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A short history of Aboriginal Affairs administration in NSW

2004

The NSW Government established the Aboriginal Trust Funds Reparation Scheme to repay unpaid wages to members of the Stolen Generations.
A review of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 was announced, with special focus on land dealing provisions, land council governance, structure, representation and benefits.
Mount Grenfell Historic Site, about 50 kilometres from Cobar, in Central West NSW was returned to its Aboriginal owners, the Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people.

2005

The Department of Aboriginal Affairs officially opened regional offices at Bourke, Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, Coffs Harbour and Narooma.

2006

Biamanga and Gulaga National Parks were handed back.
The Aboriginal Land Rights Amendment Act 2006 passed through both Houses of Parliament.
In Living Memory exhibition opened at The Rocks.

2007

Wellington Common was formally handed back to Wellington Wiradjuri people.
Parts of Stockton Bight were handed back to the Worimi people and Worimi
Conservation Reserve was created.
A CD ROM, Aboriginal Languages of NSW: An Introduction for Schools and Communities was published and distributed to all schools in NSW.

2008

The NSW Government and NSW Aboriginal Land Council agreed to a major water and sewerage partnership.
The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, apologised to members of the Stolen Generations.
Amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALRA) come into force.

2009

Important amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALRA) were developed and commenced operation in March 2010, supplementing previous amendments that continue to focus on how Aboriginal Land Councils can deliver tangible benefits to their communities. The NSW government committed to the employment of an additional 2,229 Aboriginal people in the Public Sector within four years.

2010

The Constitution Act 1902 was amended to read:

  1. Parliament, on behalf of the People of New South Wales, acknowledges and honours the Aboriginal people as the State’s first people and nations.
  2. Parliament, on behalf of the People of New South Wales, recognises that Aboriginal people, as the traditional custodians and occupants of the land in New South Wales:
    1. have a spiritual, social, cultural and economic relationship with their traditional lands and waters, and
    2. have made and continue to make a unique and lasting contribution to the identity of the State.

2011

The Ministerial Taskforce on Aboriginal Affairs was established by the Premier and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in late 2011 to inform a new plan to improve education and employment outcomes for Aboriginal people in NSW and to enhance service delivery to support these goals.

2013

The NSW Government released its Aboriginal affairs plan that includes reforms to support more Aboriginal students to stay at school and transition to work; builds local decision making skills in communities and; ensures government and community are more accountable for how money is spent.

Called OCHRE – Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility, Empowerment – the plan was created through the Ministerial Taskforce on Aboriginal Affairs which brought together four Aboriginal leaders, seven government Ministers and senior government officials.