The need for clear information for NSW Land Rights and Native Title Claims

A recent news report [1] highlighted the potential for conflict and administration work in NSW indigenous land areas.  The work required is to determine the extent of overlap between native title claims and historical dispossession in NSW indigenous land areas, the latter being a possible basis for compensation.

The Land Rights regime created by the NSW Wran government did not anticipate the compensation claims.   If the native title claims were able to be considered at the time of creation of broader land titles, and integrated within them, it would make the extinguishment point moot.

The Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALRA) was introduced to compensate Aboriginal people in NSW for dispossession of their land. The systems reflect different attitudes to land too: native title is not based on European ideas of control, transfer, economics.   It is based on assumptions about continuity.

The existence of Land Rights now represents a basis for economic payouts for loss[2]. However, native title is a concept based on the assumption of continuity of relation to land, not dispossession per se.

There are tens of thousands of native title claims being processed and hundreds of LALC’s.  The reconciliation of the LALC land boundaries[3] and native title areas is a big data job, most likely requiring people with local knowledge teaming up with people skilled in data processing and land or geographic information systems.

1. ABC 16 November 2018 URL Link
2. LALC regime.  URL Link
3. LALC boundaries URL Link.

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