25 September, 2015
NSWALC Statewide Conference focuses on long-term future of network More than 250 delegates gathered in the Hunter Valley last month for the NSWALC Statewide Conference.
The Conference was a valuable opportunity for mob to get together and celebrate achievements in the Land Rights network and to map out future opportunities and challenges.
These opportunities and challenges were brought into clear focus by keynote speaker Sir Tipene O’Regan, a Kaumatua (Elder) of the Ngai Tahu tribe in New Zealand’s South Island, who reflected on his experiences in building an economic base while enriching culture.
The Ngai Tahu tribe has converted a settlement payment of $170 million in 1998 to an asset base of more than $1.4 billion.
Guided by a mantra of “For Us and our Children After Us”, Sir Tipene explained how economic success in tourism, fishing, farming and property development has been achieved while maintaining and controlling cultural identity and developing models of Indigenous governance.
Other speakers included NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Leslie Williams and Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion while a number of senior Land Council figures contributed to themed panel discussions on issues ranging from land negotiation, healing, culture and heritage, economic development and resources.
On the opening night, the contributions of Elders and young people in the network were honoured with Recognition Awards to 17 people.
Conference delegates paid their respects to Wonnaruah Elder Uncle Les Elvin who sadly passed away on the eve of the Conference.
On the final day, delegates were reminded about the NSWALC election on Saturday, 31 October, 2015. Eligible voting members of Local Aboriginal Land Councils will be able to vote for representatives of nine regions. Further details about the NSWALC elections are available at http://www.elections.nsw.gov.au/alc_election
Delegates also viewed standout regional presentations, showcasing the many achievements of Local Aboriginal Land Councils throughout New South Wales. The videos, which were the highlight of the Conference, will appear over the coming months NSWALC’s OurMob site at www.ourmob.org.au. In this edition, we profile Baradine and Wagga Wagga Local Aboriginal Land Councils. Regional presentations can be seen at https://alc.org.au/about-nswalc/statewide-conference-2015.aspx