The NT Land Corporation was established in 1986 by the Northern Territory Government. The purpose of the NT Land Corporation is to protect key Government land holdings until they are ready for their long term potential to be realised. The NT Land Corporation has been entrusted with selective land holdings to ensure their long term benefits are maintained. The land holdings include National Parks, Marrakai Dam catchment, land suitable for large scale agricultural developments and land for future development such as Gunn Point. More details on land held and maintained by the NT Land Corporation for future strategic use can be found at Land for Tomorrow.

For more information about the NT Land Corporation please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions.


What is the role of the NT Land Corporation?

The purpose of the Corporation is to acquire, hold, maintain, protect and release land, at the right time, for strategic use, to advance the Northern Territory’s future economic and social development.

What is the legal entity of the NT Land Corporation?

The Northern Territory Land Corporation is a corporate body set up under the Northern Territory Land Corporation Act 1986 (NT). As a private Corporation, NT Land Corporation is required to act within all Corporations Laws. The Corporation is not subject to the control and direction of a Minister of the Crown.

What is the decision-making structure of the NT Land Corporation?

The Corporation is an independent entity governed by a board. The NT Land Corporation informs the Government of the day and is mindful that development projects are not inconsistent with Territory policy. As stated in the NT Land Corporation Act, it is not subject to the direction of a minister of the Crown. 

Who are the Board members of the NT Land Corporation?

  • John Coleman

    Appointed Chairman of the NT Land Corporation in 2016, John is currently an independent consultant.  

    John, has over 40 years of leadership experience across the Northern Territory Public Sector including Treasury and Finance, Primary Industry and Fisheries, Mines and Energy, Parks and Wildlife, Tourism, Sacred Sites Authority, Asian Relations and Trade, Business and Employment, Corporation and Information Services, PowerWater Corporation, and more recently as CEO Lands and Planning, Darwin Waterfront Corporation, Land Development Corporation and the Department of the Chief Minister.

    During his career, John’s diverse roles involved the strategic planning for key developments such as the Gas Task Force, Defence Estate negotiations, Marine Supply Base, Alcan G3, Trans Territory Pipeline, Conoco Philips Gas Plant and the Inpex onshore plant and support site negotiations. He was instrumental in the significant commercial developments at East Arm including the highly successful Darwin Business Park, Vopak Fuel Terminal, the Defence all tide barge facility and the design of the Marine Industry Park. John also oversaw the innovative residential development of Bellamack Gardens, Zuccoli stage 1 at Palmerston and Kilgariff in Alice Springs. 

    Understanding the political and legislative processes combined with strong knowledge of the Northern Territory’s diverse regions, its people and organisations are important to achieving mutually agreed outcomes. John brings to the Board highly developed negotiation skills, strong direction and the ability to conceptualise solutions to complex situations and articulate pathways for various stakeholders.


    • Graduate of the Australian Institute of Management

    Board Positions & Professional Associations

    John has sat on the following Boards and Committees:

    • Joint Chair, Territory Emergency Management Coordination Committee
    • Chairman, Confederation Australian Government Senior Officers Group
    • Chairman and CEO, Land Development Corporation
    • CEO/Member, Darwin Waterfront Corporation
    • Chairman of various Government Task Force Groups dealing with Economic, Defence, Social and Community issues across the Northern Territory 
    • Joint Chair, Darwin Port Management Committee
  • Chris Bigg

    Chris joined the NT Land Corporation Board in 2003 and has over 40 years of experience in both the public and private sectors. Chris is highly experienced in transport, experienced in lands and planning and is currently Principal at Transpol Consulting Pty Ltd. Most of his consulting work since 2007 has been as policy adviser with the privatised airports operator Northern Territory Airports.

    Commencing his career with Ansett Airlines then Trans-Australia Airlines (now Qantas) in Port Moresby, Mackay and Melbourne Head Office, Chris had 10 years’ experience in the airline industry before joining the Northern Territory Government. In his 24 years with Government he led Transport and Lands and Planning as well as being Deputy in the Department of Chief Minister.

    While in Lands and Planning, Chris led the Darwin City Waterfront project from inception through to detailed bids. In Transport he drove deregulation of the Taxi industry, had personal responsibility for a critical component of the Adelaide to Darwin railway project and steered significant road safety reforms.

    Chris has sound board and governance experience, as well as post-graduate training in transport economics.


    • B.Ec. University of Queensland
    • M.A. Transport Economics, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
    • Diploma, Australian Institute of Company Directors 

    Current Board Positions & Professional Associations

    • Fellow, Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport 
    • Fellow, Australian Institute of Company Directors 


    • Chairman, Northern Territory Commercial Passenger Vehicle Board  
    • Chairman, Darwin Port Corporation Advisory Board
    • Member, Major Events Company Board
    • Member, Darwin Port Corporation Executive Board and Chairman of the Corporation’s Audit Committee
    • Member, Youth for Christ Australia Board
  • Leah Clifford

    Leah joined the NT Land Corporation Board in 2019. Having lived in the Northern Territory all her life, including five years in Alice Springs, Leah has a thorough understanding of the Territory, its history and opportunities.

    Leah began her career in the Northern Territory Government as a trainee and has worked in senior leadership and executive roles in several departments, including Lands, Planning, Housing, Transport and Infrastructure. 

    As Deputy Chief Executive of the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Leah and her team lead Lands and Planning by developing strategic plans and policies to ensure that Government can meet current and emerging needs for land and infrastructure. The division provides development and regulatory controls and plays a central role in managing the Northern Territory’s Crown Land Estate, and also develops and maintains geospatial information to support long term planning and land release. 


    • Bachelor of Economics
    • Graduate Diploma, Urban and Regional Planning
    • Master of Arts (Public Policy and Leadership)

    Professional Associations

    • Executive Fellow, Australian and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)
  • John Pinney AM

    John joined the NT Land Corporation Board in 1998 and is a qualified valuer and mediator who worked with the Northern Territory Government from 1980 to 2006. John was Chief Executive of the Department of Lands Planning and Environment, following which he was Chairman of the Development Consent Authority. He has been a member of the Pastoral Land Board and the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority.

    During his career, John’s expertise has been in land and building development, property valuation and urban planning. He was particularly involved in negotiations at a national level about funding and legislation, and locally about commercial matters. He has expertise in cross-cultural negotiations relating to native title, Aboriginal Land and sacred sites.

    He has qualifications and experience in rural land management, acquisition and sales, valuation, planning, land development, natural resource management and mediation. In his various board positions, both government and non-government, he has exercised financial management, corporate strategy development, risk management and international diplomacy.


    • Graduate qualifications in agriculture, economics and management
    • Member of the Order of Australia – Representation and Diplomacy (International representation of Red Cross)

    Board Positions & Professional Associations

    • Fellow, Australian Property Institute (valuation and land economy)
    • Fellow, Australian Institute of Company Directors
    • Member, Australian Red Cross Property Committee, Queensland Advisory Board and Migration Programs Advisory Group


    • Chairman, Australian Red Cross International Committee
    • Chairman, Development Consent Authority
    • Member, Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority
    • Member and Vice Chairman, Australian Red Cross Board
    • Member, Australian Building Codes Board
    • Member, National Environment Protection Council
    • Member, NT Pastoral Land Board
    • Member, NT Education Advisory Council
    • Member, NT Heritage Council
  • Dr David Ritchie

    Dr David Ritchie joined the NT Land Corporation Board in 2003. David has 37 years of experience working in the Northern Territory for organisations responsible for land management in professional expert, senior management and executive roles. His work includes extensive experience with statutory boards with roles in land development, land rights, and environment and heritage legislation.

    For more than 20 years, David has held Chief Executive roles leading organisations responsible for land resource planning, remote service delivery, parks and wildlife, natural resource management, environment protection, Aboriginal cultural heritage and museums, art galleries and archives. Throughout his career David has worked extensively in remote regions of the Northern Territory, working closely with Aboriginal communities.

    David also brings specific planning experience gained in the roles of Executive Director Lands, Chief Executive Department of Lands & Planning and Chief Executive of the NT Land Development Corporation. 


    • Bachelor of Arts (Hons), Cultural Anthropology – La Trobe University
    • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D), Anthropology and Social History – Deakin University 
    • Diploma, Australian Institute of Company Directors

    Board Positions & Professional Associations

    • Chair, NT Planning Commission.
    • Chair, NT Grants Commission
    • Director, Ninti One Limited
    • Fellow, Australian Anthropological Society 
    • Member, Professional Historians Association (NT)
    • Member, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies


    • CEO/Member, Land Development Corporation Board  
    • Tropical Savannahs Co-Operative Research Centre
    • Foundation member, NT Heritage Advisory Council 
    • Chair, National Aboriginal Sites Authorities Committee and Legislation Sub-Committee
  • Jo Townsend

    Jo joined the NT Land Corporation Board in 2019 and has more than 24 years of experience in the Northern Territory public sector. Jo has held executive leadership roles for 15 years and has been responsible for leading and reforming a range of diverse portfolio areas such as child protection, alcohol and other drugs and family and youth support services. 

    Currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Territory’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Jo is responsible for ensuring the effective delivery of natural resource monitoring assessment and management of natural resource assets across the Northern Territory.  

    Jo’s role includes overseeing policy and planning, and providing management and advice on flora and fauna, water resources, geospatial services, bushfire mitigation, pests and weeds as well as the management of the Territory’s pastoral estate.  Jo is also responsible for assessment, monitoring, compliance and support services on behalf of the Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority.


    • Bachelor of Arts 
    • Graduate Diploma in Applied Psychology

What are the day to day operations of the NT Land Corporation?

The Corporation is responsible for the maintenance and preservation of its land assets, as well as project development and assessment, lease and licence preparations, administration and property management.

How can Territorians be sure that the Corporation is operating in the best long-term interest of the Territory?

The Corporation exists to ensure that its land is available for future strategic uses, at the right time, to enable the Northern Territory to realise its long-term development potential. 

The success of past and current projects such as Venn Horticultural Subdivision and Limmen National Park are two examples that demonstrate the Corporation’s commitment to enabling long-term industries that contribute to the Territory’s ongoing development.

Who decides what land is used for what purpose? And when?

The Board decides when the time is right to develop or release land. Until there is critical population mass or suitable development investment capital, preserving strategic land designated for future use ensures that short term projects and activities do not damage or erode the long term potential and purpose of the land. (eg. poisoning, clearing or inappropriate development of areas). 

What are some of the Corporation’s specific purpose land earmarked for future strategic development?

  • Larrimah Agricultural Precinct
  • Gunn Point Peninsula
  • Wildman Horticultural Precinct
  • Marrakai Dam Site

How does the NT Land Corporation differ from the Land Development Corporation?

The Land Development Corporation is the NT Government’s strategic industrial, residential and commercial land developer and is a Government Business Division.

The Northern Territory Land Corporation is not a Government entity and has the ability to hold strategic land for long periods to facilitate the release of land when appropriate.

Was the NT Land Corporation set up to shield land from Aboriginal land rights claims?

The NT Land Corporation was established to ensure that land is available for use at the right time to advance the Northern Territory’s future economic and social development. Land held by the Corporation is subject to native title in the same manner as Crown land.

In what circumstances is land handed over from the NT Land Corporation to NT Government?

The NT Government can request that Corporation-owned land which is fit for purpose be handed over for a major development which will bring long term benefits to the Territory. An example of this is Limmen National Park. The NT Land Corporation held and maintained Nathan River Station, Billengarrah and St Vidgeon until such time as the Limmen National Park was gazetted in July 2012. The properties were then formally transferred back to the NT Government to be managed by Parks and Wildlife.

How do people contact the NT Land Corporation? Where can I get further information?

The Corporation can be contacted by phone (8999 3868) or email us via our webform.