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Wednesday, 10 May 1995
Page: 232


Mr TICKNER (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs) (6.07 p.m.) —I move:

  That the bill be now read a second time.

This bill reflects the continuing commitment of this government to securing legitimate title to traditional lands on behalf of the Aboriginal people of the Northern Territory. The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 provides a mechanism whereby traditional Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory referred to in schedule 1 of that act may be granted to Aboriginal land trusts to hold title on behalf of Aboriginal people. Since the act came into operation in 1977, a total of 59 separate parcels of land have been scheduled under the act.

  The effect of this bill would be to bring within the schedule to the land rights act that area of land which is the subject of the Western Desert repeat land claim. The Northern Territory government, the Central Land Council and claimants in the land claim have entered into an agreement which settles that land claim. As part of that agreement, the Northern Territory government agreed to request the Commonwealth to exercise its powers under the land rights act to grant the claim area, excluding the Tanami Road, to the traditional owners by scheduling that area under the land rights act.

  The result of such scheduling would be that no further hearing or report by the Aboriginal Land Commissioner would then be necessary in order for the Aboriginal people concerned to be able to have the full rights of enjoyment of their traditional lands in fee simple. The government has the assurance of all parties to the negotiations that representative views of all Aboriginal people concerned have been obtained and their wishes taken into account. There are no financial implications arising from this bill. I commend the bill to the House.