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Aboriginal land claims, Northern Territory

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A number of applications by Aboriginals for land in town areas, particularly in Alice Springs, which had been submitted to the Interim Aboriginal Commissioner, Mr Justice Ward, are now being dealt with jointly by my Department and by the Department of the Northern Territory, the Minister

for Aboriginal Affairs, Mr Viner said today.

The applications were for camping areas for various groups of Aboriginals from surrounding areas who were living in or visiting Alice Springs and were not traditional claims, The Alice Springs applications were generally supported

by the Alice Springs Municipal Town Council and Mr Viner said that leases had already been granted, and several others should be progressively issued over the next few weeks. .. -·

Only two or three of these Alice Springs claims presented any difficulty and the hearings already completed by Mr Justice Ward would assist in the speedy resolution of the problems. .

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Hearings of claims to Aboriginal traditional land in the Territory would be suspended until the Aboriginal Land Rights legislation was passed and an Aboriginal Land Commissioner appointed under the legislation to hear claims.

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M r Viner said that he had recently informed Mr Justice Ward of·this but that the Interim Commissioner would be continuing his work of completing recommendations on several matters already heard. . . .

The Minister said he would like to make it clear that .

the Government would not proceed to release unalienated Crown land in the N.T. that was subject to any known traditional claim by Aboriginals. In effect this meant that the expiry of the freeze applied by the previous Government on the release of unalienated Crown Land would not be detrimental

to Aboriginal claims. The question of the Aboriginal traditional land claim to an area would be considered by the Land Commissioner prior to any further deliberations on the use of the Crown land in question. . 'ΐχί,,,, ' · .

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Canberra '

8 August 1976