NSWALC represents 120 Local Aboriginal Land Councils which collectively manage the range of support services delivered at a local level to communities.
These services include housing, legal affairs, employment, training and property acquisition and management.
Each LALC elects its own Board.
LALC Boards, staff and members are encouraged to access advice, information and support from the NSWALC in relation to all aspects of land rights. The number of Board members depends on the number of voting members of the LALC: If a LALC has more than 100 voting members they have seven to 10 board members. If a LALC member has 100 or less they have 5 to 7 board members.
Local Aboriginal Land Councils are autonomous bodies which are governed by Boards elected by local Aboriginal community members every two years.
LALCs were established under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 as the elected representatives for Aboriginal people in NSW. This role extends beyond representation of the interests of Land Council members, to all Aboriginal people living in NSW.
The network of 120 Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) is divided into nine regions. The number within each Region varies and ranges from 10 to 21.
LALCs work for their members and the wider Aboriginal community living in their local area. They assist in matters relating to the areas of housing, legal, employment and other day-to-day matters involving Aboriginal people in accordance with functions detailed under the Act.
Functions and objectives of a LALC Board
The objectives of each Local Aboriginal Land Council are to improve, protect and foster the best interests of all Aboriginal persons within the Council's area and other persons who are members of the Council.
The functions of a LALC Board are to:
- direct and control the affairs of the Land Council in accordance with the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and the council's Community Land and Business Plan
- facilitate communication between the members and the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC)
- review the performance of the Land Council in carrying out its functions and achieving its objectives
- any other function conferred by the Act.
The Act established the Land Council structure in a way that has sought to achieve a high degree of participation and involvement by every Aboriginal person in the affairs of their local community.
The on-going priority for NSWALC is to ensure that all of our Local Aboriginal Land Councils are afforded timely advice and direction on matters relevant to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, and supported through high-level training and development to build their capacity to strategically plan and manage their affairs at their local level.
A major impact on NSWALC's annual budget is the direct funding to Local Aboriginal Land Councils, comprising around $16 million of its total expenditure.
This funding is delivered in a direct grant allocation of $137,250 to each funded Local Aboriginal Land Council to assist with its administrative costs.
LALCs are also required to prepare and implement Community Land and Business Plans in consultation with:
- LALC members
- persons who have a cultural association with land in the Land Council's area
- other stakeholders