26 February 2016
Land Councils focused on economic development in NSW
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) today urged the State Government to support Aboriginal economic development in NSW by continuing to resolve outstanding land claims and mentoring emerging businesses.
Speaking at a NSW Parliament Inquiry into Aboriginal Economic Development Opportunities, NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See said Local Aboriginal Land Councils throughout the State were leveraging land for economic benefit.
"In the Hunter, Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council's Sand Dune Adventures is an award-winning quad bike tour business that attracts international and domestic tourists.
"On the Central Coast, Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council is the largest private land holder on the Central Coast, undertaking residential development projects for the local community."
Cr Ah-See said NSWALC understood that building an economic base was the best way to improve the lives of Aboriginal people and to contribute to the NSW economy.
"The NSW Aboriginal Land Council and the NSW Government have similar agendas. We both want economic development, we want to see regional areas share in this economic development and we want to protect and promote our rich and unique culture.
"For the Land Rights network to realise its full potential the backlog of unresolved land claims needs to be resolved and a planning system that makes it easier for Local Aboriginal Land Councils to do business must be a priority."
Cr Ah-See said the NSWALC would welcome support and mentoring for small-scale Aboriginal enterprises, particularly in regional and rural areas.
"The NSW Aboriginal Land Council is investing $16 million over five years for Local Aboriginal Land Councils, providing start-up capital, financial training and business development to turn Aboriginal local knowledge into successful and sustainable businesses.
"Additional support and formal mentoring programs would not only bring out the best out of Aboriginal entrepreneurs and businesses but help drive economic development and jobs where they most needed."
Media contact: Andrew Williams 0429 585 291