Historic land partnership at Forster LALC ensures cultural access

On the State’s Mid-North Coast, the Forster Local Aboriginal Land Council has entered into a landmark agreement to transfer land to a government utility while negotiating cultural access to the site.

Under the agreement, MidCoast Water purchased 1600 hectares of land from the Forster Local Aboriginal to help secure water supply for the region.

The sale of the land will finance social and economic development opportunities for local mob who will also retain a perpetual right of cultural access to fish and gather food from the site.

The Forster LALC will also retain the site of a former nursery which is located within the area.

New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) Mid-North Coast Councillor, Peter Smith, said the agreement showed how the Land Rights system was evolving to benefit Aboriginal people and the broader community.

“Aboriginal people have fished in the Wallamba River on this site for thousands of years and this place is also important for bush medicine.

“The conditions of the sale mean that these activities will not be affected by the transfer of the land and development of a new water supply for the broader community,” Cr Smith said.

“This agreement shows how Land Rights can enable Aboriginal and broader community interests in land to co-exist. It also shows Aboriginal people that by effective negotiation we can retain the cultural benefits of land even after it is sold.”