NSWALC CEO Les Turner is an Eastern Arrente man from Alice Springs. He has been with NSWALC since 2007 and CEO since May 2014.
My father was from Alice Springs and my mother was a saltwater woman from Billingarah, near Borroloola in the Gulf of Carpentaria. One of my grandfathers rode his bike from Brewarrina to Alice in 1908. I have worked in Aboriginal Affairs all my working life.
I believe that the NSW Land Rights legislation is the best in Australia, it makes NSWALC the stand-out organisation for land rights, not just in Australia but in the world. We are the envy of other Aboriginal land councils because of the way the Act delivers freehold title and the way the Statutory Fund operates for the benefit of Aboriginal people in NSW now and in perpetuity. We Aboriginal people have to keep it strong.
2014 has been a period of consolidation for NSWALC after changes in leadership of the Council and my appointment as CEO. My focus for the past six months has been on making NSWALC stronger by good governance, better communications (inside the organisation and with all our stakeholders), and getting on with business.
While we have the best legislation in Australia, Aboriginal people in NSW are still disadvantaged and marginalised. We need to use what is available through NSWALC to create opportunities for Aboriginal people in NSW.
One of our key priorities is economic development and we have committed $16 million over the next five years to assisting Local Aboriginal Land Councils to develop economic opportunities for their communities.
NSWALC is the biggest member-based Aboriginal organisation in Australia, but we should not be complacent. I want to encourage our young people to join the Land Rights movement, to feel proud to be a member of a LALC and part of the NSWALC Network.
There are some big challenges for NSWALC over the next 12 months. With potential changes to the Land Rights Act and a review of Crown Lands we will be working hard to ensure that any changes proposed to the Land Rights Act will strengthen not diminish our rights.