The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Rights Act came in to effect on 10 June, 1983. The Act came out of a push for national land rights laws, which saw the establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on the lawns in front of the old Parliament House in Canberra.
In 1977 the NSW Aboriginal Land Council was set up, but it got no government funding. However, with the support of Sydney¹s Tranby College, the Land Council submitted some ten land claims to the NSW Government between 1977 and 1981. The claims submitted by the Land Council influenced the NSW Government to set up a committee on Aboriginal issues, which delivered its first report (the Keane Report) in 1980.
As a result of the report, the Wran Labor Government set up a Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs in 1981 and drew up the Land Rights Act. The overall aim of the Act is to allow for land claims to be made by Aboriginal people and to purchase land or buildings for Aboriginal people.
The Act allows for three levels of Aboriginal Land Councils Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs), Regional Aboriginal Land Councils (RALCs) and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC).
There are now 119 LALCs and 13 RALCs. Under the Act, the land council system was funded by 7.5 per sent of land tax collected by the government each year, for 15 years.
The system is now funded by interest on investments made in the first 15 years. Membership of LALCs is open to all Aboriginal people resident in the LALC area or a person who has an "Association" with the LALC area. In Sydney, there are five LALCs Metropolitan (inner-Sydney), La Perouse, Deerubbin (western Sydney), Gandangarra (southwestern Sydney), Tharawal (southeastern Sydney).
For more information, telephone the NSW Aboriginal Land Council on (02) 9689 4444.