424th NSWALC Council Meeting Communique

6 May 2022

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) met for its 424th meeting in Albury from Thursday April 28 to Friday April 29, 2022.

A number of topics were discussed including the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage reforms, CEO recruitment, appointment of an independent member for NSWALC Audit and Risk Committee, NSWALC Investment Fund performance, and progress on the Closing the Gap campaign and community consultations.


Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (ACH) reforms

Council reaffirmed their position and continues to advocate for ACH reform in NSW, in accordance with its principles for reform. The principles were included in our 423th meeting communique and include improving protections, independence from government, the right to free, prior, and informed consent; strengthening Aboriginal self-determination; and building on existing land rights and native title and having no detrimental impacts to land rights or Aboriginal culture and heritage.


NSWALC Educational Scholarship

Council discussed the Scholarship progress, following its renaming from the Freddy Fricke Scholarship to the NSWALC Educational Scholarship (NES) and Internship Program, in July 2019.

Two successful applicants receive a one-year scholarship of $10,000 each and a six-week paid internship in a NSWALC business unit relevant to their course of study.

The Scholarship is aimed at Aboriginal students in their penultimate year at university and is subject to Eligibility Criteria.

Further information will be provided to the network when the 2023 Round opens on July 1, 2022.

Roads to Home

NSWALC Council facilitated outcomes with the Roads to Home program by supporting 3 Local Aboriginal Land Councils’ with their land dealing requests.

The Roads to Home program has been established to upgrade road reserves and associated infrastructure in discrete Aboriginal communities in LALC areas. The works include upgrades to stormwater and other drainage, kerb, guttering and footpaths, street and public space lighting, upgraded road surfaces, telecommunications and power.

Roads to Home is administered by the Roads to Home team within the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE).

Youth Advisory Committee (YAC)

The YAC is made up of nine members from each of the nine NSWALC regions and provides advice and recommendations to NSWALC on issues impacting young Aboriginal people. Members provide NSWALC council with their knowledge to develop youth-led, community-based strategies for current and emerging issues that specific to local and regional context.

NSWALC provides the YAC members with career advancement training, and opportunities to develop their leadership potential.

Council was pleased to finalise members of the new YAC and a list of names will be announced via Network Message soon.


Investment Fund

The Council received the NSWALC Investment Fund report for the March quarter which recorded a negative 3.8% return for the period and positive 5.5% for the previous 12 months. It recorded positive 6.2%, 6.3% and 7.9% for the previous three, five and 10-year periods.

These figures are in line with market returns, given continuing inflationary pressures, rising official interest, the war in Ukraine and ongoing supply chain disruptions due to COVID.

It was also noted that the Strategic Asset Allocation had been modelled for such events, and changes made to the portfolio in late 2020 continue to help mitigate losses in the current environment and see the portfolio positioned for recovery in the prevailing environment.


Closing the Gap

Council was updated on the latest round of Closing the Gap community consultations, which took place in 29 locations across NSW, across March 2022.

These engagements were designed to ensure that the 2022-2024 NSW Implementation Plan on Closing the Gap is community-led and based on the priorities and needs of communities.

While there was questions asked and commentary on all 5 Priority reforms and 17 socio economic targets (grouped into 13 focus areas), community in each location told NSW CAPO which of the focus areas were the highest priority to be discussed in their community.

Major flood events in the Northern NSW meant that five sessions from Forster to Ballina had to be postponed. Sessions at Menindee, Wilcannia and Broken Hill were also postponed due to Sorry Business.

The 2022 CTG Community Consultations report will be issued shortly and will be available on the NSWALC website.