I view information about Recorded Sacred Sites?
Recorded sacred sites have not been entered into the Register of Sacred Sites. As recorded sites, they have not been as comprehensively documented as registered sacred sites. Recorded sites are shown with site markers on an Abstract of Records as indicative of their location. They are protected under the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act in the same way that registered sacred sites are.
Can I walk into an AAPA Office and receive instant access to AAPA Records?
The public are welcome to come into an AAPA Office to find out about the process to Request for Information from Records, but instant access to records is not possible. Requesting to view the Register of Sites or Authority Certificates requires the Registrar to retrieve the specific hard copy records and organise a suitable meeting time/room with you.
This process may take a week or two to complete before an appointment time and date can be confirmed.
You will be required to attend in person at either the Darwin or Alice Springs office, once you have an appointment confirmed by the Registrar.
Who can inspect AAPA Records?
Information from Records is available for inspection by anyone with a bone fide interest in specific areas of land or sea in the Northern Territory.
What do I receive when my application has been processed?
A request for an Abstract of Records is the most popular form of Request for Information. You may receive a summary letter and a map (where required) of your request area with polygons and points representing AAPA records.
Can I choose an appointment time to view the hardcopy records?
When lodging a request to view hard copy records at an AAPA office, you may indicate your preferred time, day and location. The Registrar will work with you determine the appointment time and date. You must allow at least two weeks for the Registrar to make contact with you to confirm appointment details.
How long does an application take to process?
Applications can usually be processed in less than two weeks.
How much does it cost?
There is currently a $26 Fee (no GST) for each application for an Abstract or to inspect either Register.