Legislative Requirements for Upcoming Board Elections

13 September, 2023

As the majority of Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) will be conducting full Board elections at their 2023 Annual meetings, NSWALC would like to take this opportunity to remind the Network of some important Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALRA) requirements, pertaining to Boards and Elections.

ALRA requirements for full Board Elections

Board Members are elected at a LALC’s fourth annual meeting.

NSWALC understands that many LALCs were unable to hold annual meetings due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. However, LALCs will need to ensure that any outstanding annual meetings from 2020, 2021 or 2022 have been held before a new Board can be elected at their fourth Annual Meeting in 2023 (see Part 5 Division 3, Sections 63 and 63A of the ALRAextracted below).

63   Board members

  1. The Board members are to be elected at every fourth annual meeting of a Local Aboriginal Land Council.

63A   Term of office of Board members

The term of office of a Board member commences on the Board member’s election and ends on the election of the next Board at the fourth annual meeting of the Council following the member’s election.

Eligibility to stand for election

A person is qualified to be nominated to stand for election, or to be elected as a Board member of a LALC, if at the time of the nomination or election, the person:

  1. is a voting member of the LALC;
  2. is not suspended or disqualified from holding office as a Board member, and is not suspended from the membership of the LALC; and
  3. has attended at least 2 meetings of the LALC within the last 12 months.

ALRA requirements for Annual Meetings

LALCs must hold their annual meeting between 1 July and 30 September each year (see Division 4, Clause 46(1) of the Aboriginal Land Rights Regulation 2020 (ALRR)).

The business of an Annual Meeting must include:

  1. receipt of an Annual Report of the activities of the LALC, presented by the Chairperson of the Board;
  2. receipt of the audited financial statements for the previous financial year;
  3. if required by the ALRA, the election of Board members (at the fourth annual meeting); and
  4. the conduct of any other business placed on the agenda before the commencement of the meeting (see Schedule 1, Clause 12 of the Model Rules for Local Aboriginal Land Councils, ALRR.)

The LALC’s Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements must be presented to the Annual Meeting before the Board election may be conducted.

Planning for full Board elections

The Registrar, ALRA delegates the function of acting as a returning officer for LALC Board elections to NSWALC Zone Staff (s 165A and cl 111, ALRR).

The Registrar will only issue delegation to conduct full Board elections if:

  1. the LALC has held all outstanding annual meetings (or plans to do so) prior to its 2023 annual meeting; and 
  2. the LALC has provided any required information/documentation in relation to the LALC’s membership roll.

It is critical that all membership rolls are accurate for the upcoming LALC Board elections and the NSWALC Council elections. Reconciling all the differences identified in the roll comparisons for 2022 and 2023, will ensure all eligible voting members are able to exercise their democratic voting rights in this round of elections.

We encourage LALCs to work closely with their NSWALC Zone Office; and the team at the Office of the Registrar, prior to advertising their annual meetings. This will ensure the delegation can be provided for your meeting, so your Board elections are conducted in line with ALRA and ALRR requirements.

Acknowledgement

We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as across the lands we travel through. We also acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging.

Artwork Credit: Craig Cromelin, from a painting he did titled, "4 favourite fishing holes". It is a snippet of his growing years on the Lachlan River, featuring yabby, turtle, fish and family.

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