The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council has backed a call from Aboriginal leader Michael Mansell for the establishment of a land compensation fund in Tasmania based on the New South Wales Aboriginal land rights model.
The Chairperson of the NSWALC, Craig Cromelin, says Mr. Mansell’s call should be supported by all who understand the clear need for justice to be delivered to Aboriginal people as compensation for the loss of their traditional lands.
“The original centrepiece of the land rights system in NSW is the establishment of a compensation fund, which has ensured our people have been able to establish a viable, powerful and growing political, economic and social structure without any call on taxpayer funding for our operations,” he said.
“We are subject to a number of legislative and regulatory checks and balances but the growth and structure of the fund, under the management of successive elected Aboriginal representatives, has ensured our ability to sustain the NSWALC as a peak advocate for our people and our network of 120 Local Aboriginal Land Councils which all provide a range of services to our people.
“It is the best land rights model in Australia and indeed the world, which, sadly, has never been replicated at the national level or by any State or Territory government.
“Mr. Mansell’s call for a similar fund to be established in Tasmania has the full support of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council.
“Our Council believes all political parties in Tasmania should positively respond to his call for a commitment to provide 7.5% of land tax revenue collected in Tasmania as compensation for dispossession.
“The scheme of land tax payments provided a financial base for Aborigines in NSW, as Mr Mansell has pointed out. There is no reason such a scheme could not be extended to the island state.”
The New South Wales land compensation laws were introduced by the Wran Labor Government in the early 1980’s and enshrined in the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (NSW) l983. Since then the NSW land council network has been self-sufficient.
The advocacy work of the NSWALC and the land rights network is sustained by interest generated from the Fund and guarantees a large measure of operational independence from Government.
No State or Commonwealth taxpayer funding is provided for the recurrent operations of the NSW land rights system.
Media contact: Josh Ridgeway, 0414 423 170 or 0400 709 226