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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 3314

NEW LAND DEAL FOR NORTHERN TERRITORY ABORIGINALS

Photo of Whitlam, Gough

Whitlam, Gough

Period of Service: 05/12/1972 to 11/11/1975

More information about Whitlam, Gough on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 02/07/1974

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 3314

PRIME MINISTER PRESS STATEMENT NO. 281
2 July 1974
NEW LAND DEAL FOR NORTHERN TERRITORY ABORIGINALS
The Prime. Minister, Mr Whitlam, today announced that
Cabinet had accepted in principle the recommendations made in
the Second Report of the Aboriginal Land Rights Commission.
, Mr Whitlam said that the recommendations provided for
full Aboriginal ownership of all existing reserves in the
Northern Territory and certain other lands and for the establishment
of a Land Commission to enquire into Aboriginal land claims and
land needs outside the Reserves. Aboriginal Regional Land
Councils and Land Trusts would be incorporated to hold title
and administer land matters.
Cabinet authorised preliminary drafting of a comprehensive
Aboriginal Land ( Northern Territory) Bill with a view to the
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs introducing the Bill into the
Parliament during the Budget Sittings. Final drafting must,
however, await full consultation with the Northern Territory
Aboriginals through their Land Councils, which are at present
considering the Report's recommendations.
Cabinet also authorised the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
to appoint an Interim Land Commissioner, in order to hasten action
on suchmatters as the provision of land for the Gurindji of
Wave Hill and for Aboriginal groups in towns. Any such
appointment would be without prejudice to the outcome of discussions
with the Aboriginals.
Drafting of Bills to provide for the incorporation of
Aboriginal groups and communities, and for the establishment of an
Aboriginal Land Fund is already well advanced. The Aboriginal
Corporations Bill will allow the incorporation of Aboriginal
Councils, some of which could hold land in accordance with the.
Commission's recommendations. Other lands would be held by
Trusts to be established under the proposed land legislation.
The Land Fund will provide for the purchase of lands in
the Northern Territory as recommended by the proposed Aboriginal
Land Commission. It is proposed, however, that the Fund should
be used for land purchases in the States as well as in the
Northern Territory.
ThXe Minister for Aboriginal Affairs will be discussing the
Commission's Report with State Ministers responsible for
Aboriginal affairs. This matter was discussed at the recent
Premiers' Conference.
CANBERRA. ACT.

Transcript 3314