By Media Release earlier today the Northern Land Council (NLC) advised in relation to the employment of the Chief Executive Officer, Joe Martin-Jard, that:

The Northern Land Council has announced that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joe Martin-Jard, is leaving the role, effective Friday.
The NLC would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Martin-Jard for his service to the NLC and wish him well for his future.
A recruitment process for a new CEO and acting arrangements will be announced in due course.

It is unclear from this statement if Mr Martin-Jard’s employment was terminated by the NLC’s Executive Council or if he resigned, and if he did resign, whether the resignation followed negotiations between the parties or if it was by Mr Martin-Jard’s initiative alone.

The NT News is today reporting that Mr Martin-Jard had been “sacked” on “just 24-hours notice, 10 months before his three-year contract with the land council was set to expire.”

Mr Martin-Jard was Acting CEO of the NLC from mid-July 2021 following the departure of the former CEO, Ms Marion Scrymgour to pursue a career in Federal politics. He was appointed as CEO in late December 2022 on a three-year contract.

Born and raised in the Northern Territory, Mr Martin-Jard’s family connections are to the Kamilaroi people of southern Queensland. He has qualifications in education and business management, including a Bachelor of Teaching and a Masters in International Management, both from Charles Darwin University.

 Mr Martin-Jard has extensive experience with the Federal government at departmental level including Prime Minister and Cabinet, National Indigenous Australians Agency and the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.

Mr Martin-Jard also has experience in the private sector, having previously run a Top End labour hire company and has worked at Danila Dilba Aboriginal health service and with the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory (AMSANT).

Mr Martin-Jard was recently nominated by the NT News as the Northern Territory’s 30th “Most Powerful Person”.

In February this year Mr Martin-Jard and NLC staff were questioned in Senate Estimates Hearings of the Finance and Public Administration Committee by Victorian Senator Lidia Thorpe that included questions about Mr Martin-Jard’s salary package and his relationship with an NLC staff member.

Later today the NT News reported details that appeared to contradict Mr Martin-Jard’s statements to the Senate Estimate Committee Hearings.

An NLC spokesman told the NT News that Mr Martin-Jard “did not mislead parliament” by stating there was no conflict or interest or that [the staff member] did not report directly to him.

Earlier this week the Full Council of the NLC met to elect a new Chairman following the passing in November 2023 of Chairman Dr Bush-Blanasi.

On Monday this week the Full Council elected Mr Matthew Ryan, Mayor of the West Arnhem Regional Council as its new Chairman

This morning Matthew Ryan said he was, “Committed to providing the leadership to keep the organisation strong and advocating for the NLC’s seven regions,” and that, “the NLC has a vital role in assisting Aboriginal people in the Top End of the Northern Territory to acquire and manage their traditional lands for the betterment of our peoples.”

Declaration: Bob Gosford has been employed at the Northern Land Council in various roles between 1999 and late 2023.
  • Additional material was added to this piece at 4:50pm on Thursday 14 March 2023.