Editorial – Economic Development

Our Land Our Economic Future

One thing Aboriginal people agree on is the importance of land. When we fought for Land Rights, it was about asserting our rights and our culture. Today it’s about using land for the benefit of our future generations.

In New South Wales, we have a unique system of Land Rights that allows us to claim certain lands as freehold title.

After more than 30 years of building the best Land Rights system in Australia, we’re in a strong position to empower our mob culturally, spiritually and to leverage economic growth and jobs from land.

Land Rights is evolving and many in the network have their hearts and minds focused on building a sustainable economic base with our land.

In this edition of OurMob we look at how our Local Aboriginal Land Councils are using hard-fought gains to create economic opportunities for Aboriginal communities.

The Land Rights network of 120 Local Aboriginal Land Councils is diverse and so too are the economic models.

OurMob visits Tamworth to learn more about the Warra-Li Resource Unit, which brings together 14 Local Aboriginal Land Councils in Northern Region.

Warra-Li is working with the Local Aboriginal Land Councils to identify established businesses they can take on. At the same time, it is establishing its own social enterprise that will employ six Aboriginal people and aims to move more than 20 more jobseekers into employment.

We also catch up with Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council on the Central Coast and see how the Land Council is creating economic opportunity and helping Aboriginal people achieve the great dream of home ownership.

OurMob returns to the North-West region, one year after 17 Local Aboriginal Land Councils regained control of four rural properties. One of those properties is being restored for public use, creating training and employment opportunities for mob.

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) is also ensuring Local Aboriginal Land Councils share in the wealth of the Land Rights network through the Community Fund.

The Fund is generated by a levy on Local Aboriginal Land Council land dealings – like sales and leases of land – and matched by NSWALC.

NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See explains: “Some of our Local Aboriginal Land Councils hold more valuable land holdings and others have less valuable land and development opportunities so the Community Fund ensures eligible Land Councils can share in the wealth of those that enjoy a strong economic base.”

In this edition we’ll also meet one of our new Councillors Charles Lynch. Finally, we relive the action at the Elders Olympics, meet a new NSWALC staff member from Southern Zone and catch up with Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council who were recently secured Federal Government funding for the Bundian Way project.