ALRA Amendment as of 1st July 2015

1 July 2015

Commencement of amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

The Aboriginal Land Rights Amendment Act 2014 was passed by the NSW Parliament in October 2014 as a result of the five-yearly statutory review of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW)(ALRA).

The majority of these amendments commence on 1 July, 2015. This Fact Sheet outlines the key amendments and implications for the Aboriginal Land Rights Network.

Summary of key reforms:

 Changes to land claims processes, importantly, there is now an ability to negotiate Aboriginal Land Agreements.

 Changes to reduce planning, reporting and compliance requirements, including:
o NSWALC approval of Community Land and Business Plans, Budgets and supervision of Community Benefit Schemes is no longer necessary
o Social Housing schemes will now be treated as ordinary Community Benefit Schemes and the requirement that the scheme be financially self-sustaining will no longer apply.

 Clarification that the current function of Aboriginal Land Councils to facilitate business enterprises includes forming, acquiring, operating or managing business enterprises.

 Clarification that Aboriginal Land Councils can enter into arrangements involving separate entities to assist them in the exercise of their functions, and the introduction of risk assessment and approval requirements for transfer of Land Council assets to those entities.

 If a LALC wishes to establish, acquire or operate a corporation, they must do so under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands) Act 2006 rather than the Corporations Act 2001, unless authorised by an applicable policy of the NSWALC.

 A new "misconduct" framework to replace the "misbehaviour" framework, including a streamlined process for dealing with complaints.

 CEOs of LALCs are now able to declare a member inactive if that member has not attended 6 consecutive meetings and a notice process has been followed. Inactive members are not considered voting members for the purposes of determining a quorum, however they can still vote in NSWALC elections and at LALC meetings. The two meeting rule will still apply - this means they cannot nominate, stand or vote in a LALC Board election.

Please note that amendments to the ALRA to provide that the Registrar, rather than the Minister,will have authority to appoint investigators and administrators to LALCs and advisors to the Boards of LALCs have been deferred and will not commence on 1 July 2015.

More information:

NSWALC will provide copies of the amended Act and Regulation and a Guide explaining the key amendments to each LALC in coming weeks.

The amended ALRA will soon be available on the NSW Legislation website at: www.legislation.nsw.gov.au

A copy of the ALRA Amendment Act and the Minister's Second Reading Speech can be accessed on the NSW Parliament website Here:

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact your Zone Office in the firstinstance.

Lesley Turner
Chief Executive Officer