Land the key to improving education, health and well-being

Land the key to improving education, health and well-being

17 November 2016

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) today called on governments to pay greater attention to the link between Aboriginal connection to land and improved outcomes in health, education and well-being.

Commenting on the release of the Productivity Commission's Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage 2016 report, NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See said land was the key factor in healing and empowering Aboriginal people.

"The Productivity Commission report recognises what the Land Rights network in New South Wales already knows - that ownership and control of land and business delivers opportunities to increase income and create jobs that directly benefit Aboriginal peoples.

"The report also references the unique Land Rights system in New South Wales that allows Local Aboriginal Land Councils to claim certain Crown lands that are unneeded or not being used.

"This has empowered Aboriginal people to create and manage an economic base. Throughout the State, we have Local Aboriginal Land Councils engaged in property development and international tourism ventures. In many regional towns and centres they are the main providers of essential services.

"The NSW Aboriginal Land Council is also investing in the capacity of Local Aboriginal Land Councils through a $16 million five-year economic development strategy which is providing start-up capital and business development support for the network, as well as an Early Stage Investment Loans program.

"The return of land to Aboriginal people has provided new opportunities to strengthen us culturally and spiritually and to provide our own revenue streams, jobs and training opportunities.

"Connection to land is key to driving better economic, educational and health outcomes for Aboriginal people and that's why governments must make Local Aboriginal Land Councils part of the solution to closing the gap."

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Media contact: Andrew Williams 0429 585 291