Review of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (1983) NSW

24 November, 2021

24 November 2021

The NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs has tabled a report on the 5-yearly review of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983NSW (ALRA) in NSW Parliament today.

The report canvasses opportunities to strengthen Aboriginal Land Rights to deliver social, cultural and economic outcomes, reflecting Aboriginal Land Council network and community feedback.

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) welcomes the findings that Aboriginal Land Rights remains central to our communities and look forward to a genuine commitment of Government to lifting the constraints and investing in the activation of returned lands.

The report is a culmination of network consultations undertaken in July, and submissions from a range of individuals, Aboriginal organisations and the NSW Government.  A full list is available in the report.


NSWALC understands the NSW Government intends to progress reform proposals through further consultations with the Aboriginal Land Council network and Aboriginal communities as follows:

  • Phase 1: Development of a public exposure Bill outlining various administrative and operational amendments related to matters including land claims processes, membership rolls, land dealings, community benefits, misconduct and complaints handling. NSWALC supports many, though not all, changes proposed in the report. NSWALC will provide further advice and continue to advocate for improved outcomes for Aboriginal Land Rights and Aboriginal communities.
  • Phase 2: Development of options to improve land rights and native title interactions to enable Aboriginal Land Councils to deal with land, for consultation in 2022.
  • Phase 3: Consideration and consultation on ideas for bigger picture reforms including strategic land use improvements, compensatory mechanisms, compliance and regulatory roles, housing and Aboriginal culture and heritage.

NSWALC encourages the Aboriginal Land Rights network and Aboriginal communities to continue to have their say in these reforms. NSWALC will provide advice and updates, including engagement opportunities, over the coming weeks and months.


In May 2021, the NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs commenced the review of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983NSW (ALRA) and invited submissions.

To inform NSWALC’s position, in July 2021 NSWALC undertook network consultations (virtual due to COVID-19 restrictions).

Delivering Aboriginal Land Rights
Based on the network feedback, NSWALC’s advocacy continues to focus on delivering Aboriginal land rights through:

– Self-determination remaining a key priority and key principle that needs to underpin the ALRA and any reforms,
– Accelerating the return of lands & 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 into the Aboriginal Land Rights network to enable Aboriginal Land Councils to continue to support our communities.


Please contact the Strategy & Policy Unit on or 02 9689 4444.

The 2021 ALRA review report is available by clicking here.
NSWALC’s submission to the 2021 ALRA review is available by clicking here.


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.