SPEEDING UP THE LAND CLAIMS PROCESS: STAGE 3

Title Searching

July 27, 2010

Central to the core business of the NSW land rights network is the identification of claimable land within NSW.  Land councils have been established by the state government precisely for the purpose of making claims to land.

Parish maps are used as a starting point for this process, but this old mapping system has not been updated since 2007 and is an unreliable source of information for Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) and NSWALC alike.

Title searching is often used to gain up-to-date information, but at $11 dollars a search, this is fast turning into an exorbitant exercise for all involved.

To avoid these costs, many LALCs are understandably making claims over land based on information obtained free of charge.

But as a result, they are unintentionally claiming land that is not claimable, for example because it is privately owned or leased. The Government calls these 'spurious' claims. 

These claims waste the resources of both Land Councils and the Government. They open Land Councils up to criticism that they are misusing the land claims process. 

However, the Government acknowledges that it is sometimes impossible to ascertain the status of land except by carrying out a costly title search.  It's therefore essential that NSWALC and LALCs get it right when it comes to lodging well-founded land claims.

NSWALC has been lobbying the NSW government to waive title search fees for Land Councils and to provide access to any other information that would allow Land Councils to make claims that are spot on.

This innovative approach to land claims, even if trialled for a 12 month period would reduce the assessment workload for the Land and Property Management Authority (LPMA) who assess the claims, and make the whole process more workable for all parties. 

NSWALC is calling on the state government to provide free title searching for Land Councils and access to any other information that makes this arduous process more streamlined and efficient.

WHAT TO DO

As with previous Network Messages within the 'Land Claims Campaign 2010,' LALCs are asked to POST a pre-scripted letter to their Local Member of Parliament urging immediate action on this front. 

This pre-scripted letter is available at: http://www.alc.org.au/issues/land-claims-campaign-2010.aspx

CONTACT CHRIS MUNRO AT NSWALC: 0438 760 242