9 November 2022
The Aboriginal Land Rights Amendment Bill 2022 (the Bill) was introduced to NSW Parliament on Tuesday 8 November 2022.
The Bill is the first stage of reforms outlined in the 2021 Statutory Review of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW) (ALRA), available here. NSWALC undertook engagements in 2021 on possible reform proposals and welcomed the findings of the ALRA review report, see here.
The Bill includes various administrative and operational amendments listed in the ALRA review report, and reflecting Network engagements, including amendments to:
- Reduce burdens on LALCs by clarifying some administrative provisions relating to land dealings and community benefits,
- Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of conduct and disciplinary provisions by clarifying various sections, and adding some new elements, such as procedural fairness, and allowing the Registrar to suspend officers while undertaking investigations in certain circumstances,
- Maintain and promote good governance by adding new grounds for disqualification for LALC Board members and NSWALC Councillors if there have been findings by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) of serious corruption, and for failures in the management of a corporation established under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act)
- Provide greater self-determination and ease administrative requirements, including by reducing some requirements for Ministerial approvals, such as for NSWALC policies
NSWALC views the Bill as an initial set of reforms to improve the operation of the ALRA.
The Bill and an explanatory note outlining amendments can be found at Aboriginal Land Rights Amendment Bill 2022 (nsw.gov.au).
Debate on the Bill in NSW Parliament is expected next week.
NSWALC will provide further detailed information and advice to the Network about the amendments shortly.
Delivering Aboriginal Land Rights
NSWALC’s advocacy will continue to focus on delivering Aboriginal land rights through:
- Self-determination remaining a key priority and key principle that must underpin the ALRA and any reforms,
- Accelerating the return of lands and supporting the activation of lands to achieve economic, community and cultural outcomes for our communities,
- Removing unnecessary regulatory burdens, while maintaining accountabilities and strong governance,
- Empowering us to protect and promote our culture and heritage, and
- Increasing, sustaining and better targeting investment in the Aboriginal Land Rights network, to enable Aboriginal Land Councils to continue to support our communities.