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Legislative Review

The Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALRA) requires the Minister to review the terms of the Act every five years from December 2006. Section 252A of the ALRA states:

The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (the Minister) is to review the ALRA to determine whether the policy objectives of the Act remain valid and whether the terms of the Act remain appropriate for securing those objectives.

The review is to be undertaken as soon as possible after the period of 5 years from the date of assent to the Aboriginal Land Rights Amendment Act 2006 and as soon as possible after the end of every period of 5 years thereafter.

A report on the outcome of the review is to be tabled in each House of Parliament within 12 months after the end of the period of 5 years.

The report on the outcome of the 2017 Statutory Review of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, 1983 was tabled in each House of Parliament on 21 November 2017. Click here for the 2017 Statutory Review Report.

The 2017 review was informed by the views of key stakeholders at nine forums held in each of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council regions. The forums included invited representatives from Aboriginal communities across NSW and were led by an independent facilitator, Dr Aden Ridgeway of Cox Inall Ridgeway. Click here for the Independent Facilitator’s Report.

A call for written submissions was made in June 2017 to inform the Minister’s report. Three written submissions were received and are available in the links below:

  1. NSW Aboriginal Land Council Submission
  2. Arnold Bloch Leibler Submission
  3. The Independent Commission Against Corruption Submission

Overall, the review process has found the policy objectives of the ALRA remain valid, specifically that the ALRA provides Aboriginal people with the legal recognition and basis to support self-determination and community governance throughout NSW. However, the review process also identified ongoing issues and challenges facing the optimum realisation of the ALRA. The main challenges identified include the slow resolution of land claims, capacity and governance issues, membership and representation issues, local government relations, onerous regulatory and compliance requirements, and the complex interaction of the ALRA and native title laws.

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