Community Benefit Scheme - NSWALC Funeral Fund

The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has recently undertaken a review of the community benefit scheme known as the NSWALC Funeral Fund (The Fund).

The Council acknowledges the difficulties faced by families during this sad time and we remain committed to providing assistance to members of Local Aboriginal Land Councils and the Aboriginal community.

The Council has responsibility to ensure that the NSWALC Account is appropriately managed for the benefit of future generations and to ensure that the obligations of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 are met. These obligations include the need to ensure all community benefit schemes are fair and equitable and administered in an open and transparent way.

To ensure that these obligations are met that the expenditure of funds are sustainable and responsible, the Council has adopted new policy guidelines for the administration and access to the Fund. The new guidelines will apply to all applications received by NSWALC from 1st July 2015.

There remains two types of grants available from the Fund and the following eligibility now applies:

a)  Members of the former Funeral Insurance Fund, who were financial members at the time it closed in 1994, remain eligible for a grant of up to $5000 for 'Claimable Funeral Expenses'. This is not transferrable and can only be claimed in regards to member funeral expenses.

b)  The following Aboriginal persons who are not members of the former Funeral Insurance Fund are eligible for a grant of up to $1000 for 'Claimable Funeral Expenses':

i. Aboriginal persons being buried in NSW (whether or not they resided in NSW),

                         ii.  Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) members (whether or not they reside or are buried in NSW).

To ensure fairness of the scheme, the following criteria will also apply:

  • The NSWALC will not consider individual requests for grants above amounts identified within the Policy for the NSWALC Funeral Fund.
  • Grants for valid claims will only be paid directly to the Funeral service provider identified on the Claim form and invoice.
  • The NSWALC will not provide retrospective grants from the Fund directly to family members for the reimbursement of costs associated with a funeral of an otherwise eligible person.
  • Funerals for non-Aboriginal spouses are not eligible to receive a grant from the Fund.

The new guidelines also outline documentation that NSWALC will require in order to process valid claims. Please note that NSWALC will only accept the following documents as confirmation of Aboriginality:

  • Confirmation from a Local Aboriginal Land Council, or
  • Declaration from a NSWALC Councillor.

As a Council we are responsible for the investment and expenditure of funds held in the NSWALC Account and we are looking at every area of NSWALC spending in order to maximise its benefit for future generations. Council has adopted this approach to ensure the future of this community benefit scheme so that it can continue to support our people as fairly and equitably as possible.

The new Funeral Fund Claim Form and new Terms & Conditions are available on our website: alc.org.au 

Councillor Craig Cromelin
Chairperson, NSW Aboriginal Land Council