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Land rights: decade of achievement



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MINISTER FOR ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS Senator the Hon. Peter Baume &

LAND RIGHTS: DECADE OF ACHIEVEMENT EMBARGO 2PM

"The gaining of land by Aboriginals over the past ten years is one of the greatest achievements of Australia as a civilised society" the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Senator Peter Baume told a conference on "Aboriginals Human Rights and

the Law" in Sydney today.

"Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders representing 1.270 of the population now hold 9.671 , of the land area of Australia. They hold some 738,032 sq kms - more than half of it inalienable freehold. This has been achieved since 1976."

"Sixty properties have now been bought in the open market first, by the Aboriginal Land Funds Commission and then by the Aboriginal Development Commission - both unique bodies set up by the Government to buy land for Aboriginals."

"State Governments are now examining their own arrangements in consultation with Aboriginals. This didn't happen ten years _ Λ ! I .

ago.

In relation to the current events in Queensland, Senator Baume said that the Government has already said that it would wish to see the following four principles satisfied.

. The integrity of the present reserve boundaries be maintained.

. Secure tenure for occupants and preservation of their rights to use the land.

. Local communities to play a significant role in the management of reserves.

. Full consultation with Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders before any decision is made.

"We have seen significant advances where State Governments have been an encouraged to act independently ... For example the passing of the Pitjant jatjara Land Rights Act in South Australia and smaller but no less important steps that ha.ve been taken by

the Victorian and Tasmanian Governments."

CANBERRA, A.C.T. ^2 October 1981 B56/81

Press contact: Mary Fisher (02) 2393160 3573851 (062) 731718