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Political history of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Rights Act, 1983

Funding: 2010: $37,292
2011: $32,972
2012: $32,972

Project Member(s): Norman, H., Collins, J., Goodall, H.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Australian Research Council (ARC Discovery Indigenous Researchers Development)

Start year: 2010

Summary: The story of the ALRA that established the land councils, made provisions for land recovery and enterprises and reshaped Aboriginal people's relationship with the state has not been told. The ALRA initiated a new policy era of self-determination through the three-tier ALC network, mechanism for land recovery and 15 year compensation fund to support the network and develop enterprises. Under very difficult circumstances, Aboriginal Land Councils have become significant land holders - 81367 hectares valued at over $2 billion and investment. The story of the ALRA is one of tenacious engagement with the state and one of tradition and change that has not been documented.


Collins, J, Morrison, M, Krivokapic-Skoko, B, Butler, R & Basu, PK 2016, 'Indigenous small businesses in the Australian Indigenous economy' in Sanders, W (ed), Engaging Indigenous Economy, The Australian National University, Australia, pp. 265-274.

Norman, HR 2015, ‘What do we want?’: A political history of Aboriginal land rights in New South Wales., Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, ACT.

Keywords: Aboriginal Land Rights, Aboriginal public policy, Aboriginal economic development, land management, NSW economy

FOR Codes: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Development and Welfare