6 February 2019

Planning initiatives to assist Local Aboriginal Land Councils

The NSW Government has today announced a series of measures to assist Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) unlock economic development on Aboriginal owned lands.

The NSW Government have released:

·         A State Environmental Planning Policy (Aboriginal Land) 2019 (SEPP) - providing for a new category of strategic land use plan (known as a 'development delivery plan') that may be prepared by LALCs. These plans will identify objectives and proposals for LALC lands and will need to be taken into account by planning authorities in assessment processes.

In addition, LALC development proposals, in certain circumstances, may be considered regionally significant development which would then be determined by a regional planning panel.

·         A Ministerial Direction - directing all planning authorities to take into account any LALC development delivery plan (or interim delivery plan) when considering planning proposals.

·         A Planning circular - advising planning authorities about the new SEPP and setting out the process for LALCs to request an independent review of LALC planning proposals. A LALC can only request an independent review if a LALC development delivery plan (or interim plan) is in place.

Roy Ah-See, NSWALC Chair, said these proposals announced today are a step in the right direction in delivering planning and land outcomes to Aboriginal peoples.

"The Land Rights Network has long advocated for the need for Local Aboriginal Land Councils to be able to make the best use of Aboriginal owned lands. This is a significant day for land rights. NSWALC has always represented the need for these reforms and the supported the efforts of Darkinjung to make this happen," said Cr Ah-See.

The above measures will have a staged implementation applying to Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council initially before they are evaluated and potentially extended to other LALCs.

Cr Ah-See also commented about the staged roll-out of the measures.

"NSWALC is seeking further details about the initiatives and next stages of the implementation, evaluation and roll out to ensure that solutions are co-designed and flexible enough to address the range of circumstances and planning scenarios experienced by LALCs," Cr Ah-See said

"We look forward to a successful pilot that will deliver the social, cultural and economic outcomes envisioned by Darkinjung LALC," Cr Ah-See said.

Today's announcement is among other initiatives that the NSW Government has implemented to support economic self-determination of Aboriginal communities, in recognition of the discrimination and barriers experienced by LALCS, including through:

·         Establishing the Aboriginal Communities Land and Infrastructure Program to specifically address planning issues experiences by LALCs, which includes training for LALCs, and assisting LALCs with Strategic Land Assessments.

·         Including a requirement in all Regional Plans to strengthen the economic self-determination of Aboriginal communities.

·         Encouraging all Local Councils to consult with LALCs to prepare Local Strategic Planning Statements.

NSWALC will continue to advocate for improvements to the planning system to facilitate social, cultural and economic outcomes for the Land Rights Network.

LALCs are encouraged to contact the NSW Department of Planning and Environment ACLIP team for more information about opportunities to participate in training and strategic land assessments.

More information:

NSWALC Phone: 02 9689 4444; Email policy@alc.org.au

NSW Department of Planning and Environment: 1300 305 695

Website:

https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/About-Us/Our-Programs/Aboriginal-Community-Lands-and-Infrastructure-Program