The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, the Hon Jay Weatherill MP is currently reviewing the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act 1996. The deadline for written submissions in relation to the review is 27 March, 2009.

Discussion Paper dated November 2008 was found posted on the LGA website dated December 18, 2008 , receive via google alert by a reader a few days ago.  It has been placed here by request,  suggesting that in light of transparency being encouraged, that public comment should be appropriate with the subject matter being of interest to all South Australians, Towns and Communities and their residents.

A corresponding map of Aboriginal Australia has been requested. Whilst we cannot guarantee the acuracy of any modern day map this particular map appears to be largely referred to on public domains including South Australian Government websites.

Link to a map provided here:
Magnification will highlight towns within borders of aboriginal boundaries.

It is noted that there is also a Review of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988 which may be viewed here:

Minister’s Foreword
In 1966 the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act (the ALT Act) established the Aboriginal Lands Trust (ALT) for the purpose of holding land in trust for the benefit of the Aboriginal people of South Australia. That guiding principle remains as relevant today as forty years ago.

This Government is committed to retaining Aboriginal land rights. We recognise there have been significant changes to both the scope and diversity of Aboriginal land ownership and the rights and responsibilities of all land owners since the ALT Act was introduced. In addition, Aboriginal community organisations are now facing much higher expectations from their own members and from government for accountability, stability and good administrative practice. Community organisations that hold leases
from the ALT are no exception.

The South Australian Strategic Plan recognises that land and cultural heritage are assets that can be used to achieve improved Aboriginal wellbeing. As a first step in responding to this priority it is important to ensure that the legislative framework for management of the ALT estate is one that enables rather than impedes Aboriginal prosperity.

Given the close connection between the well-being of people living in communities on ALT land, or connected to ALT land, and the proper management of that land, the Review will involve consideration of a legislative framework that supports appropriate governance processes for those communities.

Further, in many cases, there are multiple providers of services to these relatively small communities. This has led to duplication of basic administrative structures, has made coordination and planning unnecessarily complex, and has at times also caused, or exacerbated, community divisions.

Therefore the Review will also focus upon governance processes that support greater accountability, wider regional involvement, better co-ordinated and more efficient management structures, and stronger communities.

In addition, the Review will ensure that certainty of aboriginal ownership of the ALT estate, and of decision-making in respect of the land in that estate, are maintained.

The review is underpinned by the following Guiding Principles:
• Effective and accountable governance of Aboriginal communities that reside on ALT land, or are connected to that land.
• Protection of Aboriginal ownership of the ALT estate;
• Certainty of control for groups which use and occupy the ALT estate;
• Decision-making based on known and understood policies for land allocation and leasing/ licensing;
• Clear, simple and accountable administration and management of the ALT estate.

This Discussion paper is divided into three parts:
1. Key Issues
1.1.Governance and regionalisation
1.2.Objects of the Act
1.3.The membership and role of the Board;
1.4.The role of the Minister
1.5.Business development processes and structures;
1.6.Community benefits
1.7.Sale or transfer of land
2. Statutory action required to regularise past dealings
2.2.Rectification of past dealings;
2.3.Reinstatement of leases.
3. Technical amendments to improve the effectiveness of the administration of the ALT estate
3.2.Declaration and Regulation of Dry Zones
3.3.Use of Standard Documents
3.4.Reporting and Financial Arrangements

A Reference Group will be established to report to me about the consultations and proposals for reform.

I am committed to consulting widely and at the important stages of the review process. Initially, a series of local and regional meetings are planned for the next few months to discuss the ideas contained in this Discussion Paper. I welcome your comments.

Hon Jay Weatherill
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation
November 2008

1. Key Issues
1.1. Governance and regionalisation
The ALT was established to provide certainty to those Aboriginal groups residing on former reserves and missions that they could continue to occupy the land without the threat of eviction. The models of governance that evolved for these communities tended to be based, amongst other things, on the residential status of those living on the ALT land and the needs of government funding bodies.

Over time, many individuals and families who continue to have association with these communities have moved off ALT land. This mobility has generally restricted formal participation in the management of the former residential lands.

At the same time the creation of Aboriginal organisations to deliver social and essential services to Aboriginal communities added another layer of governance. These community based organisations have tended to structure themselves in ways required by funding bodies – usually by incorporating under the Associations Incorporation Act 1985 (SA) or the (now repealed) Aboriginal Councils and Associations Act 1976 (Cth).

In many cases there has been a proliferation of community based services to communities with limited means to co-ordinate planning or service delivery. Key community members often sit on multiple boards, creating a burden no other community is expected to shoulder, and contributing to the burn out of Aboriginal leaders. The creation of multiple community boards servicing the same small communities often duplicates basic administrative structures and has at times also caused, or exacerbated,
community divisions.

Additionally, The Native Title Act 1993 (the NTA) operates to potentially recognise rights and interests in ALT land being held by people other than those that reside on the land.

There is no forum for these groups to come together and have their separate interests accommodated in the governing bodies of residential communities.

For all of these reasons, the governance of ALT land poses unique challenges for residential communities and for Aboriginal South Australians generally.

The ALT Act says very little about how residential ALT communities are governed. The Associations Incorporation Act 1985 (SA) and the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Commonwealth) (CATSI Act) provide the regulatory framework for the structure, processes, and accountability requirements of Aboriginal organisations, such as residential community Councils and service provider organisations.

Residential communities are progressively moving to adopt new constitutions under the CATSI Act. The State Government and the Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporations (ORATSIC) are providing essential support to assist communities in the transition to these new rules of governance, with a view to improving capacity, authority and accountability.

It is now timely to build on this work to establish a legislative framework for Aboriginal governance, not only for ALT residential communities but more broadly, that will lead to greater accountability, wider regional involvement, stronger communities and provide better co-ordinated and more efficient management structures.

Standards for governance could cover such matters as:
• guidance on minimum rules, membership and clear definitions of the powers of governing bodies and its membership
• rules regarding gender balance, family group representation, and staggered terms of appointment
• minimum standards for financial accountability and corporate and other regulatory compliance
• mechanisms for dealing with the resolution of disputes, including participating in or sponsoring mediation.

Communities will be asked to consider the benefits of regional authorities providing an administrative centre to which community councils, land holding bodies, service providers, heritage associations and other community based groups might affiliate. As part of this discussion, attention could focus on whether employees of such regional authorities should be public servants who would be operationally responsible to the Aboriginal controlled authority. The benefits of separate legislation can also be canvassed as part of this discussion.

1.2. Objects of the Act
The current Act does not have objects. There is no section that states the purpose of the Act or the outcomes expected from it. Nor is there a section that defines the functions and obligations of the ALT Board, the Minister, ALT residential communities, people and organisations that lease ALT land.

The ALT Act does not specify for whose benefit the ALT holds land. In considering whether he should consent to dealings in ALT land the Minister is obliged to assess whether the dealing will preserve the benefits and value of the land to the Aboriginal people of South Australia. On the other hand, the ALT is not specifically obliged to consider those dealings in the same way.

In order to clarify the role of the ALT, objects might be considered in the new Act to:
• confirm the principle of inalienable title (with provision for Aboriginal freeholding in certain circumstances and subject to protections);
• state that title is held in trust for the benefit of all Aboriginal South Australians;
• acknowledge native title rights and interests;
• establish that the primary purpose of the ALT is the efficient management and administration of its freehold estate including the setting of relevant policy; and
• ensure that the forms of governance within organisations holding, managing and using ALT land are appropriate to ensure proper management of the land.

1.3. The membership and role of the Board
The mimimum requirement for proper constitution of the membership of the ALT Board is the appointment by the Governor of a Chair and two other members. Provision is made in the ALT Act for the appointment of additional members who were originally, and have continued to be, appointed by the Governor from nominations from the major ALT residential communities.

Since 1966, new laws and regulations have been progressively introduced that have made managing land a very complex task that requires a wide range of skills. Such skills include legal, financial, safety, property management, environmental and agricultural.

A ‘representative’ approach does not necessarily provide the Board with the skills and experience now required to manage a diverse property portfolio, nor does it currently provide representation for all ALT tenants. In addition, the current approach does not necessarily provide a voice for Aboriginal people who have an interest in the land but do not live in an ALT community.

Matters that need to be considered in relation to role and function of the Board are:
• What mix of skills, experience and qualifications should members of the Board have, and what balance is required?
• Should membership of the Board be limited to representatives from ALT
residential communities?
• How can Aboriginal people be assisted to develop the range of skills and
experiences required for membership of a Board with complex duties?

1.4. The role of the Minister
The ALT Act does not clearly define the relationship between the Minister and the ALT.  The primary statutory responsibility of the Minister is to consent (or withhold consent) to some dealings entered into by the ALT and its tenants; the purpose of ministerial consent to dealings is to ensure that the proposed dealing preserves the value and benefit of the land to Aboriginal South Australians.

The Minister currently has no authority to delegate or exempt transactions from statutory approval requirements. Nor is there any authority to enable the Minister to direct the Board.

The scope of development on ALT land has increased since 1966. There is now a greater range of transactions, such as residential tenancies, leases and licences to service provider organisations, and short-term licences for commercial operators that need to be protected by formal agreements. Ministerial consent to all dealings is a cumbersome process that hinders efficient property administration – and possibly imposes an unnecessary level of control.

The objective of ministerial consent to dealings should be to safeguard the ALT estate and to ensure that dealings are fair and transparent. The processes required for high volume low risk dealings such as residential tenancies and short term agreements with service provider organisations, for example, should be different to those for significant transactions such as long-term agreements with commercial operators or financial ventures which use the ALT land as an asset for development (i.e., require ALT land to be mortgaged).

The consent provisions will be reviewed to ascertain whether the Minister should be able to delegate or exempt certain transactions from Ministerial consent.

The review will consider whether the Minister should have a reserve power to provide directions to the Board in circumstances where the Board has refused or failed to exercise its responsibilities. Conditions, such as public reporting, would be required on the exercise of that reserve power.

1.5. Business development processes and structures
The ALT Act was amended in 1991 to establish a Business Advisory Panel (section
20A). The functions of the Panel are to advise and assist Aboriginal communities and residents of ALT land in the establishment of business or community enterprises and the development of relevant skills. The Panel consists of seven (7) members:
• the Chair of the Trust;
• the CEO of the Department of Technical and Further Education (now DFEEST);
• five (5) members with relevant knowledge and experience appointed by the

Governor on the nomination of the Minister.

The Minister is required to consult with the Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee before putting forward his nominations.

There have been significant changes to policy and legislation since this amendment was inserted.

The Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) was established in 1994 to assist Aboriginal people to acquire and to manage land. Since that time, the ILC has provided funding to Aboriginal land holders (including the ALT) to assist in the management of land.

Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) was established to provide economic and business development assistance to Aboriginal organisations. Regional Economic Development Boards have also been established by the South Australian Government to facilitate business development in the regions through mentoring, technical support and advocacy.

In addition, the right to negotiate and Indigenous Land Use Agreement provisions of the Native Title Act1993 have provided the opportunity and income to native title groups to establish business ventures. For example, the Congress of Native Title Management Committees of South Australia Inc (Congress) has recently incorporated an organisation called the Aboriginal Foundation of South Australia Incorporated (the Foundation). The objective of the Foundation is to provide mentoring, technical and financial support to Aboriginal groups wishing to undertake economic and enterprise development.

The review will examine whether the current processes and structures relating to business development are appropriate and sufficient to facilitate both a return to the ALT as property owner and more broadly, economic development that will benefit Aboriginal South Australians.

1.6. Community benefits
The ALT estate was intended to be for the benefit of all Aboriginal South Australians. In practice, this has meant that the communities that have an historic association with land have the opportunity to benefit from the use of that land, including any income that may be derived from commercial ventures. This does not necessarily provide any benefit for the wider Aboriginal community that is not directly associated with the residential lands.

There is need for an accountable mechanism for collecting and holding income derived from use of the lands held in trust for all Aboriginal South Australians. This income may be derived from market rents for commercial ventures, income from sale of lands (where that has been appropriately agreed), equivalents of mining royalties for operations on ALT lands and other forms of grant or revenue. Income and costs associated with the administration of the ALT property estate (including operational grants) would remain separate.

The review will examine whether a Fund should be established. The scope and purpose of the Fund would be described in legislation as a guide for allocation of money from that Fund. For example, monies from the fund could be applied to the establishment of regional authorities, enterprise development, land management projects, training and education, cultural heritage management plans and leadership training.

Where land has been sold, or an easement granted, or a commercial dealing executed with a third party, the net income derived from that dealing would be paid into the Fund.

In the case of third party commercial arrangements the payment would be in the nature of a market rent contribution for the use of the land. Provision could also be made for Parliamentary appropriation to this Fund.

These provisions would operate in the place of the existing provision for the Board to grant technical or financial assistance, subject to Ministerial consent.

1.7. Sale or transfer of land
Inalienable freehold title for Aboriginal landholdings was a key principle of the 1966 Act and remains a fundamental principle today. It is important to ensure protection of title for those Aboriginal community lands where there are historic as well as traditional ties to the land.

The ALT estate has now become much more diverse and it includes titles where the costs of maintenance and rehabilitation of buildings outweigh any income received through rent or funding. At the same time, the needs of Aboriginal communities have changed, particularly in their desire for more autonomy of management for the lands that provide both residential and economic opportunities.

The review will examine a range of process and structures to provide greater flexibility in the interests in land that can be granted by the ALT to Aboriginal people. Processes and structures could include:

• processes for the transfer of an ALT freehold title (residential lands) to an
Aboriginal regional or community organisation;
• processes to transfer land to Aboriginal organisations for various business
purposes; and
• criteria such as financial security; organisational stability and forms of governance and structure which meet modern standards for accountability as pre-requisites for the transfer of freehold title or a long-term lease;
In the case of non-residential land, the review will consider whether it is in the interests of Aboriginal people as a whole to enable the ALT to sell land outside of the Aboriginal estate. Conditions that would need to be met before such a decision could be made might include:
• statutory processes which are consistent with requirements for disposal of Crown land, including the requirements regarding native title;
• fair and transparent processes for consultation prior to any decision being made;
• requirement for Ministerial or Parliamentary approval where land is to be
permanently alienated from the ALT estate;
• requirements that properties be sold only for market value; and
• income from land sales being used to secure benefits for the wider Aboriginal community and to resolve any native title matters.

The review consider whether the easements or rights of way (which amount to a permanent alienation) could be created without a need for Parliamentary approval as a practical measure to safeguard investment in public infrastructure and utilities.

2. Statutory action required to regularise past dealings
2.1. Rectification of past dealings
The principle of inalienable freehold title was given effect through a provision that requires the Aboriginal Lands Trust to gain the approval of both Houses of Parliament before the sale or transfer of land.

This mechanism was seen as a means of ensuring that land was not sold. It has proven to be a benefit in protecting the underlying Aboriginal property interest where Community assets have been subject to claim through liquidation of their governing bodies. However the provision has inadvertently precluded effective property administration and protection of assets through easements or boundary realignments.

Technical breaches of the Act have occurred through administrative oversight. The review process will consider what form of Parliamentary approval is required to regularise these past actions.

2.2. Reinstatement of leases
It is essential that Aboriginal communities resident on ALT titles have certainty about their rights of use and occupation. Statutory intervention is necessary to ensure that communities are not disadvantaged by past decisions that may have inadvertently led to their leases being void.

Agreements for any property dealing should be properly documented and should appropriately record the obligations and responsibilities of the parties. It is also important to ensure that all dealings in the land – whether between landlord and lessee or between lessee and a third party – are established in a way which ensures ongoing benefit to the wider Aboriginal community. This benefit needs to be quantifiable and capable of assessment.

It is proposed to legislate to reinstate the existing head leases through a process of statutory annulment and reissue. The new leases will incorporate the standard terms and conditions that are appropriate to the type of land use and occupation; previous sections of this Discussion Paper have outlined proposals for standardising terms and documentation.

A consequence of this action would be the nullification of previous third party agreements. It is proposed that the legislation provide a period of time for a review and agreement process to enable third party interests to be reinstated under terms that protect the interests of the land owner, the head lessee and the wider Aboriginal community.

3. Technical amendments to improve the effectiveness of the
administration of the ALT estate
3.1. Declaration and Regulation of Dry Zones
Aboriginal communities across Australia have been discussing the effect of alcohol on their communities and have decided as a community to be ‘dry’. ALT residential communities are no exception.

There is currently provision for the whole or part of an ALT title to be declared as a public place for the purposes of establishing a Dry Zone. Dry Zones have been established following requests from Yalata and Umoona communities and are under consideration by other Communities.

The formal declaration of a Dry Zone is important for ensuring effective implementation and enforcement.

It is proposed to provide statutory certainty that the Dry Zone regulations apply to all ALT titles, irrespective of how those titles were brought into the ALT property estate.

There would also be provision for the Dry Zone to be applied to roads and other land lying within an ALT title but not under the ownership and control of the ALT, provided there is written agreement from the relevant land-owners.

Amendments will be made to the evidentiary provisions to further facilitate effective policing. In line with the principle of increasing autonomy of management it is proposed that Aboriginal Communities would no longer require Board approval for the declaration of a Dry Zone.

3.2. Use of Standard Documents
The current Act does not specify conditions of property agreements. Existing agreements vary widely in relation to matters such as occupier responsibility, liability and permitted use. Although leases and other dealings (such as easements) can be registered under the Real Property Act, there is no process to alert interested parties to the possible restrictions arising from the requirements of the ALT Act.

Documentation and registration of the terms and conditions of agreements provides protection to both the property owner and the tenant. However many Aboriginal organisations do not have the resources to seek appropriate legal advice. It is important that the Aboriginal organisations entering into agreements do so with knowledge and understanding of what the agreements mean in terms of  ‘what can be done, what must be done and what may not ever be done’. It is also important that the terms of an agreement are appropriate to the use, whether this is residential, farming, commercial or any other activity.

The review will consider whether essential terms and conditions could be outlined in legislation, for example, term, fee or rent, permitted use, lessee obligations, risk and liability and insurance and waiver and damage, and to address issues related to:

• protection of property and associated fixed assets in circumstances where a tenant, such as an Aboriginal Community Council (or its business subsidiary) is liquidated or subject to administration – similar provisions would apply to subsidiary tenancies;
• authority to regulate the form of agreements and subsidiary agreements for tenancy, use and occupation such as grazing, service delivery and administration;
• authority for the Registrar-General to make a note on ALT titles to alert all parties to potential restrictions arising from the operation of the ALT Act, and whether the Registrar-General should be authorised to note lesser interests on the title (such as tenancies and licences) even if these would not otherwise be capable of registration.

3.3. Reporting and Financial Arrangements
As an instrumentality of the Crown the ALT is not required to pay certain rates and charges such as local government rates on land held for non-residential purposes. The ALT is, however, required to pay land tax and emergency services levies as a single landholder.

The question of rating and taxing will be considered during the review in the context of assessing whether the ALT should generally remain exempt from rating and taxing.

The review will also provide an opportunity to assess the extent to which any such charges should be able to be passed on to lessees and/ or sublessees, particularly where a commercial lessee is receiving a financial benefit that is not otherwise available to its competitors.

Have your say about the future of the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act 1966
Contact the Review Team at:
Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Division
Department of the Premier and Cabinet
Level 13
State Administration Centre
200 Tarndanyangga (Victoria Square)
Telephone: 08 – 8226 8900
Fax: 08 – 8226 8999
Log on to the website at
• Read the latest news
• Make a submission
• Find information about the current ALT Act and how things might change

• Find out when the review team will be holding consultation meetings in your area


6 replies »

  1. Whether he will or whether he wont, that is not the question.

    The old addage of politics that you never ask a question you dont already know the answer to.

    Let’s look at this christmas break announcement in the context of:
    1/ The history of the Land Rights Act and the purpose behind the Native Title Act, the repercussions of it in relation to hierarchial response and division in what was previously nation based and tribal culture and living in harmony with the land for its longer term sustainability.

    2/ The NT intervention of the Howard and Rudd years and the introduction of terror and justified presence of the military under the guise of a national response to child abuse propaganda – if whitefella had his act together you could maybe buy it, but it’s a strategic military and commercial corridor to the north ala the Freight Corp/Haliburton processing, combined with the global nuclear waste issue which appears as a sales item thrown in to the indigenous issues. The application of similar such tactic in SA whereby Mintabie miners were suddenly caste into dispersion, as oil and mineral mining interests sought to make friends within the ranks of the local native title claimant groups.

    3/ The appalling industry which has thrived to divide and smother with guilt grog money, those that survived the massacres and the missions subject now to the tactics of the PR agents from government and private interests, each offering crumbs to those that would come forward in defiance of their original lore and the object of being guardian to the land. Money as a weapon in the mission to divide and caste asunder the small but grumbling barrier between signatures and the enormous mining gains.

    I would say the Ministers discretion in the management of said issues to date appears in strong favour as expected of late the explorers vision and all else, aimed at settling the score by arranging and de-ranging the day to day politics of aboriginal towns and small communities. I would say in response to recent stories and the Mintabies efforts and courage to protect their interests and their names, this may be a folly in the medium to short run.

    What is required is fresh leadership and probing of federal and state governments on the long term plan and closer examination of the economics underpinning the current mining boom..precious water down the drain and waste radiation in the air for generations to come. Will this spell the end of the corporations who have poisoned the lands when the real story behind the secret of most secret industries is revealed and the public begin demanding protection of the water and the land.

    One can only hope so and that people speak out on behalf of themselves, the planet and the alienated and divided people with heritage or original connection to these fragile ancient lands.

    Watch the David Bradbury film ‘Hard Rain’ and ask why Australia and the world is being exposed to this risk and why the media is citing climate change as a foundation for destroying the land and poisoning the people who depend upon it.

    This review like the current unchecked mining policy is a farce and I hope the public make the authors and architects aware of such that we deserve better in the management of water, resources and the land.


    Editor, on behalf of Indigenous: You seem to have left off the introduction “in a nutshell”. Hard to believe it comes from the pen of the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation.

    The minister says here: “Australia’s oldest land rights legislation will be reviewed to ensure Aboriginal people are benefiting from changes to the way their land is managed.

    The Land Rights Trust Act was established in South Australia 42 years ago, the first legislation of its kind in Australia.

    SA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jay Weatherill says the Act covers 500,000 hectares of land, but has not been keeping pace with the aspirations of people who live in the region.

    “There’s a lot of economic activity that’s occurring on the land already but not a lot of it is finding its way back into the hands of Aboriginal people,” he said.

    “We want Aboriginal people to be getting the jobs that are generated through the use of this land.”

    Mr Weatherill says much has changed over more than four decades.

    “Since that time we’ve had many Aboriginal people move off those missions and living in urban areas or in the regional areas and our structures really haven’t kept pace with that,” he said.

    “We’re looking at regional bodies, we’re looking at more effective land management techniques to get the most out of this land for the benefit of South Australians.” Ends

    Response from Indigenous: “Where we move to, is none of his business, neither are the things he thinks he is looking at. We’ve never heard of a Land Act or this person speaking about our business. Who wants all these things for us and why?

    As for the people we tolerate living in our regions, we are curious about what he is saying they now need.

    Could this person be a little clearer? The long row of writing he presents is not written in a language those he may be addressing can understand. Who is he saying thinks they manage our land? Who is this writing addressed to?”

    on behalf of “Indigenous”

  3. It is standard fare to see that Mr Weatherill, the SA governments’ minister against the aboriginal people, is trying to lay claim to a right to determine who speaks for country in lands which neither he nor his government has an interest in – politically, legally nor morally.

    It is about time these arrogant British representatives woke up to the fact that their game is exposed and apparently only they have any respect for their snide, underhanded thieving practices.

    Neither Mr Wetherill nor any other member of his so called “government” have the right to determine for Origine peoples who will speak for OUR lands.

    A simple legal FACT they REFUSE to deal with HONOURABLY – Is the word “honour” too hard to handle?

    Is money really so important to these people that they can’t even COMPREHEND the simple truth?

    I warn these people to be prepared for the matters being drafted for the ICC in Truth Language Format, which will name them personally in respect of their fraudulent and treacherous crimes.

    We thank Mr Weatherill for the latest piece of evidence to these crimes put forward by him on 18th December 2008 in his Notice re: the (Ab)Origine peoples right to determine what is best for OUR lands.

    These actions clearly being evidence of Genocide, Rape and Apartheid.

    Mr Weatherill’s government would be best advised to take things a little slower – it will be better than spending twenty years in an off shore prison after facing the ICC in regard to their crimes.

  4. Yes Mark and folks above, it does all appear to be a continuation of the patronisation and exploitation of the past – sleazy government officials and mining representatives using their greasy cheque accounts to divide, manipulate and intoxicate these people, all so that they can make use of the land…looking at what has been done to the land in Australia to date, it would be wise if there was a moratorium on any government introducing the global corporate world to these precious places.

    Take a look at the review of the 88 heritage act also linked above. If indeed the ‘Act’ was to recognise the value of heritage and stories, would there be a justification for mining uranium in SA? I doubt so, look at the stories that discuss this element and for a brief moment learn from the lore.

    Australian governments have been so busy killing off and controlling the indigenous populations across Australia they have missed the opportunity to connect and learn from these land based older cultures. Its not to late, stop with the interference and exploitation of the lands and begin to appreciate your fellow man.

    DO not continue these reviews while you have more secret mining deals and activities lined up. Show these communities some respect and engage with them only when your intentions are honourable and just.

    “Aboriginal South Australians have long articulated their aspirations for greater participation in decision making about heritage. In addition, practices and attitudes of the mining industry and other developers have changed in the past two decades to recognise the importance of good working relationships with Aboriginal people. The notion of what Aboriginal heritage is has also changed over time. Aboriginal heritage is no longer confined to archaeological sites, or traditional material objects, but encompasses landscapes, language and stories”.

  5. About the letter – “Australia’s oldest land rights legislation will be reviewed”

    Mister Wetherill doesn’t have any land and can stop talking about it. We did’nt met this man who is looking always at our land with more plans and do not want his letters to be near us or our business.

    We are born with rights that he cannot give or take by tricking, clever words and papers or other ways.

    If not this man then another one all want to talk about land land land. We speak for many of our people in big numbers and are patient too long with their greed on our land. You tell us it’s good, but you kill us in big numbers with guns and bombs always because of our land and your greed.

    This man and his friends makes the changes on his papers. His papers are his papers but we will do what we do and we want to know if these people are leaving soon as they are making a big mess and time is coming close to finished because next you bring big war to our land like noone ever saw – only us. This war will come because of the uranium. Because it is stolen no good can come.

    Do not pretend you control our land. Nothing will change our land. If some did business with you then they change their skin but not the land. Any signs they make for you will become a problem for you. We will continue on our land.

    The sneaky ones try to change many things and we become tired from you and have no trust. This is our land and you are not our friends and are not welcome to discuss our land. You wait for old people to die so you can get land from the wanderers or the greedy ones who take money. This is not their land or your land.

    If your people want to be here they must clean up the first mess and prove they deserve to live here. We think he does not want to hear but this is always our land.

    Your mining companies we are tired of them and have our own plans and is not your business. You push us with your greed and make trouble for our people and tell lies to newspapers.

    Your kind are not welcome here because of the problems you make on our land. You poisoned the dirt, the water and your own people. The burial grounds of our fathers and mothers can hardly be found. You dig up their bones. We do not dig your familys bones?

    In a small time you have lost our trust since the bombs and more things you have done to our people and your own.

    What you steal in your small decades is now gone The water you made dirty. Our people welcomed you and you betray us. You sit on a lot of land with no permission and make money for yourself out of our land.

    Many people become greedy as you starve and tempt them and there are now big problems coming. You talk with small people who are not to speak and cannot speak. They know the words we call this and they cannot hide their shame. Their speaking and signs will be a problem for them and you sometime soon.

    You must work and make our water clean for everyone. Our water was very good. If white people live here they need clean water. Water is not clean. Animals die from the poison water and people are more sick. People are sick from the dust now.

    We speak the truth now fix this problem so people can be healthy. You talk like you don’t know what will happen soon. You destroy your own kind with greed and you keep going and going till there is not even clean air for them We warn you of this poison many times. Now you will bring very big bombs here. You know already and are afraid and still greedy.

    Mr Wetherill you do not speak for our people or our land. Fix your problems a different way and find some peace for your people more honestly.


    The Aboriginal Land Rights Trust Act was established in South Australia 42 years ago, the first legislation of its kind in Australia.

    2.2.Rectification of past dealings;
    This program obviously has it’s own agenda, however let look from an aboriginal perspective and put first things first.

    This act was invented during the Maralinga “Intervention” in collusion with the British and most likely with a devious eye on uranium on aboriginal lands at Roxby which was agreed would never be mined. This “agreement” which was violated, might be a past dealing that needs rectification and could show some good faith in possible further cooperation between aboriginal people and a relationship with the SA government. (see 2.2) (Opening up the forbidden “cut” to mine uranium must have been the intent as this has been the outcome.)

    Traditional elders historically recognised in the Woomera, Roxby Downs area and beyond, state that there are many obvious uranium issues to consider, one of which they believe is Olympic Dams depletion and contamination of the countries water. On another level industry negligence, best illustrated by BHP Billiton again, which produces 50 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution annually, equivalent to about 10% of Australia’s entire emissions!

    These same aboriginal people also believe that uranium extracted from their land may have been used in the Maralinga genocide bombings. This betrayal of trust must be rectified and the original agreement that uranium would not be taken from our lands must be reinstated before futher agreements would be considered. Any workarounds such as are happening at present will ultimately be set aside. Aboriginal people who have claimed their sovereignty are currently being sidelined by Native Title in their apparent ignorance of Origine people’s sovereignty, choosing to press ahead with substitute signatories in order to access land for mining companies.

    Sovereign Subjects – Indigenous Sovereignty Matters
    Aileen Moreton-Robinson (editor)

    “Neither the High Court nor any other Australian court has the subject matter jurisdiction to determine the issue of the sovereignty of another sovereign nation. One wonders what the judges of the High Court were thinking when they pretended to have subject matter jurisdiction to determine our sovereignty. Native title wasn’t here 230 years ago and, in reality, it isn’t here now”. (see 2.2)

    Aboriginal lease money is recorded as being held in “Trust” and to date, finances never ending court procedures and lawyers of the Native Title’s choosing. Bearing in mind that Native Title is a government, or maybe aboriginal funded operation. Aboriginal moneys collected from leases on various projects are also spent on high priced legal service which aborigines are forced to engage, thus stimulating the State’s legal system. This money appears never to have benefitted the landowners while mining companies brag annual multi-billion dollar profits from extracting minerals from aboriginal sovereign lands.

    A full independent audit of collection and honest expenditure of aboriginal funds to date should be made publicly available to dispel generated media myths that aboriginal people bludge off the taxpaying public. (see 2.2)

    Aboriginal geneologies should also be made available when 143 Native Title cases already investigated in Queensland have been found

    Some of the self appointed phoney Tonys, as they are called, are sadly caste aside by their fair-weather government/mining friends and ostracized by their race, as signing off on another tribe’s lands is not culturally acceptable. On the other hand some are elevated to highly paid positions in companies or even government departments after they have signed off on their tribal culture (and that of others less willing).

    Few aborigines are aware aware of personally formulating or being party to acts of governance over their culture. They are aware of their sovereign rights of which governments most likely have no ‘real’ control or awareness.

    Aboriginal people always had ‘known’ boundaries. After the “killing years” and the scattering of the tribes along with forced abduction into missions, tribes merged for safety as the interloping colonists set about wreaking ignorant havoc on country and culture.

    In recent years, Native Title in it’s role as signature hunter for the mining companies, have invented more convenient boundaries. These negotiations are of a secretive nature, the upshot being that the real traditional owners are usually unaware a deal has been struck until they see a company mining on their land. It’s quite intriguing hearing reports on how N/T justify these signature friendly new boundaries and extremely odd signature friendly, new “traditional owners”.

    At present, Native Title “deals” are being rushed through rapidly as South Australia faces an economic deficit. The acquisition of aboriginal lands is seeing a new urgency. NO, does not seem to be an option for traditional land owners wishing to retain their tradition of handing land down through their family blood line. If traditional ‘blood’ land owners won’t sign, the aborigines are complaining that Native Title simply invent a new line who will sign by altering the geneology of the land area to include a wider range of “family options”. (see 2.2)

    Land development using this introduced Native Title system will see and end to the historic succession plan that worked so well for the aboriginal race, before white man made themselves a little more than at home here.

    SA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jay Weatherill says the Act covers 500,000 hectares of land, but has not been keeping pace with the aspirations of people who live in the region.

    It could be just downright unfortunate about the aspirations of the people who now live on aboriginal traditional lands. Particularly given the mirky history of land acquisitions here. The white population turnover has been described as more transient than the aborigines themselves at Roxby Downs.

    Our white ‘government’ could perhaps appeal to the aborigines to lease them some reserves designated for their white population and of course their own government revenue collecting. Surely the aborigines would agree to somewhere ‘out of the way’ to stop us cluttering up their lives and culture. This way we could really demonstrate what SORRY means? Residents could grow their own vegies, keep a few chooks and be relatively self sufficient and live on handouts or programs like “Work for the Dole”. (see 2.2)

    Do these now living on their land, know that the original people were herded off their own private lands like cattle to make way for the British offspring after their beautiful lands were contaminated by Britains Plutonium Atom bombs? There appear to be much going missing from Australian History.

    “There’s a lot of economic activity that’s occurring on the land already but not a lot of it is finding its way back into the hands of Aboriginal people,” he said.

    There is indeed a lot of “economic” activity going on in regional South Australia. Most Australians don’t particularly want the radioactive soils in the outback continually upheaved. As Maralinga didn’t finish off the aborigines to pave the way to easily violate their honest agreement and trust with both Woomera and WMC, then we must keep pretending we are doing something for them, but this doesn’t look like much of an improvement. After all, where are the funds for these agreements held, while these poor people pay rent and buy homes on their own land? Probably no need to ask. as the government of the day would most likely, kindly have offered to ‘take care of it’ and might even have taken such liberties as paying for anything that has the word
    ‘aboriginal’ attached to it.

    “We want Aboriginal people to be getting the jobs that are generated through the use of this land.”

    What do the aboriginal people want for themselves and their land can we ask? As these people are massive land holders and with huge companies gouging their land stupid, bragging multi-billion dollar profits, then the aboriginal people would be gathering some pretty hefty rent or lease money. Can’t see how some of them would need jobs. That’s how it works for us. Are they different, or easier prey?

    Seeing as they were forcefully taken to missions in Urban areas, they were given an insurmountable problem in getting back to normal. And what is normal when a huge unagreed to open cut emerges in your backyard and a handy government keeps removing you from ‘home’?

    Perhaps this waiting period of deaboriginalisation has made a difference and it could work out well for the SA govt and their various corporate partners. Especially as Maralinga certainly took care of the numbers of genuine, tribal groups in existence at the time, totally knocking the wind out of their unsuspecting and trusting sails, wreaking havoc on their health. Although fortunately the original Traditional Owners and signatory family of that area survived! But is this really how we’ acquire land and do business?

    Pretty brave/cunning stuff beating up on a friendly country of welcoming natives. The British were never known for their manners, in fact aren’t we still obliged to supply ‘mother england’ with uranium to secure their future? Hence the manipulation of traditional owners and trust funds in that area perhaps? Not to mention the sacrifice involved in maintaining that huge and unacceptable death trap, Olympic Dam in the countries midst.

    Mr Weatherill says much has changed over more than four decades.

    It doesn’t seem as though anything has changed except the date. Four decades is zilch in the history of these people on this land, whereas it is portrayed here as a very long time!

    “Since that time we’ve had many Aboriginal people move off those missions and living in urban areas or in the regional areas and our structures really haven’t kept pace with that,” he said.

    The aboriginal people were microwaved at Maralinga and many died a horrible death. Today, those who weren’t maimed or died of related cancers and tumours still remember being abducted from their lands to make way for the Woomera and WMC agreement traitors who yes, agreed have massive infrastructure on aboriginal lands. Hope their rent is paid up – legally and to the letter, of course?

    After Maralinga aboriginal people who returned to country were removed, returned and were removed until socially they couldn’t fit in. Their land was scarred forever and so were their precious waters along with their souls. The Roxby Downs Indenture Act has taken care of their heritage areas, however, not by their hand!

    Another questionable and presumptuous Act maybe?

    Perhaps with a bit of genuine assistance from the Minister for Aboriginal affairs, who no doubt listens to the concerns of the true tribal leaders and helps make sure correct decisions are made on their behalf, and that they aren’t being ripped off, could help get these agreement breakers off their land as they ‘inconveniently’ wish and get BHP and the likes off the precious GAB forever. Unless of course it’s too contaminated to bother about or they intend on collapsing a large portion of Australia.

    These people owe ‘mother england’ nothing and they should not be sacrificed to supply other countries with uranium against their wishes. We don’t hear about the Minister for Aboriginal affairs being involved in Maralinga compensation for our own aborigines. Now that cruel crime happened over four decades ago too? Perhaps we should attend to first things first.

    Another option being that there may be no sincerity in this Ministerial position with regard to aboriginal people and everything is as they say, a land and money grab using every angle available, again at aboriginal expense?

    We can’t find any aboriginal history on the Website for these two areas. It appears to have missed being noted. If aboriginal history isn’t considered important, then we don’t believes this ‘review’ of a possibly convenient or illegal act is valid, let alone being re-designed to benefit aboriginal people.

    This appears a very cheeky move to invent an act and then instigate a convenient review when mining or military interests are rife, with leases up for renewal and authentic signatories difficult. None of this manipulation will ever benefit the aboriginal people to their traditional satisfaction. It seems that aboriginal people can’t live on their lands because it’s not only contaminated, they have to live in court for what has seemed the best years of their lives while N/T destroy what’s left of their alliance with each other forcing them cruelly to compete for land rights for something like over 2/3 decades on some counts. But then it seems that this exercise is financially stimulating the legal system and not the aborigines at all.

    First their history is blanked out and then they are tortured to prove their association to their land after they SA government forceably removed them. This seems a serious matter that may have gone unattended.

    The quality of contributions here have my vote. We too have been watching this and expect a more honest approach to who owns the land and where has their money gone?

    Perhaps some may think we citizens are all racist as the governments may hope us to be. How very wrong it would be to assume this.

    It appears there are some more pressing reviews needed rather than continually reviewing fake legislations placed upon these unique people in order to stamp out their existence for the sake of minerals that don’t belong to us. Did they ever deny us? Why not trade like human beings?

    Our political parties are currently conspicuous by the cowardly way they refuse to acknowlege the lies of their predecessors and continue to push this fascade of control of aborigines and their land, pretending as we see here that it will benefit aborigines. We have never seen this happen in our lifetime and we’ve become an embarrassment in the civilised world.

    If there were no minerals to scam from them, then we might all be enjoying some genuine culture which this country is sadly lacking, unless it can be harnassed and managed by government profiteers. Artwork which was once a way of recording history and events is now being compromised in its purpose. We take our hats off to these suvivors of the Maralinga nuclear holocaust

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