Land Councils to sign unique Friendship Treaty
22 July, 2009
The 14 Local Aboriginal Land Councils in the Northern Region of NSW today signed a unique Friendship Treaty - one that sees each Land Council pledged to uphold the Treaty's aims, obligations and principles for the betterment of Aboriginal people throughout the Region.
"This is a major step forward," said the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council's elected representative for the Northern Region [which covers such areas as Armidale, Coonabarabran, Dorigo, Glen Innes, Tamworth, Walhallow, Wanaruah and Amaroo] Councillor Tom Briggs.
The Treaty was signed at a special ceremony in Armidale attended by all 14 Land Councils.
"We have worked hard to get uniform agreement for the Treaty," Councillor Briggs said. "It reinforces our core values.
"In particular, the combined land councils have pledged their mutual recognition of the distinct identities, inherent rights, needs and aspirations of each LALC while respecting each others right to govern themselves in the best interest of members.
"And the number of members in the Northern Region exceeds 2000, ", Councillor Briggs said.
"The over-arching goal of the Treaty is to see all LALC's undertaking to work together in all things that improves the rights of Aboriginal people and their present and future wellbeing".
Councillor Briggs said to have been able to assist in facilitating the signing of the Treaty was one of the highlights of his term as the Region's elected representative to the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC).
"This formalizes and enshrines the concept of working together. It gives us greater clout and influence," Councillor Briggs said.
"This is an exciting time.
"I fervently believe what the Treaty achieves will, over time, bring significant benefits for Aboriginal people in the Region."