The Aboriginal Land Rights Act

The Wagonga Local Aboriginal Land Council (WLALC) is bound by the key legislative requirements which determine the objects and functions of a Local Aboriginal Land Council as contained in the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW) (the Act).

The WLALC is an incorporated body constituted under the Act. The Act states that the objects of each Local Aboriginal Land Council are to “improve, protect and foster the best interests of all Aboriginal persons within the Council’s area and other persons who are members of the Council”.

The functions of the Land Council include:

  • Make claims on vacant crown land;
  • Acquire land and to use, manage, control, hold or dispose of, or otherwise deal with, land vested in or acquired by the Council;
  • Protect the interests of Aboriginal persons in its area in relation to the acquisition, management, use, control and disposal of land;
  • Take action to protect the culture and heritage of Aboriginal persons in the Council’s area, subject to any other law;
  • Promote awareness in the community of the culture and heritage of Aboriginal persons in the Council’s area;
  • Prepare and implement, in accordance with the Act, a Community, Land and Business Plan (CLBP);
  • Manage, in accordance with the Act and consistently with its CLBP, the investment of any assets of the Council;
  • Facilitate business enterprise in accordance with the Act, and the regulations, and consistently with the community, land and business plan;
  • Directly, or indirectly, provide community benefits under the community benefits scheme;
  • Provide, acquire, upgrade or extend residential accommodation for Aboriginal persons within its area;
  • Establish or participate in the establishment of, a trust for the purpose of providing a community benefits scheme.

The activities of WLALC are also subject to a range of other legislation. Acts that also relate to the day-to-day operations and functions of WLALC include:

Residential Tenancies Act 1987 (NSW)

Establishes rights and obligations of landlords and tenants.
Governs LALC rental housing operations.
The Act is administered by the NSW Department of Commerce and Office of Fair Trading.

Aboriginal Housing Act 1998 (NSW)

Provides a framework for the supply of housing to Aboriginal people in NSW.
The Act is administered by the Aboriginal Housing Office which is responsible to the NSW Minister for Housing.


Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)

Requires equality of opportunity, particularly in employment, irrespective of race, religion, sex, marital status, etc.
Certain exemptions are available to LALC where Aboriginality is a reasonable condition of employment.
The Act is administered by the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board.

Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW)


Establishes framework under which land is managed and used in NSW.  Sets out framework of planning instruments used by the State/Local Govts including:

• State Environmental Planning Policies;
• Regional Environmental Plans;
• Local Environment Plans; and,
• Development Control Plans.

Each of these items (plus rules established by Govt agencies) must be complied with if LALC want to use land granted or acquired.  This could be establishing a business, developing or selling land or reserving land for cultural purposes.  The Act is administered by the NSW Department of Planning. 

Local Government Act 1993 (NSW)


Establishes the role, functions and constraints on Local Govt in NSW. Impacts the LALC in terms of payment of rates, provision of services (parks, library, child care facilities) and approving applications for land development.
The Act is administered by the NSW Department of Local Government.

National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW)


Establishment, preservation and management of national parks, historic sites and certain other areas to assist in the protection of certain fauna, native plants and Aboriginal objects.

Key impact for WLALC is the provisions relating to identifying, assessing and managing areas of Aboriginal cultural heritage. This Act sets rules under which LALC undertakes site inspections and prepares reports recommending preservation or consent to destroy.

Part 4A provides for the transfer to LALCs of lands which are of cultural significance to Aboriginal people, and provides a framework for co-management of lands through ILUAs, lease back schemes or other agreements.

The Act is administered by Department of Environment and Climate Change. 

Commonwealth and State Taxation Legislation- Land Tax Management Act 1956 (NSW) Duties Act 1997 (NSW) Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 (Cwlth) Fair Work Act WHS Act 2011


LALC is exempt from a range of State and Commonwealth taxes and charges, including:

  • Stamp duty and vendors duty on property transactions (automatic);
  • Land tax (automatic);
  • Income tax (application to the Australian Tax Office required); and
  • Fringe benefit tax (application to the Australian Tax Office recommended).

NSW Acts are administered by the Office of State Revenue 

Commonwealth Acts are administered by Commissioner of Taxation,