Amending the Aboriginal Lands Act

​​​​​​​​​​​​​Update and next steps 

The Government issued two consultation papers in 2022, seeking feedback to inform the drafting of amendments to the Aboriginal Lands Act 1995 (the Act). 

The next step will be the release of a draft of the amending legislation, in mid-2023, to gain further comments and suggestions on the details.

After analysing this feedback, and further discussions with relevant people and organisations as appropriate, the intention is to finalise the Bill for introduction to Parliament later in 2023. 

Background, and previous consultation

Consultation papers released in 2022 

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 Act. Those proposals were informed by previous and ongoing consultations (see below), and long consideration of the issues.

The consultation paper can be accessed here:

The submissions received in response to the June 2022 consultation paper are now available on the submissions 2022 page. 

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 on the role of the Tasmanian Electoral Commissioner.

To help clarify the options, in December 2022 the Government released a further consultation paper. It focussed on presenting a refined position on how new arrangements for ALCT election processes would operate.

The consultation paper can be accessed here:

The submissions received in response to the December 2022 consultation paper are now available on the submissions 2023 page.

Earlier consultation 

The passing of the Aboriginal Lands 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 agenda. However, a review highlighted areas where the Act could be improved.
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.

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.


For further information on the review of the Aboriginal Lands Act please contact the Aboriginal Legislation Team at:​

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