After many years of struggle Aboriginal law and land rights were finally recognised in Australian law in the Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) Act 1976 (ALRA).
Gurindji leader Vincent Lingiari has sand poured into his hands by then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in 1965.
It is often referred to as the Land Rights Act. This act recognises our rights to land and sets up processes to win back our land through land councils, and manage its resources.
Importantly, the act is the first attempt by an Australian government to legally recognise the Aboriginal system of land ownership and put into law the concept of inalienable freehold title. This has allowed Aboriginal people to retain and in some cases re-establish their cultural identity, while at the same time contributing to the peaceful and responsible development of the Northern Territory.
The Land Rights Act sets down detailed procedures for:
- the negotiation of mining agreements on Aboriginal land and the application of laws for mining on Aboriginal land
- funding of Land Councils through the Aboriginal Benefits Account (previously Aboriginal Benefits Reserve)
- a number of minor but important provisions, such as roads and entry onto Aboriginal land, a protection of sacred sites and protection of traditional rights over land
- the application of NT laws and complementary NT legislation
The NLC welcomes High Court decision that clarifies performance of native title functions
Oct 7, 2020
The Northern Land Council (the NLC) welcomes today’s unanimous decision by the High Court that the NLC has the power to delegate to its CEO and other staff members the job of certifying applications for registration of Indigenous land use agreements (ILUAs).
NLC welcomes recognition of native title rights to pastoral leases
Sep 22, 2020
The NLC congratulates native title holders of two pastoral leases for their hard work resulting in the long-overdue recognition of their native title rights to country.
The NLC welcomes historic reforms to the Land Rights Act
Aug 25, 2021
The NLC welcomes the introduction today in Parliament of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment (Economic Empowerment) Bill 2021.
Land Rights Act key for Mirarr traditional owners
Sep 3, 2020
A long struggle by the Mirarr people for ownership and control over the Jabiru township met with success today with the passage of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment (Jabiru) Act 2020.