As most visitors and Nhulunbuy-ites know, all ngapaki (non-Yolngu) must obtain an access permit from Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation before entering any of the Designated Recreation Areas.
Permits enable general access to Recreational Areas on Aboriginal land whilst ensuring Traditional Owners’ conditions are met and the areas are maintained and sustainably managed in a way we can all enjoy.
Traditionally access permits have been issued from the Dhimurru office, but now the organisation is moving with the times and shifting its permit application system online.
While the office will still be open for any face-to-face enquiries and fully contactable by phone or email for any problems or permit-related questions, anyone who wishes to purchase an access permit can do so by visiting the website; www.dhimurru.com.au.
Payments can be made by credit card and as long as you have your email address to access the system, all related details will be securely available online.
The same will also apply for access to Special Permit areas.
Access permits for Manangaymi (Scout Camp), Gapuru (Memorial Park), Wanuwauy (Cape Arnhem) and Ganami (Wonga Creek) will all be bookable via the new system, with a fully functional calendar enabling visitors or local residents to check availability 24/7.
The organisation hopes these changes will be welcomed; if a sunny Saturday morning beckons, there’s now no reason people can’t purchase an access permit and head out to the restricted recreational areas the same day – provided spaces are available, of course.
These changes do mean that Dhimurru will no longer be issuing stickers and Rangers will be taking down registrations as a means of checking permit currency.
Dhimurru issues access permits with delegated authority from the Northern Land Council, pursuant to the Northern Territory Aboriginal Land Act 1979. The Act requires all individuals wanting to access Aboriginal Land to have a current access permit and access without the correct recreational access permits is a prosecutable offence.
The organisation is also toughening up its cancellation policy. Last minute changes can mean previously in-demand camping spots end up sitting empty, so in the future there will be no refund or credit available for Special Permits cancelled with less than 48 hours’ notice.
Special Permit cancellations that give a minimum of 48 hours’ notice will incur a $10 cancellation fee, but the remaining balance will continue to be issued in the form of a credit note. All cancellations will still be managed by contacting the Dhimurru Aboriginal Corporation office directly and only in office hours.
Dhimurru hopes this new, more flexible system will make life easier for residents and tourists interested in exploring Nhulunbuy’s natural beauty in a responsible way. It also wants to reassure people that it will still be on-hand to help with any enquiries - and inevitable teething issues - at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on 08 8939 2700, and in person from 830am until 4pm, Monday to Friday.