ABORIGINAL LAND RIGHTS AMENDMENT (HOUSING) ACT 2011
Monday, 21 November 2011
On 16 November 2011, the Aboriginal Land Rights Amendment (Housing) Act 2011 (the Housing Amendment) received royal assent. It is now law.
The purpose of the Housing Amendment is to facilitate the entry into, management and termination of residential tenancy agreements of less than three years or periodic agreements by Boards of Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) where the tenants are natural persons.
The Housing Amendment was drafted in response to the decision of the Land and Environment Court in Woods v Gandangara LALC; Thatcher v Gandangara LALC  NSWLEC 42 (the Woods decision). The effect of that decision was that entry into, management and termination of residential tenancy agreements was a dealing in land and required the approval of LALC members.
The Housing Amendments affect the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (the ALRA) as follows:
Existing short term residential tenancy agreements will be subject to the new provisions but only where the management and termination functions are exercised after the date of commencement of the new laws (i.e., from 16 November 2011). That means that a LALC Board or an Administrator can terminate an existing short term residential tenancy agreement from now, regardless of the fact that the agreement was made prior to the commencement of the amendments.
These amendments do not affect the rights of tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 or under the specific residential tenancy agreement.
It is important to note that the following decisions about housing still require members' and NSWALC approval:
A copy of the Amendment Act is attached.
If you have any questions or want further information about the amendments, please contact the Legal Services Unit on 02 - 96894423.
Note: This network message does not constitute legal advice. LALCs will need to seek their own legal advice in relation to specific issues of tenancy management.
Lesley Turner - Deputy CEO