Compliance Requirements Relaxed to Assist Local Aboriginal Land Councils

Immediate provisions are being implemented to ensure Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) operations are not detrimentally impacted by compliance issues arising from changes in our workplaces and communities, forced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the conclusion of high-level contingency discussions at the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) on Thursday night, a decision was made to relax LALC funding compliance arrangements.

NSWALC is determined to do whatever is sensible, fair and equitable to ensure LALCs can continue to work in support of their members and communities at this critical time.

Restrictions on social gatherings and other measures implemented to protect community health and safety by Government and Aboriginal Land Council workplaces will have a considerable impact on a LALC's ability to deliver on a number of compliance activities that are required under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

"We are operating in untested times as a result of the significant impacts of COVID-19," NSWALC CEO James Christian said.

"To ensure the uninterrupted operations of the Land Rights system in NSW, we must make some sensible adjustments to our LALC compliance regime to facilitate their ongoing operations."

These arrangements have been jointly agreed by NSWALC CEO James Christian and the Registrar of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, Nicole Courtman.

"We must place health and safety first, no LALC should be holding members' or board meetings until it is safe to do so."ALRA Registrar Nicole Courtman said.

NSWALC and the Office of the Registrar have adopted the following position on funding and compliance obligations effective immediately:

  • Upcoming funding releases to LALC's for the current financial year will be made regardless of strict compliance dates for financial reporting under the Funding Agreement 
  • Current RAS scores will be rolled-over to ensure a continuity of funding to LALCs - until further notice
  • LALC Board Members will be provided with a time extension to complete Mandatory Governance Training - until 30 September 2020
  • Compliance actions under the Funding Agreement or ALRA will not be taken in response to LALCs not completing the review and approval of their Community Land and Business Plans following board elections - until 30 September 2020
  • Compliance actions under the Funding Agreement or ALRA will not be taken in response to LALCs not holding members meetings - until 30 September 2020

 

Meetings:

While member meetings are an essential element of good governance we are not operating in normal times and we jointly advise that no LALC should be holding members' or board meetings until it is safe to do so.

There are important Federal and NSW Government restrictions in place in relation to public gatherings designed to help reduce spreading the virus.

LALC's should not be holding ordinary member's meetings at this time. If you proceed with a members' meeting during the current restrictions, you risk criminal and civil sanctions, but more importantly you may be risking the health and safety of your members. If you have concerns about urgent LALC business, you can contact the Registrar on 0419 280 297.

If your LALC Board needs to conduct business during this time, you can consider holding Board meetings by telephone, and or other electronic means, such as Skype, Zoom or Microsoft teams.  If your LALC needs assistance with organising Board meetings we encourage you to seek support and guidance from NSWALC Zone staff.

Board are also encouraged to review and consider appropriate delegations to the CEO to ensure that the LALC can operate effectively in this emergency situation.

 

Land Dealings

For land dealings matters please contact the NSWALC Land & Property Unit by email at  karen.do@alc.org.au.

For assistance with appropriate operational delegations and the use of telephone and IT systems for carrying out Board business activities, please contact your Zone Offices. 

All LALCs are encouraged to contact your Zone Offices for support on how your LALC can adopt appropriate practices to ensure the continued good governance of your LALC during these unprecedented times.