IT'S TIME: LAND CLAIMS PROCESS NEEDS REVAMP

NSWALC send this urgent message of action to all Local Aboriginal Land Councils state wide.

July 12, 2010

As another NAIDOC week comes to an end, it's timely to take another look at where the Land Council Network stands in regards to our core business... land rights.

As many of our members would be aware, NSWALC has been urging the NSW Keneally Government to work with NSWALC to clear a mounting backlog of un-determined land claims.

Here are some stats to consider...

  • At the end of June this year, there were a whopping 18,000 land claims awaiting determination from the Department of Lands.
  • 9125 of those were lodged in the last financial year alone.
  • There are approximately 360 claims that have been granted, but not transferred.
  • Some outstanding claims were lodged as far back as 1984.

The current situation is working to stifle the economic development of Aboriginal communities in this state.

Your communities!

The state government claims it lacks the staff and resources to work through the land claims, however NSWALC thinks some changes to the process of assessing the claims could result in a desperately needed acceleration of the entire process.

While NSWALC welcomes the Government's recent announcement of additional resources for land claims in the NSW budget, it calls on the Government to sit down with NSWALC to ensure these resources are used in a way that results in better outcomes for the Land Council network.

Attempts to negotiate directly with the Government have, to this point, yielded little in the way of progress.

NSWALC and the LALCs are in effect being penalised for conducting our core business well... that's lodging land claims.

Action must be taken.

It's in this trying environment that NSWALC has decided to carry out an information and letter writing campaign, aimed at giving Land Councils a voice to let Local Members of Parliament, and consequently the State Government know just how important Land Rights is.

This campaign will focus on the following key demands:

  • That the Government work cooperatively with NSWALC to improve the land claims process for all Land Councils.
  • That the Government provide free access to information, such as title searching, that will allow Land Councils to make better quality claims.
  • That the Government stop transferring limited title to Land Councils.

As part of this fresh approach, LALCs will be provided with fact sheets and campaign letter templates over the coming month.

THE SOLUTION

 Local Aboriginal Land Councils are essential to the success of this campaign.

Information will be sent out to every LALC over the next month, (there's a fact sheet attached to this message (), providing some background about the issues we're all facing.

Letter templates about the three issues listed above will accompany the next three Network Messages.

The pre-scripted letters directly address our collective concerns, and will urge everyone's Local Member of Parliament to act on this issue and act now.

LALCs can then simply send these letters to their members or modify them as they wish to reflect their particular concerns...the more letters, the louder our voice becomes.

STAGE ONE

The initial stage of this campaign is strictly informational. Attached to this message is a fact sheet entitled 'What is a Land Claim?'

It's designed to 'fill in the gaps' for LALCs and members who might not know how the claims process works, and dispels some of the many myths surrounding land rights.

In a week's time the second series of fact sheets will be distributed via the 'Network Messages' function on the website, www.alc.org.au, and the first of three letter templates will also be made available.

CONTACT CHRIS MUNRO AT NSWALC MEDIA AND MARKETING: 0438 760 242

MORE INFORMATION AND FACT SHEET #1 CAN BE FOUND AT:

http://www.alc.org.au/issues/land-claims-campaign-2010.aspx