15 December 2015
Progress needed to expedite outstanding land claims
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) today reaffirmed its commitment to work with the State Government to address the number of outstanding land claims.
NSWALC Chair Roy Ah-See said the number of land claims yet to be determined, which currently number more than 28,000, was a source of frustration for the Land Rights network.
The Auditor-General's report released today confirms that more than 750 of these unresolved claims go back more than a decade.
Cr Ah-See said the clearing the backlog of claims would allow many Local Aboriginal Land Councils to leverage land for a range of purposes, including economic development.
But Cr Ah-See acknowledged that the Baird Government, under Lands Minister Niall Blair, was moving in the right direction.
"The NSW Aboriginal Land Council has made its position clear to the Minister and to his credit Minister Blair recognises the need to tackle the backlog of outstanding land claims.
"Under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983, NSWALC and the network of 120 Local Aboriginal Land Councils are able to claim Crown Land that is unused or not needed.
"The Land Rights network is in a strong position to realise the potential of the land we've claimed.
"Successful claims allow Aboriginal communities to create and manage an independent wealth base and also encourage cultural, social and spiritual development.
"Like the Baird Government, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council supports economic development and we want to see regional New South Wales share in this economic activity.
"The NSW Aboriginal Land Council encourages the NSW Government to continue working in partnership with the Land Rights network to make inroads into the number of outstanding land claims."
Media contact: Andrew Williams 0429 585 291