NSWALC welcomes new Councillor for Sydney/Newcastle Region

6 October, 2023

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) is pleased to announce Barry ‘BJ’ Duncan will be the new Councillor for the Sydney/Newcastle Region until the NSWALC general election is held in February 2024.

Following former Sydney/Newcastle Councillor Abie Wright’s resignation last month, protocols under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (ALRA) mean the role is then offered to the person who secured the second-highest number of votes in the 2019 election, in this case BJ Duncan.

“I am looking forward to hitting the ground running and visiting all 11 Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) in the Sydney/Newcastle Region,’’ Cr Duncan said. “Pursuing our economic opportunities is my focus over the next 5 months. As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of ALRA, I can see something glistening on the horizon now. We’re at a pivotal point in land rights where that economic development is just going to blow everybody away!”

Cr Duncan has extensive experience in Land Rights activation and most recently was the former chair of Darkinjung LALC (under the ALRA, a person can not be a NSWALC Councillor and also hold a LALC board position).

Cr Duncan was front and centre of the return of Kooroowall-Undi (Peat Island) to Darkinjung LALC, and has driven Darkinjung to be the largest non-government landholder on the Central Coast.

“This is a great result for NSWALC and we look forward to officially welcoming BJ at our council meeting next week,” Chairperson Cr Danny Chapman said. “We thank the former Councillor, Abie Wright, for his service to the Land Rights Network, and wish him well on his next journey. It’s been a pleasure working with Abie during his tenure at NSWALC.

Cr Chapman continued: “We won’t lose any momentum in the important work being done in the Sydney/Newcastle Region. Cr Duncan is well respected and brings many established relationships in the Land Rights Network.”


We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as across the lands we travel through. We also acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging.

Artwork Credit: Craig Cromelin, from a painting he did titled, "4 favourite fishing holes". It is a snippet of his growing years on the Lachlan River, featuring yabby, turtle, fish and family.