Update on LALC Members’ Meetings, Compliance and COVID-19 Restrictions

17 December 2021

The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) would like to provide further updated advice to Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) regarding the holding of Members’ Meetings and a range of LALC compliance requirements under the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (the ALRA) and the NSWALC Funding Agreements.

NSWALC encourage all LALCs to consider the new NSW Public Health Orders in detail, and to take appropriate actions in order to ensure the safety of their staff and communities.

COVID-19 related legislation – NSW legislation

LALC Meetings

 
At this point in time, the NSWALC recommend LALCs continue to follow NSW Health advice including taking reasonable steps when organising Members’ Meetings, to ensure the wellbeing and safety of our communities.
 
If your LALC requires a Members’ Meeting, we encourage you to work with NSWALC Zone staff to ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken to mitigate risk to Staff, Members and Community.


While it is currently not mandatory for businesses to have COVID safe plans, we recommend LALCs continue to utilise this as a safety measure when holding meetings.


Members attendance at LALC meetings

The NSW Public Health advice explains that most premises in NSW are now open to everyone from 15th December 2021, regardless of whether individuals are fully vaccinated or not, and individuals no longer need to provide evidence of their vaccination status.

Some premises may choose through policy to require people to be fully vaccinated as a condition of entry and this will be a decision for LALCs to exercise judgment and obtain independent legal advice on what is appropriate for your LALC.

You can read further information at the following link – COVID 19 Business Rules 15.12.21

We encourage LALCs to continue to discuss with the Zone Office and consider the following when deciding whether to hold a Members’ Meeting during this time:

  • The current Public Health Order and requirements, noting that the requirements vary according to region and can be changed at short notice;
  • The health and safety of LALC Staff, Members and Community;
  • Current vaccination rates in your area;
  • Whether the meeting is essential to the successful operation of the LALC (given no penalties apply and relevant extensions provided below) and;
  • Consideration of Members rights.

It is recommended that LALCs consider providing up to date information to your Staff, Members and Community to ensure everyone displays COVID-safe behaviour in all areas of your LALC’s operations.
 
It is further recommended that LALCs consider and discuss your policies in relation to any requirements under the Public Health Orders.
 
LALCs should also review the safety advice in the link below.
 
https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/covid-19/Pages/resources.aspx
 

Compliance Overview Update
 

LALC MeetingsNSWALC AdviceALRA Requirement/Action
3 monthly meetingExercise caution and abide by all NSW Public Health Orders.Nil
Annual MeetingExercise caution and abide by all NSW Public Health Orders.Nil
Casual Board member vacancy MeetingExercise caution and abide by all NSW Public Health Orders.NSWALC and Registrar will assess requests for a Returning Officer in line with NSW Public Health Orders and relevant policies.
Compliance RequirementsStatusALRA Requirement/Action
Lodging Annual Financial Statements by 1 NovemberStill required.Results in cessation of funding.
Lodging Annual Report incl CLBP Implementation Report by 1 NovemberStill required.Results in cessation of funding.
Board member mandatory Governance TrainingExtension to timeframe to 31 March 2022.Nil
CLBP Approval 9 months after Board electionsExtension to timeframe to 31 March 2022.Nil

NSWALC is happy to provide guidance to LALCs regarding LALC operations during the COVID-19 health crisis. In some cases, LALCs may need to obtain independent legal advice in relation to the Public Health Orders.
 
If you have any queries or need to further discuss the matters contained in this Network Message, please contact your NSWALC Zone Office in the first instance.
 
NSWALC will provide further updates as the Public Health Orders change. Please stay safe over the holiday period.