Important changes to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act

From 1 July this year, a number of important amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 will become law.

The amendments were passed by NSW Parliament late last year after consultation with the network. One of the main changes will affect land claims processes, allowing Local Aboriginal Land Councils to negotiate land claims through Aboriginal Land Agreements.

The terms of office for LALC boards will increase from two to four years. This means that from the next LALC board elections, in September 2015, members will be voting in boards for a period of four years. Changes will also reduce some planning, reporting and compliance requirements. The changes also mean NSWALC will no longer approve Community Land and Business Plans, budgets – and NSWALC supervision of Community Benefit Schemes will no longer be needed. It will also be easier for housing schemes to be approved because they will be dealt with as ordinary Community Benefit Schemes. The power to appoint administrators, investigators and advisors to LALCs will be transferred to the Registrar of the Act along with new enforcement mechanisms.

Other changes include a more streamlined process for dealing with misconduct matters, reforms to the calculation of LALC quorums and clarification of a LALC’s ability to establish, acquire, operate and manage business enterprises, including corporations. NSWALC has been explaining the finer details of the changes to the network at Regional Forums throughout the State. For more information about what will change from 1 July, check out the NSWALC Network Message for more information.