420th NSWALC Council Meeting Communique

24 February 2022

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) met with the Hon Ben Franklin MLC, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs during its 420th meeting, held in Terrigal from Tuesday February 15 to Thursday February 17.

A number of a issues were discussed including Culture and Heritage, Closing the Gap and Aboriginal Fishing Rights.

Council noted the Premier and Minister Franklin’s public declarations of their commitment to Closing the Gap as a key priority of the NSW Government.

Councillors would also like to thank the Board, CEO and Members of the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council for their hospitality across the 420th meeting, including a Welcome to Country Ceremony by Uncle Gavi Duncan, dinner together and a cultural tour of Peat Island on the NSW Central Coast.

Investment Fund

The Council heard that the NSWALC  Investment Fund outperformed its investment objective of CPI plus 4%, by 1.4% in the financial quarter ending 31 December 2021. The Fund has exceeded its investment objective by 5.1% in the past five years, and 6.2% in the past ten years.

Market volatility was also discussed. However, it is expected that the structure of the fund will respond to the current market volatility as it has done in the past, with expert advice from Council’s Investment Committee and Investment consultants.

NSWALC Governance Committee

The NSWALC Council approved the reappointment of Mr Paul McNab as the Chair and Independent Member of the NSWALC Governance Committee from 17th February 2022 until 16th February 2025.

Council also approved the appointment of Mr Thomas Kim as additional Independent Member, also from 17th February 2022 until 16th February 2025. Mr Kim is a Partner at Deloitte and has a detailed understanding of NSWALC and its processes and systems, which will complement the valuable skills and experience of the existing members.

NSWALC Audit and Risk Committee

The NSWALC Council approved the reappointment of Mr Michael Silk as the Independent Member of the NSWALC Audit and Risk Committee for the period 1st April 2022 until 31st March 2024.

Closing the Gap (CTG)

Council received an update on CTG and the upcoming community engagements around NSW. Engagement sessions will be conducted in 37 locations, providing a greater opportunity for input from communities. Engagements will be held from Monday 28 February to Thursday 31 March 2022, hosted by the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Peak Organisations (NSW CAPO).

NSWALC will lead sessions in Kempsey, Forster, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Glen Innes, Tamworth, Muswellbrook, Casino, and Ballina.

Information on focus areas, all locations and session dates are available at https://alc.org.au/nsw-capo/, with links to register.

Aboriginal Fishing Rights

Council provided direction on NSWALC’s submission to theNSW Parliament’s Inquiry into the commencement of the Fisheries Management Amendment Act 2009. Submissions close on 28 February 2022.

NSWALC’s position on Aboriginal cultural fishing calls for the government to: support Aboriginal people’s cultural fishing practices; place an immediate prohibition on prosecuting Aboriginal cultural fishers and develop reforms to protect them from prosecution; remove restrictions on Aboriginal cultural fishers and cultural fishing activity;  commence Section 21AA of the FMA without introducing restrictions; work in partnership with Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and Aboriginal people on alternative management options.

Aboriginal Culture and Heritage (ACH)

Council affirmed its commitment to continued advocacy for ACH reforms in line with NSWALC’s key reform principles. The principles include independence from government; the right to free, prior, and informed consent; strengthening Aboriginal self-determination; respecting cultural and native title rights and building on existing land rights and native title structures.  

Youth Advisory Committee (YAC)

Council has now approved seven new YAC members. The names of the new YAC members will be announced soon. NSWALC is still accepting applications from the Western and Central regions, until close of business on 18 March 2022.

The NSWALC Council will meet again on the 5th and 6th of April 2022.