Amending the Aboriginal Lands Act

​​​​​​​​​​​​Update and next steps 

​In June 2022, the Government released a consultation paper with its proposals for improving the model for returning land to Tasmanian Aboriginal people through changes to the Aboriginal Lands Act 1995 (the Act). Those proposals were informed by previous and ongoing consultations, and long consideration of the issues.

The 70 submissions​ received in response to the June 2022 consultation paper, and the many in-person discussions, provided valuable feedback which will inform our approach to drafting the amending legislation.

The responses on most issues were relatively straightforward and positive. The area of most disagreement was on the issue of eligibility to participate in the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania (ALCT) election process and the role of the Tasmanian Electoral Commissioner.

The Government is now moving forward with drafting the amendments ahead of their release for consultation in the first half of 2023. To support the drafting process, a further consultation paper has been prepared which presents more detail and proposes a refined position on how new arrangements for ALCT election processes would operate.

Constructive ideas will be taken into account in drafting the amendments. Feedback on this paper is invited by 12 March 2023, in order that it can be properly considered. We look forward to receiving this further input.

The consultation paper can be accessed here: 



Background, and previous consultation

Submissions on the June 2022 Consultation Paper on proposed amendments to the Act have formally closed.

The submissions are now available on the submissions​ page.

Following analysis of the feedback, we are now developing a Draft Exposure Bill. We will seek comment in the first half of 2023, prior to finalising the Bill for introduction to Parliament later in 2023.

​The passing of the Act by the Tasmanian Parliament was recognised as a historically important development in the relationship between Tasmanian Aboriginal people and the broader Tasmanian community. 

The Act established the ALCT, an autonomous body elected by Aboriginal people, as a statutory authority with responsibility for the use and sustainable management of “Aboriginal land”. 

ALCT holds that land in perpetuity for all Tasmanian Aboriginal people. The Act outlines the functions and powers of ALCT and establishes the mechanism for electing members to the Council. 

By the end of its first decade in operation, the Act had been the means of returning more than 55,000 hectares of Crown land to ALCT, on behalf of Tasmanian Aboriginal people. However, since 2005 there has been no significant return of Crown land. 

The return of more land to its original custodians forms a crucial part of the Tasmanian Government’s Reset Agenda. 
 
However, a review has highlighted areas where the Act could be improved. 

The review process ​
In 2018, the Government initiated a review of the model for returning land to Tasmanian Aboriginal people. A Discussion Paper was developed to support consultation as part of the review. The Discussion Paper and the Final Feedback Report are available below:

There is also commentary on the model for land return in the Pathway to Truth-Telling and Treaty report prepared by Professors Kate Warner and Tim McCormack.​

​The June 2022 Consultation Paper 
A Consultation Paper was issued in June 2022. It outlined how the Government proposed to address these issues under the following headings:
  1. Extending the scope and intent of the Act to meet community expectations; 
  2. Enabling broader and more inclusive representation on the ALCT electoral roll; 
  3. Simplifying the process for land return by creating a new instrument of transfer for significant parcels of Crown land; 
  4. Expanding provisions for local or regional Aboriginal community organisations to play a role in land management; 
  5. Creating transparent processes and clear criteria for proposing and assessing land for return; and 
  6. Clarifying the role of the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania and require reporting of administrative and land management activity.
The consultation paper can be accessed here:


Note on privacy and copyright information

​In accord with government policy, with minor exceptions we publish all submissions made. Other than as indicated below, submissions are treated as public information and will be published on our website.

Important information to note
​Your name (or the name of the organisation) will be published unless you request otherwise. No personal information other than those names will be published.

If you would like your submission treated as confidential, whether in whole or in part, please indicate this at the time of making your submission, clearly identifying the parts of your submission you want to remain confidential and the reasons why. In this case, your submission will not be published to the extent of that request. 

In the absence of a clear indication that a submission (or parts of it) is intended to be treated as confidential, the Department will treat the submission as public.

Copyright in submissions remains with the author(s), not with the Tasmanian Government.

The Department will not publish, in whole or in part, submissions containing defamatory or offensive material. If your submission includes information that could enable the identification of other individuals, then either all or parts of the submission will not be published.

Right to information
Information provided is subject to the Right to Information Act 2009. If you have indicated that you wish for all or part of your submission to be treated as confidential, this will be taken into account by the Department in determining whether or not the information is exempt from disclosure in the event that it is subject to an application for assessed disclosure under the Right to Information Act. The Department may contact you during this process.


Contact

For further information on the review of the Aboriginal Lands Act please contact the Aboriginal Legislation Team at: AboriginalLandsAct@dpac.tas.gov.au​






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