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Legislative Review

Amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights 1983

On 19 November 2014, the Governor gave his assent to the Aboriginal Land Rights Amendment Act2014 (Amendment Act) after it was passed by both houses of the parliament without amendment. The amendments arise from a five yearly Statutory Review of the ALRA that commenced in December 2011. The new provisions will see reforms in the key areas of Aboriginal land claims, management of Aboriginal land council housing and the regulatory framework for Aboriginal Land Councils, including new provisions regulating the business enterprises and investments of Aboriginal Land Councils.

A copy of the Bill of Amendments introduced to Parliament accompanied by a summary of its provisions as an “Explanatory Note” can be found here.

It is expected the Amendment Act will commence operation on 1 July 2015.

Statutory Review Report

A Statutory Review Report was also tabled in Parliament on 21 October 2014, at the same time as the Aboriginal Land Rights Amendment Bill 2014 was introduced, marking the completion of the Statutory Review of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALRA).

The Statutory Review Report is available here.

Background and history of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act Review

The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, the Hon Victor Dominello, commenced the five yearly statutory review of the ALRA in December 2011. The Minister’s statutory review was assisted by an expert Working Group, Chaired by the Registrar of the Act, and comprising representatives of key stakeholders in the administration of the Act, including the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC), two community members, the Director General of the Department of Primary Industries, and Aboriginal Affairs.

On 12 October 2012, the Chair of the Working Group, submitted a final report to the Minister that provided extensive background information, discussion points and a range of recommendations. A copy of the Working Group report “Facilitation to Enable Not Frustration to Disable”: Aboriginal Land Rights Act Review 2012 is available here.

State-wide public consultations were held between 12 August to 5 September 2013 on a number of the Working Group recommendations regarding land claims and housing management, coupled with a range of regulatory reforms developed together by NSWALC and Aboriginal Affairs. The consultation papers for those consultations are available here.