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An Authority Certificate protects sacred sites from damage by setting out the conditions for using or carrying out works proposed by a proponent on an area of land and/or sea. These conditions relate to sacred sites in the area or in the vicinity of the proposed works, so that they are not damaged.

The Authority Certificate is a legal document issued under the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act. It indemnifies the holder against prosecution under the Act for damage to sacred sites in the area of the Certificate. This is provided the proposed work or use has been carried out in accordance with the conditions of the Certificate.

Persons or organisations wanting an Authority Certificate can apply to the Authority using the Authority Certificate online application form. The Authority will issue a Certificate when it is satisfied that the use of or work on the area in question can proceed without there being a substantive risk of damage to or interference with a sacred site on or in the vicinity of the area. A Certificate may also be issued if an agreement has been reached between the Aboriginal custodians of any affected sites and the applicant for the Certificate.

All applications are charged a lodgement fee. The cost of the Certificate varies depending upon the complexity and location of the proposed works. Recoverable costs include researcher’s fees, payments to Aboriginal custodians for consultations, travel costs and incidentals.