The NT Government risks driving away investment with the introduction of veto powers over the non-pastoral use permit system, the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association has claimed.
The NTCA has opposed changes to the permit system it says was brought in by stealth by the Government more than 15 months ago.
The changes were raised in the NT Parliament this week.
NTCA chief executive officer Ashley Manicaros said under the federal Native Title Act there were mechanisms for native title holders to have access to the lands and the current NPU system ensured Native Title Holder rights were not impinged regarding access and sacred sites.
"What the Gunner Government has sought to do and what Minister Lawler has again reaffirmed is they want Native Title holders telling pastoralists what they can and can't do on the land that they manage and operate properties in a $1 billion industry," Mr Manicaros said.
"The Government is seeking to punish the only industry in the black by introducing unnecessary red tape that would see decision making timelines in this area dragged out to more than 500 days, if we reach them at all, given at this point in time the Pastoral Land Board which reviews all non-pastoral use permits does not have a quorum and is unable to sit."
He said there was no legal reason to introduce a right to negotiate.
"Native Title holders will derive royalties and compensation for the work of onshore gas companies before the pastoralists ever will and we expect the level of compensation will be dramatically less despite the fact we are a $1 billion industry which feeds millions of Indonesians on a yearly basis."
NTCA president Chris Nott said the NT cannot afford to have the current growth of the industry slowed by poor government policy and said the key to economic success was opening Aboriginal land for Indigenous people to be able to capitalise on the growth.
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