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Support for Native Title and Aboriginal Land Rights

3-August-2021

First Nations people across the state will benefit from a $9.85 million  NSW Government investment to support native title holders and claimants and Local Aboriginal Land Councils deliver positive outcomes for Aboriginal communities.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Don Harwin said the funding for NSWALC and NTSCORP supports the Government’s commitment to resolve Native Title and Aboriginal Land Rights across NSW.

“This funding will also advance this year’s NAIDOC Week theme, Heal Country, which highlights the continued efforts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in seeking greater protections for their lands, waters and sacred sites.” Mr Harwin said.

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council Chair Anne Dennis said she welcomed the funding support for Land Rights and the resolution of outstanding land claims.

“I am pleased to see commitments to support the resolution of the more than 38,000 outstanding land claims in NSW. The return of land to Aboriginal people, as well as strong culture and heritage protection, is essential in achieving the intent of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act in NSW” Councillor Dennis said.

The funding package includes:

  • $2.5 million to NTSCORP to support native title claims, including $750,000 for cultural heritage surveys to support resolution of claims involving Crown land;
  • $2.5 million to help build skills and capacity of Local Aboriginal Land Councils;
  • $1.8 million for Local Aboriginal Land Councils to support the resolution of land claims through Aboriginal Land Agreements;
  • $1.1 million to Native Title Corporations to identify, promote and protect their cultural heritage on Crown land, through  heritage assessments and the design and installation of cultural signage;
  • $1.1 million to support Aboriginal groups to establish ranger programs, so they can tender for natural resource management contracts with NSW agencies;
  • $750,000 to support Local Aboriginal Land Councils to undertake cultural heritage assessments on Crown land; and
  • $100,000 to support the Barkandji registered native title body corporate to expand its operations.

Attorney General Mark Speakman said the NSW Government is committed to working collaboratively with First Nations people to deliver better outcomes for native title holders and the wider community.

“Nine native title claims have been resolved in NSW over the past four years. This injection of funding will lead to further resolutions for traditional owners and support Aboriginal communities to exercise their native title rights,” Mr Speakman said.

“By helping to build capacity for native title holders, together we can support the traditional owners of this land to realise their goals and aspirations for their communities.”

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the funding aligns with the aims of the recently released Crown land 2031 strategy for Crown land in NSW.

“Aboriginal land rights and native title interests are key to reconciliation and achieving positive economic, social, cultural and environmental outcomes for Aboriginal communities and the wider community,” Mrs Pavey said.

Natalie Rotumah, CEO of NTSCORP Limited, the native title service provider for NSW said the NSW Government have committed under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap to increase the area of land, waters and seas subject to Aboriginal Peoples’ legal rights by 15% by 2030.

“NTSCORP welcomes this funding as a practical means of the Government supporting Native Title Groups to assert their rights and to advance resolutions which ensure Traditional Owners’ cultural, social, spiritual and economic interests in Country are recognised and protected into the future,” Ms Rotumah said.

“We also look forward to working with Government to meet the Closing the Gap targets and to have the inherent rights of native title holders to speak for and protect their country, culture and heritage recognised for our ancestors passed and for our generations still to come.”

The funding is being provided by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

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