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Thursday, 1 June 2000
Page: 16798

Mr RUDDOCK (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation) (NaN:00:00) —I move:

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment Bill (No. 3) 1999 is to give effect to an agreement recently made between two Aboriginal land trusts and the Central Land Council. The agreement will enable the grant to those two Aboriginal land trusts of land on which there are several redundant roads over which the public has a right of way. The roads are on land that is contiguous to the lands owned by those two land trusts. The lands are included in schedule 1 of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (`the land rights act'). They were granted to the trusts under section 10 of the land rights act under the headings `Hermannsburg' and `Haasts Bluff' respectively.

As the land rights act currently stands, only land other than that described in schedule 1 can be granted to an Aboriginal land trust that holds contiguous land, when a previously existing right of way ceases to exist. A parallel section does not exist in case of schedule 1 land.

The bill gives effect to clauses 15 and 31 of the agreement, which commit the parties to the agreement to requesting the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs to amend the land rights act to correct this anomaly in respect of schedule 1 land. The amendment will have the effect of enhancing the efforts of the Northern Territory government and the land councils to achieve the resolution of land disputes by means of written agreement rather than prolonged and costly disputation.

This bill reflects the ongoing commitment by this government to assist in achieving negotiated outcomes in respect of the land rights act and to improving the act when and if required. 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 present the explanatory memorandum and commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Melham) adjourned.