NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Aboriginal land use planning

Working with Local Aboriginal Land Councils to unlock the economic potential of Aboriginal community owned land.

The department is working with Local Aboriginal Land Councils to unlock the economic potential of Aboriginal community owned land and deliver better outcomes for Aboriginal people across NSW.

Local Aboriginal Land Councils

The Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALR Act) was passed by the NSW Parliament to facilitate the return of land in NSW to Aboriginal people through claims over Crown land. The NSW Aboriginal Land Council and a network of 120 Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) were established to acquire and manage land as an economic base for Aboriginal people, as compensation for historic dispossession and in recognition of their ongoing disadvantage.

The objects of each LALC are to improve, protect and foster the best interests of all Aboriginal persons within their area and their members. Aboriginal people’s interest in land is multifaceted and includes the use and management of land for culture and heritage purposes as well as providing social economic development opportunities for Aboriginal people.

The NSW Government has recognised that LALCs have faced barriers in converting successfully claimed land into economic development opportunities, that will benefit local Aboriginal communities. LALCs are a unique and significant landowner and are more than just a cultural advisor and custodian of environmental lands.

The department has developed a number of services and initiatives to help LALCs secure more suitable uses of their land to support Aboriginal people across NSW.

Heritage-protected indigenous fish traps on the Barwon River. Brewarrina, NSW.

A framework of planning measures to help Local Aboriginal Land Councils unlock the economic potential of landholdings.

aboriginal names tile 430x278

Since June 2001, the government has supported a dual naming policy for geographical features and cultural sites. The policy aims to give prominence to Aboriginal place names alongside European counterparts.

Aerial view of beach and coastal land

In February 2019, the NSW Government released the Darkinjung Delivery Framework, a set of pioneering planning measures to assist Darkinjung better utilise their land.

Dirt road through farmland in Glen Innes

The project looks at improving infrastructure and services for discrete Aboriginal communities across NSW.