Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 8 October 1985
Page: 851


Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(10.29) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows-

This Bill is necessary to rectify a discrepancy in the boundaries of an area of Aboriginal land described in Schedule 1 of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act as `Petermann'.

The discrepancy, which was only recently drawn to this Government's attention, ccerns a small area of land on the eastern boundary of the Petermann land.

The area involved is a narrow strip of land about 9 kilometres long by some 220 metres wide with a total area of about 2 square kilometres.

In summary, the problem arose in this way. The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 included in Schedule 1 a description of the Petermann Aboriginal Reserve. In accordance with that Act, title to the land was granted to the Petermann Aboriginal Land Trust in 1978. The deed of grant described the land by reference to a Compiled Plan prepared on the basis of the description in Schedule 1 to the Act. A later deed of grant to that land, containing the same description, was registered by the Registrar-General of the Northern Territory and was deemed to have taken effect from September 1978.

Land adjoining and to the east of the Petermann land was vested in the Director of National Parks and Wildlife in 1977.

The Proclamation of the Uluru (Ayers Rock-Mount Olga) National Park contained a description of the boundaries of the land in the park. The recent amendment to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, which added a description of Uluru to Schedule 1 of the Act, followed the 1977 Proclamation description. That Proclamation encroached upon the Petermann land as described in Schedule 1 of the Act and the deeds of grant.

The misdescription can be traced back to 1958 when land which became the National Park was excised from the Petermann Aboriginal Reserve, and the revised reserve boundaries were separately described. As I have indicated, parts of the common boundaries were inconsistently described.

Mr President, this Bill will rectify the discrepancy and remove any possible confusion in respect of the description of the Petermann land.

The Bill will effect the change in two ways. First, it will make a minor variation to the description of the boundaries of land granted to the Petermann Aboriginal Land Trust, ensuring that the description of the land does not overlap with any part of the Uluru land.

Second, it will confirm the validity of the 1977 proclamation of the Uluru (Ayers Rock-Mount Olga) National Park, notwithstanding that the Proclamation included a description of land which included a small area of land described in the deed of grant to the Petermann Aboriginal Land Trust.

Mr President, there is Aboriginal support for this action. I understand that on 17 September this year the Director of Legal Services with the Central Land Council met with the relevant Aboriginals in Central Australia. Those people agreed to the action being taken in respect of the Petermann land.

The nett result of this legislation will not be to deprive Aboriginals of land. This Bill will merely ensure that the common boundaries of two adjacent blocks of Aboriginal land are correctly described and it is clear from what I have said that this is no more than a means of rectifying a minor technical irregularity in the description of the area of the Petermann Aboriginal Land Trust. I commend the Bill to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator Reid) adjourned.