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Wednesday, 1 December 1976

Mr BRYANT (Wills) -I move:

After clause 20, page 14, insert the following new clause: 20A.(l)Where-

(a)   no person (other than the Crown) has an estate or interest in an area of Crown land;

(b)   the Minister is satisfied that the land should be granted to an Aboriginal Council in the area of which the land is situated to be held and applied by the Council for a particular purpose or purposes, being a purpose or purposes within the scope of the functions of the Council; and

(c)   the Aboriginal Council agrees to hold and apply the land for that purpose or those purposes, the Minister may recommend to the Governor-General that a grant of an estate in fee simple, or some lesser estate, in the land be made to the Aboriginal Council.

(2)   Where a grant of land is made in accordance with a recommendation under sub-section (1), the Minister shall, by notice published in the Gazette, set out the purpose or purposes for which the land is to be held and applied and may, from time to time, with the consent of the Aboriginal Council, by notice published in the Gazette, vary or add to that purpose or those purposes.

(3)   Where a grant of land is made to an Aboriginal Council in accordance with a recommendation under sub-section ( 1 ), section 1 9 applies in relation to the Council in respect of that land as if the Council were a Land Trust

(4)   Where the Minister is satisfied that land granted to an Aboriginal Council in accordance with recommendation under sub-section ( 1 ) is not being applied in accordance with the statement of purpose or purposes published with respect to that land under sub-section (2), the Minister may recommend to the Governor-General that the grant of the land be revoked.

(5)   On the receipt of a recommendation under subsection (4), the Governor-General may revoke the grant of the land to which the recommendation relates and, upon publication in the Gazette of a notice of that revocation, that land shall revert to the Crown.

(6)   Where land reverts to the Crown under sub-section (5), compensation is payable by the Commonwealth to the owner of any estate or interest in the land granted by the Aboriginal Council and subsisting immediately before the reversion of the land to the Crown for the loss to that owner of that estate or interest, but compensation is not otherwise payable in respect of that reversion.

(7)   Where the grant revoked under sub-section (5) has been entered in the register kept under the law of the Northern Territory relating to the transfer of land, the RegistrarGeneral or other appropriate officer under that law shall, on the publication of notice of the revocation in the Gazette alter that register accordingly. '.

The object is to break out of the stranglehold that has been put on the legislation so far by the insistence upon traditional lands and to allow councils in other areas to have land allocated to them. So far as we are concerned it is important that the general principle of rights to land not be confined simply to those that happen to be reserves at this particular moment. I support the honourable member for Hughes (Mr Les Johnson) in his comments about this legislation. It is 12 years or 13 years since the argument first developed in this place. The key year was 1963. In 1967 the people of Australia said: 'Get on with it'. In 1972 they returned a government which launched this enterprise in this way. The legislation has been dithering around in the pigeonholes of the Government for months. Our committee met all Monday to examine these -

Mr Ruddock - Speak to the amendment.

Mr BRYANT - There is no point in speaking to anything much except to place on record one's despair at the way we are dealing with the legislation. The sub-committee of my Party which considers these matters met all day Monday. In this Parliament we cannot have that kind of time to deal with the whole legislation. I think it is important that councils be given more status under this legislation, so I put it to the Committee that we should agree to this amendment.

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