Call for powerful national voice for Land Rights in Australia
31 May 2016
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) is reaching out to Land Rights organisations throughout Australia to establish a powerful national voice for Aboriginal people.
Speaking on the eve of two important meetings of peak Aboriginal organisations in Darwin, NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See said leading national debates from a position of strength was best achieved by working together.
Today, Cr Ah-See is representing NSWALC at a National Leaders Forum before attending National Native Title Conference the next day where he will push for Land Councils to form a united front.
Cr Ah-See said there were a range of peak organisations in sectors like health, education and legal services and there was a need for a similar arrangement with Land Councils.
"In our separate spheres of influence, Land Rights organisations are delivering great outcomes for their members.
"There is great potential for Land Rights organisations to coordinate advocacy on national issues including culture and heritage, economic development, education, health and justice.
"The one solid foundation Aboriginal people have is land. Our land is our culture and it underpins economic self-determination, language preservation and healing.
Cr Ah-See said NSWALC was happy to share knowledge about the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983, which is delivering economic self-determination for Aboriginal people in the State.
"The Land Rights system in New South Wales allows Local Aboriginal Land Councils to claim certain lands as freehold title. There is no greater vehicle for Aboriginal economic self-determination in Australia".
In New South Wales, the Land Rights network comprises a network of 120 Local Aboriginal Land Councils. The network is democratically-elected and represents the interests of more than 23,000 members.
Cr Ah-See said that while there were significant differences in the Land Rights models in States and Territories, Aboriginal organisations shared common goals.
"Land Rights organisations have a lot to learn from each other and our individual successes can be more powerful as a united national voice."
Media contact: Andrew Williams 0429 585 291