Aboriginal Affairs NSW logo

up arrow white - go back to top of page

NSWALC & the LALC Network to Aboriginal Land Councils in NSW

NSW Aboriginal Land Council

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) oversees the network of 120 Local Aboriginal Land Councils that represent the many Aboriginal communities across NSW.

The NNSWALC is an independent statutory corporation constituted under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALRA). The NSWALC is elected every four years and is made up of nine councillors representing nine regional areas.

The next NSWALC election is due to take place in 2019.

The NSWALC also has an administrative arm, overseen by a Chief Executive Officer. There is a head office located in Parramatta, western Sydney, and five regional zone offices located around NSW.

The NSWALC’s statutory functions include boththe compliance regulationand financial stewardship of the state’s land council network.

The NSWALC’s powers and responsibilities include approving Local Aboriginal Land Council land dealingsand arrangement for managing housing, ensuring Local Aboriginal Land Council development of and compliance withCommunity, Land and Business Plans, and receiving annual budgets and financial reports of Local Aboriginal Land Councils.. It also manages a Statutory Investment Fund. This fund allows the NSWALC to invest and disburse funds to maintain the network of Local Aboriginal Land Councils, and to invest in community benefits or economic developmentinitiatives.

The NSWALC also determines and advocates for policies for the benefit of the Aboriginal peoples of NSW, including representing them at the United Nations.

For further information regarding the NSWALC visit: www.alc.org.au or call its head office on 02 9689 4444.

Local Aboriginal Land Councils

Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) are at the heart of the organisational structure of the land rights network.

There are 120 LALCs,each constituted over a specific areain NSW. Their boundaries may not align with cultural or traditional associations with Country.

Funding

Each LALC currently receives an annual funding grant of approximately $144,000 from the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC). LALCs may also raise extra funds by other means such as government grants, donations and through bequests from deceased estates. LALCs also have the right to deal commercially with their land. This may include its development with private partners or its sale, and the investment of any proceeds.

Doing business

Since 2007, each LALC has been required to develop Community Land and Business Plans, which must then be adopted and implemented. These plans must be developed in accordance with NSWALC policy and approved by their own members . The plans ensure clear and transparent oversight of each Land Council’s assets, policies and community benefits schemes.

How they operate

Most LALCs have an office and employ full-time staff, including a Chief Executive Officer and, in some cases, other administrative officers.

LALCs are independent of the NSW State Government. However, they are deemed to be public authorities for the purposes of legislation relating to accountability. This means certain public authorities, including the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the Ombudsman and the Auditor-General, have powers to investigate LALCs to require them to provide information.

Land acquisition

LALCs can acquire land by claiming Crown land based on the criteria set out in the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 or by buying land that is available commercially.

For more information visit the land claims page.

Membership

All Aboriginal people aged 18 years or over who live within an area covered by a Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) have the right to apply for membership. Aboriginal people who do not live within the LALC area but have historical or cultural association with the LALC’s area may also apply for membership.

New membership applications are considered at duly constituted LALC meetings by current voting members present at the meeting. The applicant may be asked to attend the meeting. A LALC must be satisfied the new applicant meets the membership qualifications set out in section 54(2A) of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALRA).

LALCs cannot provide certification of Aboriginality.

They can, however, choose to confirm the membership of people accepted as adult Aboriginal people and who are listed on their membership roll.

The functions, exercised by resolution of the members of LALCs include:

  • Acceptance of persons as qualified for membership
  • Delegation of functions of the Council
  • Approval of the rules and code of conduct of the Council and any amendment to or repeal or the replacement of those rules or that code
  • Approval of the Community, Land and Business Plans of the Council and any changes to the plan
  • Approval of dealings with land and land-dealing approval agreements other than any such dealings or agreements that relate to short-term residential tenancy agreements
  • Receipt of the annual budget and the financial statements of the Council
  • Election of Board members
  • Suspension of members from attending or voting at meetings of the Council
  • Approval of requests to change the name of the Council’s area or for the amalgamation or dissolution of the Council, or its re-allocation to another Region

All LALC members, including its Board and any other staff are required to abide by its Code of Conduct and Model Rules, set out in the Aboriginal Land Rights Regulation 2014 (Regulations). LALCs may develop their own Model Rules and seek to have them approved by the Registrar.

The Registrar of the ALRA has powers to advise on, and mediate disputes, between LALCs and between LALCs and other parties. The Registrar also has the power to issue compliance directions to address any non-compliance by LALCs with the ALRA.

Governance

Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) are made up of an elected board, an appointed Chief Executive Officer and its members, all of whom have distinct roles and responsibilities as set out in the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 and Regulations. LALC boards are elected every four years and range in size from seven to ten members, depending on the number of voting members in each council.

More than 100 voting members

LALCs with more than 100 voting members are required to elect a board with no fewer than seven and no more than ten members.

100 or fewer voting members

LALCs with 100 or fewer voting members are required to elect a board with no fewer than five and no more than seven members.

A LALC Board implements the council’s Community, Land and Business Plans. The roles and functions of the elected Boards are set out in section 62 of the ALRA.

A Board of a LALC has the following functions:

  • To direct and control the affairs of the Council
  • To facilitate communication between the Council’s members and the NSWALC
  • To review the performance of the Council in the exercise of its functions and the achievement of its objectives
  • To enter into short-term residential tenancy agreements in relation to land vested in the Council and to manage or terminate such agreements
  • Any other functions conferred on the Board by or under the Act.

The functions of a LALC Board must be carried out in line with the ALRA and the Regulations and must be consistent with its Community, Land and Business Plan.

The LALC’s Chief Executive Officer manages its day-to-day operations. His or her role and function are set out in section 78A(2) of the ALRA.

The chief executive officer has the following particular functions:

  • The day-to-day management of the Council’s affairs
  • The exercise of such functions of the Board as are delegated by the Board to the chief executive officer
  • The appointment of staff in accordance with the approval of the Board
  • The direction and dismissal of members of staff
  • Such other functions as may be conferred or imposed on the chief executive officer by or under this or any other Act.

Want to know more?

Visit www.alc.org.au

Head Office, Parramatta: (02) 9689 4444
Northern Zone Office, Coffs Harbour: (02) 6659 1200
Western Zone Office, Dubbo: (02) 6885 7000
Eastern Zone Office, Gosford: (02) 4337 4700
Southern Zone Office, Queanbeyan: (02) 6124 7909
Far Western Zone Office, Broken Hill: (08) 8087 3851


Go Back