The NSW Aboriginal Land Council is an independent statutory corporation constituted under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983. The Council is elected every four years and comprises of nine councillors representing nine regional areas.
The next NSW Aboriginal Land Council election is due to take place in 2015.
The Council also has an administrative arm, overseen by a Chief Executive Officer, with a head office located in Parramatta and five regional zone offices located around NSW.
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council is the chief regulator of the land council network that includes the approval of Local Aboriginal Land Council land dealings, Community, Land and Business Plans and housing management arrangements. The Council also manages a Statutory Investment fund. The Council invests and disburses funds to maintain the network of land councils, and when possible invests in other initiatives for the betterment of the Aboriginal people of NSW.
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council also determines and advocates policies for the benefit of the Aboriginal people of NSW including representation at the United Nations.
There are 120 Local Aboriginal Land Councils located across NSW. Local Aboriginal Land Councils form the core of the organisational structure of the land rights network. Local Aboriginal Land Council boundaries do not necessarily affiliate with cultural or traditional association with country.
All Aboriginal people 18 years or over who are resident within the area of a Local Aboriginal Land Council are entitled to apply for membership. In certain circumstances, non-residents can become members by cultural association that includes familial, historical or cultural association with the area.
Applications for new memberships are considered at duly constituted Aboriginal Land Council meetings by current voting members, present at the meeting. The process can require that the applicant attend the meeting. When considering new memberships the onus is on the Local Aboriginal Land Councils to be satisfied that the applicant satisfies the membership qualifications set out in section 54(2A) the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983.
The Registrar has powers to advise and mediate disputes between Land Councils, and between Land Councils and other parties, and has the power to issue compliance directions to Aboriginal Land Councils to address non-compliance with the ALRA..
Local Aboriginal Land Councils do not, nor are required, to provide certification of Aboriginality. However, if they so choose they can confirm the membership of people accepted as adult Aboriginal people on their membership roll.
Local Aboriginal Land Councils currently receive an annual funding grant of $130 000 from the NSW Aboriginal Land Council. Land Councils may also attain funding by other means such as government grants, donations and bequeathed estates. Additionally, Councils are free to deal commercially with their land which can include development with private partners, sale, and the investment of any proceeds.
Since 2007, Local Aboriginal Land Councils have been required to have their members, and the elected NSW Aboriginal Land Council, approve Community Land and Business Plans which must be adopted and implemented. The plans provide for clear and transparent oversight of assets, policies and community benefit schemes by the members and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council.
Most Local Aboriginal Land Councils operate an office and employ full-time staff, including a Chief Executive Officer and in some cases other administrative positions. Local Aboriginal Land Councils are independent of the NSW State Government. However, they are deemed to be public authorities for the purposes of legislation relating to accountability. Certain public authorities, including the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the Ombudsman and the Auditor General, have powers to investigate or require information from Land Councils.
Local Aboriginal Land Councils can acquire land by claiming Crown land subject to certain criteria, or by purchasing land that is available commercially. For more information see the Land Claims page on this website.
Local Aboriginal Land Councils comprise of an elected board, an appointed Chief Executive Officer and members. Each has certain roles and responsibilities which are set out in the Act and Regulations. Local Aboriginal Land Council boards are elected every two years and range in size from seven to ten members, dependent on the number of voting members in each council.
For councils with more than 100 voting members, the Local Aboriginal Land Council is required elect a board not fewer than seven and not more than ten board members.
For councils with 100 voting members, the Local Aboriginal Land Council is required elect a board not fewer than five and not more than seven board members.
The Local Aboriginal Land Council Board implements the council’s Community, Land and Business Plan. The roles and functions of the elected Boards are set out in section 62 of the Act as follows:
The Chief Executive Officer manages the day-to-day management of the operations of the Council. The role and function of the chief executive officer of Local Aboriginal Land Councils is set out in the section 78A(2) of the Act as follows:
The chief executive officer has the following particular functions:
Members are conferred with the following functions exercised by resolution:
All members, including the Board and any other staff are required to abide by the Council’s Code of Conduct and Model Rules,set out in the Aboriginal Land Rights Regulation 2002. Council may develop their own Model Rules and seek to have them approved by the Registrar.
For further information visit www.alc.org.au or call:
|Head Office, Parramatta:||02-9689 4444|
|Northern Zone Office, Coffs Harbour:||02-6659 1200|
|Western Zone Office, Dubbo:||02-9885 7000|
|Eastern Zone Office, Gosford:||02-4377 4701|
|Southern Zone Office, Queanbeyan:||02-6124 3555|
|Far Western Zone Office, Broken Hill:||08-8087 3851|