Update on LALC Members’ Meetings, Compliance and Rapid Antigen Tests

4 February 2022

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

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, LALC compliance requirements and Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs).

The NSWALC encourages 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 recommends LALCs continue to follow NSW Health advice while considering the significant outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID 19 across Australia. We encourage you to exercise extreme caution and discretion when organising Members’ Meetings, to ensure the wellbeing and safety of our communities.

If your LALC requires an essential Members’ Meeting, we encourage you to work with NSWALC Zone staff to ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken to mitigate risk to your Staff, Members and Community.

We encourage LALCs to continue to discuss issues with your 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 are provided below) and;
* Consideration of Members’ rights.

NSWALC Staff attendance at LALC meetings  

NSWALC staff are currently working from home for the foreseeable future to ensure the health and wellbeing of our staff. Our staff will only be able to attend a LALC essential meeting as determined between the LALC and Zone Office. We will review these arrangements on a monthly basis and will advise further through our Zone Offices and Network Messages.

Compliance Overview Update

LALC MeetingsNSWALC AdviceALRA Requirement/Action
3 monthly meetingExercise extreme caution and abide by all NSW Public Health Orders.Nil
Annual MeetingExercise extreme caution and abide by all NSW Public Health Orders.Nil
Casual Board member vacancy MeetingExercise extreme 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 TrainingTimeframe extension to 31 March 2022.Nil
CLBP Approval 9 months after Board electionsTimeframe extension 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 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.

Supply of COVID-19 RATs for LALCs

NSWALC has secured a small supply of COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) to be distributed across the network.

Each LALC will receive 100 RATs, which can be used to assist staff with essential face to face gatherings. Each RAT comes individually packaged with instructions for use.

RATs will be delivered to LALCs via post in the first two weeks of February 2022.

RATs should be used in conjunction with the advice above concerning in person engagements and should not be used to supersede this advice.

NSWALC’s supply of RATs to LALCs will be a one-off.  NSWALC will continue to lobby for RATs to be supplied to Aboriginal communities and medical services into the future.