Local Aboriginal Land Councils can be exempt from the payment of rates and charges to Local Government Authorities and water supply authorities
on certain types of lands.
The types of lands which may be exempt from rates include:
- Land listed in Schedule 1 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Regulation 2014 (Please note that there are currently no properties listed in Schedule
- Land that is not being used for a commercial or residential purpose (vacant land)
- Land not being used for a residential purpose and declared by the LALC to be of cultural or spiritual significance.
- Vacant land is automatically exempt from the payments of rates.
To obtain a rates exemption for land which is not being used for a residential purpose, but is declared by the Local Aboriginal Land Council to
be of cultural or spiritual significance the Minister must approve the Council’s members’ resolution that the land is not being used for a
residential purpose and is of spiritual or cultural significance to Aboriginal people. This can include land being used for a commercial purpose
such as a cultural centre or museum.
‘Commercial’ or ‘Residential’ Land
What constitutes a ‘commercial’ or ‘residential’ land use purpose is not always clear and needs to be determined on a case by case basis. Decisions
made by previous Ministers of Aboriginal Affairs can provide some guidance. However they should only be used as a guide because the definition
of ‘residential’ and ‘commercial’ land uses depends on the individual circumstances and may need to be negotiated between the Land Council
and the Local Government Authority.
- “Commercial” land has been determined by previous Minister/s of Aboriginal Affairs as land that was being used for a commercial purpose if
it was being used to make money on a regular, seasonal or routine basis. Thus, if money was made off a piece of land once or twice
rather than on an ongoing basis, then it could still be declared rate-free on the basis that it wasn’t being used for a commercial
- “Residential” land has been determined by previous Minister/s of Aboriginal Affairs as land that was being lived on, or had a house on it or a caravan or some other accommodation that was in a suitable condition to be lived in.
However, land which has a building on it that was used previously, but has fallen into disrepair and requires investment of funds to enable
it to be re-used for a residential purpose, has previously be determined to not be residential land.
For further information download Information on Rates Exemptions or contact:
- NSWAboriginalLand Council on (02) 9689 4444
- Local Government and Shires Association (02) 9242 4000
- Department of Local Government (02) 9793 0793