DEAL was established in November 2014, in response to Rio Tinto’s decision to curtail production at the Gove alumina refinery.
DEAL received seed funding of $2 million from each of its members: the Northern Territory Government and Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto also transferred 250 Nhulunbuy properties to DEAL to provide housing for eligible businesses and organisations and generate income to invest in the region.
DEAL is an independent not-for-profit which was established to:
- facilitate investment and economic development opportunities between Yolŋu Traditional Owners, local organisations and businesses, governments and investors
- to promote prosperity and resilience for the region’s people.
East Arnhem is steeped in Yolŋu history, culture and songlines making it one of the most culturally rich and significant places in Australia. The region is also unique in that 100 percent of the land is Aboriginal owned.
The Yolŋu Traditional Owners’ vision and aspiration for the region is to keep towns, communities and homelands strong while enhancing economic development. DEAL’s work is driven by the Traditional Owners’ and communities’ aspirations for the future and is linked closely to the East Arnhem Regional Economic Growth Plan (REGP).
East Arnhem is currently transitioning from dependence on the long-term Rio Tinto mining operations, due to end by 2030. This has created the opportunity to develop a diversified economy that supports local jobs and infrastructure.
Situated in Nhulunbuy, DEAL works across the East Arnhem region and is uniquely positioned to drive development and investment opportunities to smooth the transition from mining dependence to a diversified economy that grows and strengthens local jobs and communities and means people can access services, live safe, and be happy and connected with the world.
Since its inception, DEAL has been instrumental in securing vital industry and infrastructure investment across the region and supporting economic diversification.
DEAL shares a positive, strategic, long-term vision for East Arnhem:
- Yolŋu as leaders and partners in economic life and development opportunities
- A prosperous, diversified and resilient East Arnhem economy
- Nhulunbuy as a sustainable regional centre.
Our mission is to drive economic development and investment in East Arnhem to promote prosperity and resilience for the region and opportunity for its people.
- We lead collaboration across the region, as trusted partners to Yolŋu Traditional Owners, businesses, investors, and governments
- We unlock creative opportunities for development, guided by evidence and in collaboration with Traditional Owners
- We are a front door for investment in East Arnhem and independent advocates for the region and its people.
DEAL’s first Strategic Plan in 2015 provided the groundwork for its 2020-2025 iteration, which was ambitious and anticipated the new challenges East Arnhem would face. In 2022, we developed our Pathway to 2035 which provides a clear statement on our focus and priorities.
Building on DEAL’s work to date, and as the region enters a period of transition,
our priorities are clear, we are committed to delivery and to achieving a growing,
diverse and sustainable economy across East Arnhem.
Our people have the necessary expertise and local knowledge to facilitate investment and economic development opportunities in East Arnhem between Yolŋu Traditional Owners, local organisations and businesses, governments and investors.
Our experienced Board of Directors provides our governance and compliance structures, oversees our financial performance and sets the strategic direction for our team to implement.