Update on the Land Negotiation Program Review

In late 2019, the Minister for Water, Property & Housing, Melinda Pavey MP commissioned Ms Chris Ronalds SC to review the operation of the Land Negotiation Program.

The Land Negotiation Program has involved seven LALCs and NSWALC in pilot Aboriginal Land Agreement negotiations with the NSW Government and relevant local governments. 

The Program presents a significant opportunity to reduce the backlog of near 37,000 claims and to deliver land and non-land outcomes for our communities. However, the policy settings and program implementation for the pilots led to transactional and adversarial negotiations.

Chris Ronalds SC has a long history of supporting and developing the careers of Aboriginal law students and lawyers, as well as working with community on justice issues.

The Ronalds’ Review was delivered to the Government earlier this year. The Review makes specific findings about the programs design and delivery and recommendations about its re-design.

The Review is a catalyst for a refreshed relationship between the Land Rights Network and the Department of Planning, Industry & Environment (Crown Lands), as well as an opportunity to reset the Land Negotiation Program. 

Arrangements for the program redesign and rollout are still being made. There will be further engagement with the Network on both aspects.

We remain hopeful that a redesigned program can deliver on the promise of Land Rights; delivering land and non-land outcomes to uplift our communities.

A joint briefing for LALCs on the Review will be arranged and delivered by the Department and NSWALC shortly – details to follow.

In the meantime, if you have any specific information requests please contact NSWALC Land Initiatives Unit via ala@alc.org.au.