9 November 2021
Recently, the ABC Four Corners program reported on the sale of two parcels of land at Hawks Nest by the Karuah Local Aboriginal Land Council (KLALC).
The decision to sell the land was taken by KLALC members at a meeting held in December 2016.
The potential sale of land was also discussed at a member’s meeting, immediately prior to the meeting at which it was approved.
The Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALRA) stipulates very strict rules for how Aboriginal Land Councils can deal with their land, including disposals, which requires members special approval, which is a higher approval threshold than other member decisions.
According to the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) records, the KLALC members decision to sell the land complied with the Land Rights Act.
NSWALC then approved the sale on the basis that it was consistent with the requirements of the Land Rights Act and was for not less than the market value of the land. NSWALC has no reason to doubt the accuracy of the valuation provided at the time.
In 2018, NSWALC commenced establishment of a land development capability. This allows Local Aboriginal Land Councils to partner with NSWALC to maximise economic and other desired outcomes on their land. This capability was not available to assist Karuah Local Aboriginal Land Council at the time the land was sold.