Aboriginal land recovery in NSW: Mechanisms and Prospects from 2017

Presented by ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences

New provisions in the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (ALRA) are forecast to see a six-fold escalation in land recovery from 2017 through negotiated settlement. Criticism of the slow and protracted native title determination in New South Wales will also see more expeditious processing of claims currently in place over more than 35 per cent of the state. These predominant land recovery statutes will have significant crossover with the conservation estate and Aboriginal land management interests, unique land grants (such as Goat Island) and divestment of the Crown Land estate. The anticipated escalation in recovery of land will itself take place within a dynamic social, political and environmental landscape. Thus, in considering the recovery of public land in New South Wales, we must also consider how this will impact on, and be impacted by, a host of social and environmental factors such as conservation, climate change, and the social and economic development of Aboriginal communities.  As we approach this new era of land justice, new insights are needed to assist Aboriginal groups manage the expanded Aboriginal estate with conservation, culture heritage management, industry and development imperatives, alongside contested intra-community governance.
About the Speaker

Heidi Norman is an Associate Professor in the Communication Program at the University of Technology, Sydney.  She researchers and publishes in the areas of NSW Aboriginal history and politics.  Her recent work - political history of the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act, is titled, What Do We Want? A Political History of Aboriginal Land Rights in NSW.  In this first-ever study of land rights in NSW she documents the movement for land rights and how those laws changed the relationship between Aboriginal people and the state and one another.  She is an award winning researcher and educator: in 2015 she was awarded the UTS research excellence medal for collaboration and in 2016 the National Teaching Excellence Award for her work in Indigenous studies.  She is a member of AIATSIS, Congress and Gomeroi descendant.