What are Land Rights?

Land rights refers to the ongoing struggle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to gain legal recognition of ownership of land and waters.

The Aboriginal Land Rights Act


The Aboriginal Land Rights Act (ALRA) was passed in 1983 to repeal the Aborigines Act 1969 and make provisions with respect to the land rights of Aboriginal persons.

It states:
1. Land in the State of New South Wales was traditionally owned and occupied by Aborigines.
2. Land is of spiritual, social, cultural and economic importance to Aborigines.
3. It is fitting to acknowledge the importance which land has for Aborigines and the need of Aborigines for land.
4. It is accepted that as a result of past Government decisions the amount of land set aside for Aboriginals has been progressively reduced without compensation


The purpose of the act is:
a) to provide land rights for Aboriginal persons in New South Wales,
b) to provide for representative Aboriginal Land Councils in New South Wales,
c) to vest land in those Councils,
d) to provide for the acquisition of land, and the management of land and other assets and investments, by or for those Councils and the allocation of funds to and by those Councils,
e) to provide for the provision of community benefit schemes by or on behalf of those Councils.