Your community’s future

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, investing Native Title funds through a Native Title trust helps ensure their money benefits the whole community, now and in the future.

The trust structure enables funds to be distributed fairly and sustainably. It helps ensure the money is used to deliver the outcomes most sought by the community. Whether that’s health, education, self-sufficiency, cultural preservation or to drive future financial independence via training, business or property ownership or on-country development.

As one of Australia’s most experienced trustees and investment managers, Perpetual can help your community manage money and administer the trust. Most importantly our approach is always based on listening to and acting on community needs.


Leading Indigenous communities in Australia shape and change the lives of their members. Amongst the communities Perpetual works with we find common hopes – and it is these aspirations that drive the success of the communities and of the people who live in them.

Working with Communities

The most important outcome of having a well-structured Native Title trust, good investment management and deep community involvement is the tangible benefits it brings to communities. Here are just a few examples from some of the communities Perpetual has worked with.

Larrakia Ichthys LNG Foundation Trust, Northern Territory

The Larrakia Ichthys LNG Foundation Trust (LIFT) near Darwin, is focused on education, community and culture and support for the elderly. As Trustee, Perpetual works with the INPEX Larrakia Advisory Committee on funding decisions. In its first two years the LIFT funded a School Participation Program accessed by 148 Larrakia students from 53 schools around Australia. It established a scholarship program and an upskilling program that builds skills in areas including land remediation and construction. LIFT is also supporting a study that will underpin a comprehensive Larrakia elder care program.

The Kokatha General Trust, South Australia

In 2019, Kokatha Mining Services, a subsidiary of the Kokatha Aboriginal Corporation, applied for funding for plant, equipment and working capital to commence a services contract at OZ Minerals’ Carapateena mine.

Perpetual worked with the Trust Advisory Council (TAC), reviewing the finances, human resource and capital equipment needs under the contract and provided advice to the TAC regarding the funding decision.

This contract now provides direct employment of 7 people and is pivotal in increasing access further training and commercial opportunities for Kokatha community members through the growing KMS operations and onsite profile.

Pilbara, Western Australia

In 2019, Perpetual’s Native Title team worked with a Pilbara-based native title group to roll out a home ownership program that provides financial support to members for the purchase, building, renovation, maintenance or mortgage repayments of a home. 

In 18 months, home ownership in one Pilbara community increased from 2% to 22%.

Perpetual and the community also worked on improving personal financial management. The number of community members with a valid will has now increased by 50%.

Western Australia and South Australia

In early 2020, Perpetual consulted with Trust advisory councils, government and local leaders to expedite the rapid release of emergency funds from their trusts to help communities combat COVID-19.

Given distance and isolation, some communities faced serious food security challenges. As Trustee, Perpetual worked with local government and logistics businesses to ensure supplies got to communities:

  • Some 450 extra-large food packages were purchased and distributed to remote and regional Aboriginal communities
  • Over one million dollars of financial assistance was distributed to numerous beneficiaries across three communities

Walking beside you on your journey

Perpetual provides a wide range of services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Those services are tailored to the needs of each community. Perpetual also works closely with other stakeholders – government, business, Aboriginal Corporations, NGOs, NFPs and philanthropists – to deliver for communities.

Managing and advising on your community’s trust

A trust is a legal arrangement where a trustee agrees to hold and manage assets for the benefit of others (the beneficiaries).

The community is the heart of a Native Title trust. Indeed, Native Title trusts are designed to put control in the hands of your whole community, rather than individuals. At Perpetual we make sure the community stays in control.

In some communities Perpetual works with, elected representatives from the community who decide how the community benefit from their Native Title trust.

Other communities set up an advisory council made up of members elected by the community, who work with the trustee to plan and budget for the trust. You can also act as your own trustee with representatives of the community in control of all aspects of the trust. (This can be more expensive than working with a professional trustee and is complex to maintain over time).

Whatever approach is decided on, the key is that the design and management of the trust is tuned to achieving your community’s goals:

  • We work with you to design a trust management plan based on your community's priorities, goals and vision. This becomes the long-term strategy for the trust.
  • Perpetual is responsible and accountable for the complex and time-consuming legal, accounting and administrative duties of a trustee.
  • We help communities structure their trust to suit their needs. A full-service Native Title trust is typically set up by communities with large sums to manage. For communities managing smaller funds, Perpetual’s Native Title and Community Trust provides the same vital investment, trustee, distribution and compliance services – but with lower costs and easier admin.

Investment management

Native Title trusts are designed to ensure all community assets – land, property, lease income etc. - are working to meet community needs and that the proceeds are distributed fairly and sustainably and in line with the rules laid down by the community (and the law).

It’s crucial that those assets are well-managed – that is, invested prudently and successfully. That means:

  • Invested to generate cashflow that can be distributed to meet the community members’ short-term needs.
  • Invested to grow over time – to counter the effects of inflation and, more importantly, to grow the capital base so the Trust can provide for community needs long into the future.
  • Invested in line with any ethical considerations important to the community.
  • Invested using a clear, carefully designed investment strategy that balances risk and return and is tuned to the needs of the community.

Perpetual is a large Australian investment manager. We invest money for individuals, businesses, superannuation funds, foreign investors and charities.

Our long-held investment philosophy – protect and grow – is ideally suited to investing for Indigenous communities. It is focused on protecting their hard-won capital, deploying it effectively in the community and growing that capital to fund communities’ long-term needs.

Executive office

In addition to funding infrastructure and development – clinics, community facilities, cultural enrichment – Native Title trusts have an important role to play in supporting individual community members. They do this by funding vital services – everything from doctor and hospital fees, medical transport, educational grants – and much more.

This is important work, generating real benefits for community members. However, it is time consuming and complicated and there are a range of legal, ethical and sustainability concerns that need to be managed.

Our Executive Office team helps communities manage these important services (many of this team come from communities themselves). The payments team helps communities verify, reconcile and make these payments. The call centre is run by experienced staff with financial expertise and deep knowledge of Trust rules and law. This means all activities are managed efficiently, are fair and in line with the trust deed.


Meet the team

Helping build communities that make life better for their members

As a licensed trustee, Perpetual is accountable to the communities it serves and is also accountable to several regulatory bodies. That underpins the partnership with communities – but is only one of the reasons to partner with Perpetual:

  • We are one of Australia’s largest and most experienced trustees. Established in 1886, we have looked after some of our clients for over five generations.
  • We have a proven track record of protecting and growing money for our clients over the long term.
  • Most importantly, we have experience working closely with Aboriginal communities across Australia. We have a dedicated Native Title trusts and Investments team and work with over 15 Aboriginal community clients across South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
  • We are also proud to be supporting Aboriginal people and businesses through the following organisations.


For more information, contact our national Native Title trusts team on 08 9224 4400 or 08 8418 5656 or by emailing

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Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this (publication / website / video etc.) may contain the (images / voices / names) of people who have passed away. Perpetual Private advice and services are provided by Perpetual Trustee Company Limited (PTCo) ABN 42 000 001 007, AFSL 236643. This webpage contains general information only and is not intended to provide you with financial advice or take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider, with a financial or other adviser, whether the information is suitable for your circumstances. To the extent permitted by law, no liability is accepted for any loss or damage as a result of any reliance on this information. To view the Perpetual Group's Financial Services Guide, please click here. The information is believed to be accurate at the time of compilation and is provided in good faith. This information, including any assumptions and conclusions is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of relevant practice or law that is often complex and can change. This article may contain information contributed by third parties. PTCo do not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information contributed by a third party. Any views expressed in this article are opinions of the author at the time of writing and do not constitute a recommendation to act. No company in the Perpetual Group (Perpetual Limited ABN 86 000 431 827 and its subsidiaries) guarantees the performance of any fund or the return of an investor’s capital. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.