NSWALC welcomes introduction of Legislation

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NSWALC welcomes introduction of Legislation

25 June 2009

The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council has welcomed the introduction in the State Parliament today of the long awaited Aboriginal Land Rights Amendment Bill 2009.

The legislation proposes to amend the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 to establish a new regime for land dealings to provide more transparency and reliability in the land dealings process for Local Aboriginal Land Councils, NSWALC and third parties.

NSWALC Chairperson Bev Manton says amendments flow from the last major review of the Aboriginal Land rights Act and complement the first round of amendments which came into operation in 2007.

The introduction of the legislation followed the distribution of a Draft Exposure Bill to all Local Aboriginal Land Councils in New South Wales at the recent NSWALC State Conference.

"NSWALC's Governing Council believes the new legislation will considerably improve the workability of the legislation," Ms Manton said today.

"Minister Lynch told Parliament in his speech today that the legislation will provide clearer and more certain processes for Aboriginal Land Councils to follow when they deal with, dispose of, or develop land. We agree," she added.

"It will, in our view, reinforce the beneficial and remedial nature of the Act. It is another necessary and significant step in the evolution of the Act."

Ms Manton said she was particularly pleased to hear Minister Lynch inform the Parliament today that the bill reflected the coming together of the rights agenda and the economic development agenda.

"It was refreshing to hear the Minister acknowledge that Aboriginal people in NSW can pursue both at the same time.

"We so often hear that economic development and the pursuit of our rights are somehow mutually exclusive."

Ms Manton said NSWALC's Governing Council looked forward to the speedy passage of the legislation agrees and to working with the land rights network within a new land dealings regime to improve the economic and social outcomes for Aboriginal people across the State.

Debate on the bill is expected to resume in State Parliament in September.

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Media Contact: Peter Windsor  0400 554 603