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Aboriginal Land Rights Amendment Act 2014
On 12 November 2014 the Aboriginal Land Rights Amendment Act 2014 (the Act) passed the NSW Parliament. The Act made amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW) (ALRA) as the result of the five yearly statutory review of the ALRA.
NSWALC supports the majority of amendments. The Fact Sheet outlines the key amendments and implications for the Aboriginal Land Rights Network.
The Act has passed NSW Parliament but is not yet in force. The provisions are expected to commence on 1 July 2015. NSWALC will be consulting with the Network on a number of supporting policies over the coming months.
Summary of key reforms
- Changes will be made to land claims processes, importantly, there will now be an ability to negotiate land claims through Aboriginal Land Agreements.
- The term of office for LALC Boards will increase from 2 year to 4 years.
- Changes will be made to reduce the planning, reporting and compliance requirements, including:
- NSWALC approval of Community Land and Business Plans, budgets and supervision of Community Benefit Schemes will no longer be required,
- Tailoring LALC reporting requirements and outlining that Financial Statements and Annual Reports will need to be prepared in accordance with NSWALC Policy,
- Social Housing schemes will be treated and need approval as ordinary Community Benefit Scheme. This will make it easier for housing schemes to be approved.
- The power to appoint administrators, investigators and advisors to LALCs will be transferred to the Registrar of the ALRA along with new enforcement mechanisms.
- A new "misconduct" framework will replace the "misbehaviour" framework, including a more streamlined process for dealing with misconduct matters.
- Inactive voting members will no longer be included in the calculation of LALC quorums. LALC CEOs will be able to declare a voting member as inactive for this purpose only if that member has not attended six consecutive meetings and process involving notice to the member has been followed.
- It will be clarified that the current function of Aboriginal Land Councils to facilitate business enterprises includes forming, acquiring, operating or managing business enterprises.
- It will be clarified that Aboriginal Land Councils can enter into arrangements involving separate entities including corporations to assist them in the exercise of their functions. Where LALC assets are to be transferred to such entities NSWALC policy may require a risk assessment to be conducted on the proposed transfer and for it to be approved by an 80% vote of voting members present at a meeting.
- LALCs will need to establish, acquire or operate corporations under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands) Act 2006(Cth), unless an applicable policy of NSWALC allows for incorporation under the Corporations Act 2001(Cth).
A copy of the Act and the Minister's Second Reading Speech can be accessed on the NSW Parliament website at: