National Parks And Wildlife Amendment (Aboriginal Ownership) Bill



About this Item
SpeakersEllis Mr Eric; Yeadon Mr Kim; Richardson Mr Michael; Beckroge Mr William; Ficarra Ms Marie; Allan Ms Pam; Hazzard Mr Brad
BusinessBill, Second Reading, In Committee, Amendment

NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDLIFE AMENDMENT (ABORIGINAL OWNERSHIP) BILL
Second Reading

Debate resumed from an earlier hour.

Mr ELLIS (South Coast) [3.54]: I support the concept of the National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Aboriginal Ownership) Bill. I wish to give some background to my dealings with Aborigines over the years. When I was about seven or eight I lived at Moruya on the south coast. As my father was involved in building the breakwater at Moruya Heads I went to school there and played with a number of Aboriginal children. I visited Collarenebri quite a lot and made some close Aboriginal friends with whom I fished on the banks of the river. Councillor Ambrose Golden Brown, a councillor with Shoalhaven City Council who unfortunately passed away a few years ago, assisted me in getting my development application through council when I was building in the Shoalhaven area. I appreciated the help that I received from him.

I have had quite a bit to do with Aboriginal people. I understand their problems and I am aware of their close attachment to the land. I am a little concerned about the title of this bill. I believe that it should be entitled National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Joint Management) Bill. A number of strings are attached to the ownership question. I do not believe that the ownership provisions in this legislation are appropriate. Most people who own something believe that they have complete control of it. If people in the areas referred to in this legislation own land and they want to lease that land, the financial package that they receive should be used for social, cultural or other purposes. This bill makes no provision for any financial return to the supposed owners of the land - a matter about which I am a little uncomfortable.

Zada Lipman and Karen Don support me in that view. They wrote an article, which appeared in the Aboriginal Law Bulletin - which I read in order to further understand this bill and how it affects Aborigines. That article referred to the bill as it was in 1991 or 1992. I do not believe that this present legislation has changed a great deal from the original legislation. A number of concerns have been expressed, particularly about the ownership aspect of the bill - concerns which I believe are still current. I have real reservations about the ownership aspect of the bill. Joint management is definitely a step forward. I believe that Aboriginal people have a lot to contribute in the conservation of the land and the bush. They probably understand it better than anyone else in Australia as they have lived here for thousands of years.

One other matter with which I would like to deal concerns Jervis Bay National Park which is located in my electorate. This legislation will have major ramifications for that park. This morning I spoke to Mayor Max Atkins about this matter and asked what consultation had taken place with Shoalhaven City Council. I was surprised when he said that there had been no consultation. No-one has made contact with anyone from Shoalhaven City Council in regard to this legislation. Max Atkins told me that the first he heard of the bill was last week, and it was only a passing comment on a radio show that he could not remember the name of. No-one approached him or other council members or had consultations with this major player about matters relating to the Jervis Bay National Park and the south coast area. Consultation has been lacking on this issue.

Someone from the National Parks and Wildlife Service or from the Minister's office should make contact with Shoalhaven City Council to let it know what is going on. I am familiar with Jervis Bay National Park. If the Government acquires all the land that it requires for this park the present 1,000 hectares of parkland will be increased to 6,000 hectares. Concern has been expressed about the boundaries of that national park which extend to the back wall of a bowling club at Huskisson and come close to residential homes in that area. This bill will also enable discussions with the joint management committee to determine whether firearms should be used by the new landowners for hunting. Recently the Federal Court attempted to establish whether firearms could be used by Aborigines, on certain conditions, to hunt for domestic use or for cultural events. In certain cases firearms should be able to be used by Aborigines to gather food in these areas - a matter to be determined and controlled by the joint management committee.

However, firearms should never be used in Jervis Bay National Park. It would not be appropriate to use firearms of any sort, for a number of reasons. Jervis Bay National Park is close to urban areas, to shops and to bowling clubs. The concerns of owners of properties on the boundaries of the national park must be taken on board. This area also has one of the highest tourist visitation rates in the State. In the main Jervis Bay National Park will be long and narrow in shape. In any such configuration of a park shooting would be dangerous. Jervis Bay National Park runs from north to south and if a shooter fires east or west and happens to miss the animal or object at which he or she is shooting the projectile may go beyond the boundaries of the national park.

The bill should include a provision that prohibits, or at least limits, the use of firearms in the Jervis Bay National Park. Having regard to the Federal Court ruling, that may not be possible. If Aborigines are allowed to shoot in the Jervis Bay National Park to gather food the Minister might give consideration to changing the boundaries of the national park to allow for a buffer region for the protection of the community and the town where appropriate. People from Jervis Bay, Nowra and other parts of that region would not like rifles to be fired, particularly when they live or shop in the vicinity of the boundary of the national park.

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It is worthwhile to look at providing a buffer zone by setting the boundary away from the back fences of homes, shops and sporting facilities. I am keen to have that problem addressed because it is of great concern to me and to the people who live in the Jervis Bay area, and especially to constituents in the electorate of South Coast. The use of the term ownership is questionable when so many strings are attached to the ownership by people who are in a leasing arrangement. At least some of the money accruing from the leasing arrangement should be given to the new owners for purposes other than the upkeep of the park. The National Parks and Wildlife Service will lease the land from the owners, if that is what they are to be called, and should have responsibility for maintaining it until it becomes profitable in its own right.

In respect of Kakadu and other national parks that are in joint management a percentage of the money raised goes to the community of the owners to be used for social and cultural needs, instead of 100 per cent of it going towards the upkeep of the park. That money would enable Aborigines to be employed and to work in the park. That would be a good thing. Money should be made available to other members of the community or tribe who are not employed so that they receive some benefit from the leasing of land that is supposed to be theirs. It is wrong that they do not receive any financial gain. I hope the Minister will address the issue related to the use of firearms in the Jervis Bay National Park. If it is not possible to ban their use in the park, the Minister might consider allowing for a buffer area between the community and the national park itself.

Mr YEADON (Granville - Minister for Land and Water Conservation) [4.03]: I do not want to take up the time of the House unnecessarily, but I wish to place a couple of comments on the record. Primarily I am delighted that this bill is before the House and that it has received broad support. I congratulate the Minister for the Environment on introducing the legislation. I also commend the honourable member for Keira who for a considerable period has undoubtedly been a driving force behind the bill. I agree with other honourable members who were members of the legislation committee, as I was, that the bill has been a long time coming; it had its genesis a number of years ago. I place on record my praise for the work done by Tim Moore before he left this place. Sadly, despite his commitment to the legislation, he lost out in the coalition party rooms in his endeavours to advance this issue. It took a Labor Government in office to bring the matter to fruition.

The bill will be a major plank in the reconciliation process in New South Wales. Anyone who knows anything about the Aboriginal people will understand the fundamental connection they have with the land and the importance of land in the Aboriginal cultural, spiritual and religious framework. This bill will ensure Aboriginal ownership and management of the five national parks referred to in the legislation, through boards of management. A key factor of the bill is that it will allow future additions to those five parks specifically mentioned in the legislation.

I was on the legislation committee that undertook a comprehensive examination of this issue. There certainly was not unanimity among the members of that committee as to how best to proceed, though there was certainly in-principle agreement about achieving the bill's objectives, that is, to ensure Aboriginal ownership and management of national parks in New South Wales. The Government made minor changes to the recommendations of the legislation committee, and the result is this excellent bill which will further empower Aboriginal people through the ownership of national parks.

I met some outstanding people during my period as a member of the committee. The committee held consultations, forums, discussion groups and hearings in various places throughout New South Wales, primarily where these parks are located, and also in Broken Hill. Many outstanding Aboriginal people gave their views and evidence to the committee. Though some years ago I took academic cognisance of Aborigines and their connection to land, having that affinity portrayed to me first-hand by people fundamentally connected with the land really brought home to me in a very human and emotional way how essential land is to Aboriginal people. If there is to be any degree of success with reconciliation, land will be a central tenet of that reconciliation.

I thank the support people who were involved with the legislation committee - Les Gönye who did an outstanding job, Jim Jefferis, Jim Donohoe and Catherine Watson. All of them provided excellent support and guidance to the committee over what was a fairly lengthy period of time. I am absolutely delighted that this bill is before the House and I have no doubt that it will be an outstanding success and that the five parks nominated in this bill will be the beginning of what in future will be a great addition to the schedule for inclusion of national parks. I commend the bill to the House.

Mr RICHARDSON (The Hills) [4.10]: I wish to express my broad general support for the bill and to voice some genuine concerns about the legislation and the lack of consultation and liaison between the Government, the Opposition and Green groups. Before doing so I would like to refer to the contribution of the honourable member for Keira. The honourable member has a genuine deep-seated concern for Aboriginal welfare, for which he is to be commended. He referred to Mr Badger Bates, the Chairman of the Mutawintji Local Aboriginal Land Council, and to Ms Maureen O'Donnell.

The honourable member for Wakehurst wanted me to place on record his high regard for Badger Bates, whom he met a few months ago in Broken Hill. He would have welcomed the opportunity to consult with Badger Bates and Maureen O'Donnell on the legislation and ascertain whether they had
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any concerns about it. He plans to return to Broken Hill in the next few months and visit Badger Bates, but by then the legislation is likely to have passed through the Parliament and that consultation will be wasted.

The honourable member for South Coast referred to an article that appeared in the Aboriginal Law Bulletin in 1992 entitled "A Long Way to Go". So far as this bill is concerned, there is still a long way to go. Many of the points that were made in that article by Zada Lipman and Karen Don have still not been addressed in the legislation. The Government appears to have grafted the points that were raised by the legislation committee to the 1992 legislation, and said that the bill is complete and no further changes are required. Lipman and Don described the 1992 bill as a paternalistic clayton's acknowledgment of Aboriginal interests in national parks.

I regret to say that on my reading of the legislation and of the Minister's second reading speech, this legislation appears to be just as bad. It pays lip-service to the notion of freehold ownership by Aboriginal people of these five national parks. It does not in any sense confer financial benefit on them. Freehold ownership is a concept that is alien to the bill. Everything in the bill could have been achieved by simply introducing Aboriginal management, or many of the other concepts in the bill, into the plans of management for those parks. Lipman and Don referred to the problem of lands being vested in the Aboriginal Land Council. Indeed, that is exactly what happens in the legislation.

In the 1992 legislation the estate being transferred was an estate of freehold in possession, not an estate in fee simple. The legislation committee recommended that it be converted to an estate in fee simple - that is actually in the legislation - yet fee simple, according to the Macquarie Dictionary of Law is, for all practical purposes, equivalent to absolute ownership of the land. I fail to understand, and I would be delighted if the Minister could explain to me, how land which is leased by the National Parks and Wildlife Service from the Aboriginal people for a sum of money that is paid into a fund which can only be used for management of those parks -

Mr Markham: No it is not.

Mr RICHARDSON: Read the legislation. The rent is paid into that fund. The terms of the lease can be renegotiated every five years but after 30 years, if there is not broad agreement by the Aboriginal people that the lease be reviewed for a further 30 years, the land reverts to the Crown. That is a very different concept from the concept of freehold title or an estate in fee simple. Perhaps the Minister can satisfy me on that point. I have read about it, examined the bill, and been briefed by her staffers, but I still do not believe that what is referred to in the legislation is in any sense freehold ownership. It is still a long way short of full ownership.

The 1975 Federal legislation provides for the Uluru-Katatjuta National Park and Kakadu - two places that are very familiar to me - to be vested in the Aborigines. They are leased back for a period of 99 years to the Federal National Parks Service. If after those 99 years the Aborigines do not agree to renegotiate the lease, the land reverts to them, which is enormously different to the legislation before the House. The Minister's advisers informed me last week that the legislation was almost a carbon copy of the Federal legislation. It is so far removed from the Federal legislation that the Opposition has to ask whether they were spawned by the same father.

The legislation in the Northern Territory could perhaps be a model for legislation in this State. In Uluru $750,000 in indexed rent plus 20 per cent of gate takings are paid to the Pitjantjatjara for the benefit of those people. Similar sums are paid to the Gagadju people in Kakadu. Nothing of this nature appears in the legislation before the House. That is a matter of real concern. It is a clayton's ownership - the ownership you have when you do not have ownership. The article "A Long Way to Go" referred to the fact that the exclusion of Aboriginal owners from any economic benefit as a result of the use of the land seems harsh and unnecessary, and indeed it is. I am sure the honourable member for Keira can appreciate that. The only benefit that seems to flow to the Aboriginal people, apart from the fact that they obviously have a say in the management of the land, is that they have hunting and gathering rights. But that could be achieved in the same way through a plan of management.

The honourable member for South Coast and other speakers in this debate have raised their concerns about guns being used in national parks and have said that the inclusion of such a provision in the legislation could lead to endangered species being taken in national parks. A number of Opposition members have expressed concerns to me about this aspect of the legislation because they believe that the use of guns is totally incompatible with the notion of national parks. The issue needs to be addressed by the green groups and the Aboriginal community, and that is where the consultation process would have been useful.

I have been to the South Alligator River in Kakadu with an Aboriginal man who has taken a number of file snakes and a long-necked tortoise quite legally with his bare hands. Those creatures are not endangered species. There is a very real concern that the processes laid down in the bill do not provide for adequate management of that issue. As the honourable member for South Coast said, there are in some instances dwellings right up against the boundaries of national parks and there may be a concern that an odd angry shot might go astray.

Brent Hoare, Environment Liaison Officer for the Nature Conservation Council, wrote to the Minister on 25 November and expressed his concerns about a number of issues. Some of those
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concerns are not shared by Opposition members, but he put eight issues to the Minister in detail. It is very clear that the Nature Conservation Council was not consulted about the bill and, like the National Parks Association and other conservation groups, has real concerns about lack of consultation and other shortcomings. The office also suggested that the National Parks Association, the Nature Conservation Council and similar bodies should be afforded the right to nominate members to the board of management, an idea that needs to be worked through with the green groups.

It is possible for the Government to get a win-win out of this legislation, for the genuine and general goodwill of all members of the House towards the bill to help achieve that end. I visited Cairns this winter and took the opportunity to have a discussion with the Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service about the Great Barrier Reef and the wet tropics environment. The draft wet tropics plan management strategies includes a section on Aboriginal involvement in management. With that approach the Government could have achieved exactly the same result in a slightly less controversial way but without achieving these wonderful headlines about the State handing over national parks and creating a claytons ownership for Aborigines. It is important that I put this on the record so that members can understand another way in which these things could have been done:
      There are about 16 Aboriginal language groups and associated communities in the Area. It is one of the most culturally-diverse and densely-populated areas of Aboriginal association with the landscape in Australia. These communities have a traditional duty for managing their cultural heritage, which includes the natural environment . . .
      Aboriginal peoples want recognition of the Area as a living cultural landscape in the belief that the natural values and cultural values cannot be separated. Cultural values include the living, continuous traditions of the Aboriginal peoples who are associated with the Area . . .
      There is growing support for increased Aboriginal involvement in managing the area. This has been acknowledged by the Queensland Government. For example, the preamble of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Protection and Management Act 1993 states:
          "(8) It is also the intention of the Parliament to acknowledge the significant contributions that Aboriginal people can make to the future management of cultural and natural heritage within the Area, particularly through joint management agreements".
      . . . The Nature Conservation Act 1992 and the Wet Tropics World Heritage Protection and Management Act 1993 require the Department of Environment and Heritage and the Wet Tropics Management Authority to perform their functions, as far as practicable, in consultation and co-operation with Aboriginal peoples . . .
      Where land is national park, Aboriginal involvement in management will be negotiated between the Department of Environment and Heritage and Aboriginal peoples in accordance with the provisions of the Nature Conservation Act 1992. Aboriginal involvement in national park management may include co-operative management arrangements or joint management arrangements (where the land is Aboriginal land or where native title rights exist). Where desirable, the Authority may facilitate negotiations and become a party to co-operative management agreements.

That document spells out the view of the Queensland Government on this important issue. More than 60 per cent of the Aboriginal people in Queensland live north of Cairns. It is well recognised that there are benefits for Aboriginal people, tourists and the general population in arrangements that involve Aborigines very closely in the plans of management for those parks. I again question why the Minister found it necessary to introduce this legislation, which provides claytons ownership of national parks for Aborigines in New South Wales.

Mr BECKROGE (Broken Hill) [4.24]: It gives me great pleasure to support the legislation, which has been a long time coming. It had its genesis under the previous Government, and was certainly driven by a very caring individual, Tim Moore, who, for a Liberal, had quite a rare insight into people's needs and requirements. He would be unique compared to National Party members opposite. Tim Moore did a good job in the coalition. He had his heart in it, and he still has his heart in it. Tim moved on, and we have waited a long time for this legislation. I do not want to verbal him, but I would say that Tim's great frustrations at the time were the National Party. It was scared of the reaction of its constituency if it were to provide benefits to indigenous Australians, which was seen to be not in the interests of the National Party or its supporters. Time has moved on, and members of this Parliament now have different views. It is pleasing to know times have changed and that the coalition is mindful of the need to recognise the original owners and occupiers of this land.

Recently the Parliament passed a motion in support of the Governor-General. I did not have the opportunity to speak on that occasion, but many others did and they voiced their feelings. This legislation may have a number of shortcomings, as pointed out by the honourable member for The Hills, but I am impressed by the recognition it gives to the position we hold as inheritors of this land, particularly in New South Wales. It is sad to see towns in many parts of the Broken Hill electorate subjected to terrible social conditions endured by a disposed minority, people who have deep attachment to land and whose Aboriginal culture is distinctly different from European culture. The Aboriginal culture was subjugated on settlement in 1788 to a so-called superior culture. In later years we have discovered that the culture of the original owners and occupiers is as relevant as ever to the way people live. The European culture that has been put upon Aboriginal people has made them indigent.

Millions of dollars have been poured into meeting the needs of original Australians; nevertheless many of them remain in a parlous condition. Unfortunately, not everyone in my electorate shares my views. It is not a popular thing to say that we should give the land back to the Aborigines. But more and more people are understanding that Aboriginal people were the first occupiers of this land and they had their own
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culture. The bill tries to give back to the Aboriginal people ownership of land, particularly in the Mootwingee area, with which I am more conversant. It is a marvellous area of great cultural and spiritual meaning to the clans that lived there. I am not aware of any direct descendants in the area at the moment, but many people identify with the area spiritually and culturally. It has always been my view that as a nation we were missing out by not protecting and saving areas that are indicative of a culture that existed long before 1788. Mootwingee has marvellous stencils, tracks and carvings. Before the ban on sightseers was imposed, it was a wonderful experience to see Snake Cave, Mushroom Rock and other spiritual places steeped in the culture of the local people.

This legislation is a step forward in that the original owners will be able to manage the area and access will be given to those who are not a part of their culture. In a somewhat venal sense, it will bring marvellous tourism to our area, though not the kind of tourism where people run through, take snaps and tick it off to indicate that they have been there. It will be an experience for people who actually want to learn. The beaut part about Australia is that more and more people here and from overseas want to learn about the great cultural heritage that existed before 1778. This step will help in explaining to people the great cultural background that existed, the wonderful stories, the myths and legends.

Recently, I revisited an issue on which the previous Government could not reach a decision - and the Government was not exactly speedy off the mark either - on whether the Pinnacles, an outcrop of rocks at Broken Hill, should be designated as an Aboriginal site of significance. There was much controversy. I had to take to task a Catholic friend because he made fun of the myth of the bronzed-wing pigeon. Although it is not a myth that is known to me or to my culture, it is certainly a myth that was believed by a number of people who were here before us. I said to my friend that although I do not believe that if I travel to Lourdes every year and bathe in the waters at Lourdes I will be healed, there are millions who do, and I respect their belief. The message that we must get across to people is that cultural sites of significance are as real to Aborigines as are cultural sites and spiritual meanings to many religions.

As the honourable member for The Hills said, the honourable member for Keira is a very sincere human being. I have seen much grandstanding and headliners in this business, but the honourable member has done marvellously well. He has mixed with various groups of Aborigines. The interesting thing is that they are not all black Aborigines; there is a myriad of factions and groups and interests amongst those who are the original owners and occupiers of our country. The honourable member has managed to move amongst these people and gain their faith and respect. It is a great credit to him, as I said earlier about Tim Moore. The honourable member for Keira had a hand-picked committee. It was strange to begin with because it was a left-wing committee of the party but we had the great right-wingers Wes Davoren, the former member for Lakemba, Doug Shedden, the honourable member for Bankstown, and George Thompson, the honourable member for Rockdale. Those members, regardless of their past factional and party politics, were keen to do something.

There were city dwellers, the honourable members from Lakemba, Rockdale and Bankstown, and John Mills, the honourable member for Wallsend. They were urban people and were keen to learn about the great culture and the stories and worth of Aboriginal people as a whole. This legislation comes after a long struggle. I kept explaining to Peter Thompson of Wilcannia again and again that it would happen next session, but it now looks like it will happen this session. The honourable member for Keira has done marvellous work in that regard with Peter Thompson, the Mootwingee land council and all the people who were involved. I hope that the people in my area, particularly in Broken Hill, will see that Mootwingee will become a great asset for Broken Hill. Broken Hill is coming almost to the end of its mining life, but we are hoping to find more mines. Aboriginal Australians have always had a most magnificent cultural background of their own.

Ms FICARRA (Georges River) [4.34]: It is moving to see the great level of bipartisan support for this significant piece of legislation, which goes a long way towards the national reconciliation process. The fact that there are so many speakers on both sides of the House indicates that the Opposition, and I am sure the Government, wants statements on record that are supportive of the legislation. This historic bill seeks to amend the two acts - the National Parks and Wildlife Act and the Aboriginal Land Rights Act - to enable five New South Wales national parks to be handed back to their traditional Aboriginal owners for care and management purposes.

Aboriginal ownership as such in this bill is a form of conditional ownership. Nevertheless, management and care and control of those lands is very important to the traditional owners. These designated lands will be reserved under the National Parks and Wildlife Act for their cultural significance to Aborigines. The bill will enable these lands to be vested in one or more Aboriginal land councils whilst simultaneously being rereserved under the National Parks and Wildlife Act and leased to the Minister for the Environment. The parks will remain open to the public and be leased back to the Government and controlled by joint boards of management with a majority representation by traditional Aboriginal owners.

The bill recognises Aboriginal law and custom and the traditional ownership of the lands. However, not all Aboriginal communities are satisfied that the bill goes far enough, especially when compared to
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Federal legislation covering significant Northern Territory Aboriginal lands. Some Aborigines might believe that their communities are being coerced into lease agreements and subsequent management schemes that establish a new form of domination rather than self-management. I note that Cindy Johnson, a spokesperson for the Aboriginal Land Council of New South Wales, referred to the legislation as being a "token effort comprising too much ministerial power". The bill does not confer any general entitlement to land and the decision about whether a park is listed in schedule 4 as a site of cultural significance is at the discretion of the Parliament.

The vesting of title in the Aboriginal Land Council after negotiations must be sanctioned by Parliament and can be disallowed by either House. Such arrangements can be contrasted with Kakadu National Park where the Aboriginal land trust has been given a perpetual freehold in an estate in fee simple, generally equated with full ownership. However, the bill is a significant step forward in the national reconciliation process. The parks involved are the Mungo National Park near Mildura, Mount Grenfell Historic Site near Cobar, Mootwingee National Park near Broken Hill, as we have heard from the previous speaker, Mount Yarrowyck Nature Reserve near Armidale, and of course Jervis Bay National Park, south-east of Nowra. The areas involved total more than 100,000 hectares to be managed jointly by Aboriginal owners, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, representatives of the national Aboriginal Land Council, local government, local conservation groups and neighbouring owners.

The bill begins to address, as has been said by previous speakers, recommendation 315 of the 1991 report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, aimed at protecting and preserving the rights and interests of Aboriginal people who have a cultural, historical and traditional association with national parks. The negotiation of leaseback arrangements enables conditional titles to land to be transferred to Aboriginal owners, subject to the lease of the area to the relevant State authority on payment of rent to the Aboriginal owners and the ongoing joint management of the sites. The coalition naturally, as it was originally our legislation, does not oppose the bill. Although, again, we are most disappointed with the lack of consultation that has occurred, as has been mentioned by previous coalition speakers.

It is not just the lack of consultation with the coalition but also with some of the traditional Aboriginal landowners of the sites under consideration in this bill and sites likely to come under future consideration. It is the height of hypocrisy for the Minister to say that consultation has been an ongoing process for the past five years. Most of the significant consultation was carried out by the coalition and the committee referred to by previous speakers. Indeed, it was Tim Moore in 1991 who introduced the legislation and it was supported at the time by both sides of the House, as this bill is now.

The bipartisan legislative committee, which was established by the coalition, conducted approximately 30 meetings, as we heard from the honourable member for Keira and the honourable member for Broken Hill, as part of its consultative process in 1992-93. This process was in relation to the original bill. As a result of this consultation, amendments were proposed and this bill is the result of those amendments. One would have expected at least a large public forum convened by the department and Minister with all relevant interest groups to assess the legislation. But, yet again, the final product is dished up to the coalition at the last moment. Not even the Aboriginal Land Council had adequate notification about this legislation. Hence, it had only a short time in which to discuss the bill with the Opposition. Its representatives were most apologetic about that when they came for a briefing with the Opposition.

The Opposition hates to be repetitive about consultation on environmental legislation, but it is highly significant if there is to be ongoing bipartisan support. If the Government were sincere in its rhetoric that the bill creates legislative history for the State and is the most significant step forward in the reconciliation process since the Native Title (New South Wales) Act, the people of New South Wales deserve better from the department, such as ongoing dialogue with members of the coalition and crossbenchers over the past 12 months to ensure support for the bill across the political spectrum. Though the Minister has support for this bill, the process could have been carried out a little better. The Opposition supports the bill but does not support the methodology of its introduction.

Aboriginal management and conditional ownership of the land is important to Aboriginal people because of the cultural, social, legal and religious values they place on such land. Hunting, fishing and gathering have important social, cultural and economical significance for Aboriginal people. A positive feature of the bill is its provision for Aboriginal access for hunting and gathering of traditional foods for domestic, ceremonial and religious purposes, subject to the concurrence of the management board and the Minister. Aboriginal people will be given the right of itinerant camping within the parks for cultural purposes, which the coalition supports.

The boards of management will provide significant employment opportunities for Aboriginal people directly and indirectly via the awarding of contracts. Currently the National Parks and Wildlife Service employs 70 Aborigines. Let us hope that number increases in the future. The boards will secure a partnership in park management between relevant interest groups and Aboriginal owners. Care, control and management will be undertaken by the boards via a plan of management, and supervision of funds from the National Parks and Wildlife Service will be carried out in respect of the land. The public will have an input into these plans of management.

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The leases cover a term of at least 30 years with unlimited successive renewals of at least 30 years if each party agrees. Regular lease and management reviews will be conducted under the National Parks and Wildlife Act. The payment of rent by the service to compensate land councils and Aboriginal owners for the loss of sole property rights through the leasing arrangements will be consistent with the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The rent will be determined by negotiation and if agreement cannot be reached the Valuer-General will make the final decision. All rental income will be ploughed back into the ongoing management of the parks via the boards and their special accounts.

If disputes arise in this management process, there will be a clearly outlined arbitration mechanism that will bind all parties. This bill recognises that Aboriginal people should control the protection and promotion of their culture and heritage. For far too long Aboriginal policy has been marked by seemingly unobtainable promises and exaggerated rhetoric, but little of improved economic, social and environmental outcomes for indigenous people. The current generation has acknowledged the injustices of the past and the failure of previous governments to produce results with improved health, housing, education and employment opportunities. Today we are better informed about Aboriginal culture, spiritual and social beliefs, and achievements, and appreciate the depth and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders.

Community support for the national reconciliation process is growing stronger by the day. As numerous polls have shown, the majority of Australians support equal opportunity, economic independence and a restoration of self-respect for our indigenous people. This bill helps recognise and respect the distinct cultures and traditions of our indigenous people. It creates the balance between Aboriginal standards and government administrative procedures when registering landownership. Power sharing will give us national parks of rich natural and human heritage. The bill creates an active partnership between the National Parks and Wildlife Service and traditional owners in the management of land recognised as culturally significant.

The bill goes a fair way towards addressing the issues of indigenous rights, but everyone acknowledges that there is still a long way to go. The Opposition does not oppose the bill; rather it acknowledges that Australians share an intertwined history with our indigenous people and, importantly, we look forward to a harmonious and fruitfully shared destiny. More and more is being learnt about the role of indigenous land use, in creating and maintaining landscapes and ecosystems. This bill will further that knowledge for the benefit of all Australians. The coalition does not oppose the bill.

Ms ALLAN (Blacktown - Minister for the Environment) [4.45], in reply: I thank honourable members from both sides of the Chamber for their contributions to the debate: the honourable members for Wakehurst, Murray, The Hills, South Coast and Georges River and, of course, my colleague the Parliamentary Secretary for Aboriginal Affairs, the honourable member for Keira, as well as the honourable members for Wallsend and Broken Hill, and my ministerial colleague the Minister for Land and Water Conservation.

If I were to ask anyone to name Australia's three most internationally famous national parks, I am sure they would list Kakadu National Park, Uluru National Park and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. If I were then to ask what Kakadu and Uluru have in common, surely the answer would be that they are owned by Aboriginal people and, of course, for those really in the know, they are leased back to the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, which represents the Commonwealth Government. The National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Aboriginal Ownership) Bill is strongly influenced by the excellent model developed for Uluru and Kakadu.

A number of speakers in this debate have already referred to the fact that in 1992 the report of the Legislation Committee upon the National Parks and Wildlife (Aboriginal Ownership) Amendment Bill was tabled by Mr Paul Zammit, former member for Strathfield and then committee chairman. Of course, Mr Zammit has moved on to bigger and better things in the Federal Parliament. Membership of the committee at the time included the honourable member for Murray, Mr Jim Small; the honourable member for Burrinjuck, Mr Alby Schultz; the honourable member for Ermington, Mr Michael Photios; Dr Terry Metherell, former member for Davidson; Mr Kim Yeadon, now the Minister for Land and Water Conservation; the honourable member for Keira, Mr Col Markham, now Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs; and the honourable member for Wallsend, Mr John Mills.

The chairman, Mr Zammit, in his foreword to the committee's report, highlighted the former coalition Government's objectives for the proposed Aboriginal ownership bill of the former Minster for the Environment, Tim Moore. These objectives were as follows; firstly, the return of certain lands of specific cultural significance to the Aboriginal community; secondly, the provision through a board of management for the Aboriginal community to have the principal responsibility for the management of those lands in cooperation with the National Parks and Wildlife Service; and thirdly, the retention of the status of those lands as a national park, historic site or nature reserve with associated rights of access and enjoyment of them by the Australian community.

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The committee made 29 recommendations to improve upon the 1992 bill, which it believed were "crucial if the legislation is to satisfy the Government's objectives and fairly meet the needs of the Aboriginal community". I share with the House, if it has not already been apparent in this debate, that many of those recommendations are included in the bill being debated. It should be noted that in preparing its report the committee received 47 individual submissions from a variety of individuals and interest groups. Some of these included the Broken Hill Aboriginal Land Council; the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry; the New South Wales Bar Association; the Shires Association of New South Wales; the Australian Conservation Foundation; the Hon. Tom Lewis, a former Premier; Mr Burnum Burnum; and, of course, the National Parks Association of New South Wales Incorporated.

In addition to those written submissions, the committee received evidence from 59 people, including Mr John Coombs, QC, then President of the Bar Association; Mr Nicholas Cowdery, QC, then Chairman of the human rights committee of the Bar Council; Ms Gertie Darrigo, Chairperson of the Cobar Aboriginal Land Council; Mr William Bates, Chairperson of the Mootwingee Aboriginal Land Council; and the honourable member for Gosford when he was Minister for the Environment. Although the honourable member made a contribution at that time, unfortunately he has not had an opportunity to speak on this bill, nor have his coalition colleagues. I appreciate that he may have been discouraged from speaking by the Opposition Whips because the Government is trying to get the legislation dealt with while the Parliament is sitting. I am pleased that the honourable member for Murray, a former committee member, has offered his support for the bill.

As I said in my second reading speech, this issue has been on the agenda since 1992. The honourable member for Georges River in her contribution disparaged the important consultation process that occurred. That is not a relevant comment. When the Parliament conducts a formal consultation process many individuals come forward and make sincere and valid contributions. Once the process is complete they expect action to occur as a result of their contributions. It is unfortunate that the action did not occur at the time, but that does not invalidate the contributions made. It is not relevant to criticise all the consultation as somehow irrelevant to this debate. We are still essentially debating that bill. It is only through the persistence and commitment of the Labor Party, in particular the honourable member for Keira - and this has been widely acknowledged by members on both sides of the Chamber today - that this Aboriginal ownership bill has the broad support of Aboriginal people, local Aboriginal land councils and the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council.

It is a significant achievement in itself to get consensus across those groups for this legislation. Throughout 1994 to 1996 detailed consultation with traditional owners and land councils has taken place in relation to this bill. There has not been a hiatus in the consultation process. Indeed, a number of groups have been involved in direct consultation, including the Mootwingee Aboriginal Land Council and its traditional owners, the Cobar Aboriginal Land Council, the Wilcannia Aboriginal Land Council, the Northern Region Aboriginal Land Council and six local councils within that region, the Gerrinja Aboriginal Land Council and the Barkingee traditional owners. These groups cover all five areas listed in the bill. Consultation has focused on these communities because they are directly affected by the bill.

The coalition's true colours on this issue were evident in 1993, the International Year of Indigenous People, when it failed to reintroduce an Aboriginal ownership bill that included the recommendations of the Legislative Assembly committee's report. The coalition again showed a lack of commitment in 1994 when it failed to support the Aboriginal ownership bill introduced by my colleague the honourable member for Keira. The honourable member for Keira acknowledges that the bill we are now debating is a significant improvement on his bill. This bill sends a clear signal to all Aboriginal people that the Carr Labor Government is committed to the reconciliation process. If there is anything short of total bipartisan support for this bill, the comments made by Mick Dodson, the Aboriginal Social Justice Commissioner, in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald linking government ambivalence to an increase in black deaths in custody are valid.

This bill has its origins in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. I reiterate the point I made in my second reading speech. The linked ownership of national parks can be found in recommendation 315 of the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. The objective of the recommendation is to protect and preserve the rights and interests of Aboriginal people with cultural, historical and traditional associations with national parks through the negotiation of lease-back arrangements which enable title to the land on which national parks are situated to be transferred to Aboriginal owners subject to the lease of an area to the relevant State authority on payment of rent to the Aboriginal owners. Mick Dodson reminded us of that fact in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald. On the other hand, if the Government was to accede to some of the amendments being touted at present - not by any member in the House, but they have certainly been touted around the corridors of this building in the past few days -

Mr Hazzard: Not by the coalition.

Ms ALLAN: I made that point; the honourable member should have listened in the first place. If the Government was to accede to
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amendments relating to granted title to traditional owners and leased back to the National Parks and Wildlife Service it would not honour the spirit of the royal commission recommendation. Those suggestions demonstrate a total ignorance of the recommendations by the people touting them. Any lessening of this arrangement would be an insult to traditional Aboriginal owners of the lands identified in the bill, who clearly expect that the land will be theirs in fee simple.

The former coalition environment Minister, Tim Moore, who has shown himself to be a champion for the rights of Aboriginal people, has acknowledged that this bill is a vast improvement on his 1992 bill. In the past few days I have been made aware that Tim Moore has urged his former coalition colleagues to support the bill, and I appreciate the indications that his campaign has been successful. The bill seeks to amend the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 to provide for Aboriginal ownership and subsequent joint management of areas of cultural significance to Aboriginal peoples that are dedicated or reserved under the National Parks and Wildlife Act, and to ensure that their status is maintained for the benefit of all people.

The bill provides that with the agreement of the land councils concerned the Minister responsible for Crown lands may, provided the lands are of cultural significance, grant land claims made under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act on the condition that the lands are administered in accordance with the provisions of this bill. As I have already said, the director-general will also have authority to transfer the ownership of Aboriginal relics, including ancestral remains, to the Aboriginal owners of the property in accordance with Aboriginal tradition. These three actions will significantly advance the cause of Aboriginal reconciliation in this State and herald in a new era of cooperative land management for specific State national parks.

I have already said that the bill is landmark legislation for New South Wales. For the first time in the legislative history of this State Aboriginal law and custom will be recognised. Traditional cultural ownership of land is recognised as being distinct from property ownership. The role of the Aboriginal owners, together with the role of Aboriginal land councils, is clarified and melded into a management partnership with the National Parks and Wildlife Service; local government, despite the comments of the honourable member for South Coast; environmental interest groups, despite some of the letters I have seen in the past few days; and, importantly, the neighbours of these national parks.

The bill also protects the rights and interests of native title holders. At present the bill initiates these arrangements for five areas that have long been recognised for their cultural significance to Aboriginal people and this State. The bill, subject to the final determination of the Parliament, allows for other areas of cultural significance to be similarly recognised and come under the provisions of the bill, but always to be subject to the final determination of the Parliament. I shall comment on some of the hysteria that has emerged in recent days about the recognition of traditional hunting and gathering rights in the five areas included in the bill. Of all the members opposite who contributed to the debate, the most eloquent on this issue was undoubtedly the honourable member for The Hills. The legal framework for Aboriginal subsistence activities in national parks and nature reserves, such as hunting and gathering natural and exotic resources, already exists. It is already permissible by virtue of the National Parks and Wildlife Land Management Regulation 1995, part 8 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 and the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

Under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 Aboriginal land councils can negotiate already with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, or any other land-holder for that matter, so that its members can have rights of access to national parks estate for traditional hunting and gathering activities. In circumstances where permission is granted it is on the basis of consistency with the law, so people visiting national parks will not have their picnics disrupted by gunfire. Full recognition is given to public safety and administrative due process, in conjunction with park management. Contrary to what some people have said, that does not mean that Aboriginal people are or will be driving around national parks with guns, wantonly shooting wildlife, or people for that matter.

Harvesting of common wildlife species, such as kangaroos, has been taking place on an informal basis in Mootwingee National Park for the last 10 years. Permission is given to certain specified members of the Mutawintji Local Aboriginal Land Council to take or kill fauna for ceremonial and other purposes, for example, for use by the local Aboriginal land council in discovery programs, which are also public education programs. This is not something new. In both Kakadu National Park and Uluru National Park - a matter which has been referred to by the honourable member for Keira in his contribution to the debate - traditional owners are permitted to hunt and gather traditional plant and animal foods. I would like to quote from the Kakadu National Park draft plan of management which was released for public comment earlier this year. In a section of the draft plan entitled "Using the Country" the draft plan states:
      The traditional owners of the land in the park expect to benefit from the resources of their land so far as this agrees with the park lease agreements, the provisions of any governing legislation and the plan of management . . . The traditional owners must be able to continue their traditions of harvesting resources in the park. Harvesting of resources may involve the use of modern tools -

in other words, we do not have to use our hands -
      They also require the chance, where it is appropriate and does not detract from the conservation value of the park, to be able to develop new ways of benefiting from park resources in ways that are ecologically sustainable.

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So at some future point in time new technology might be able to be introduced in Kakadu. This gives clear recognition to the fact that hunting and gathering of native foods by Aboriginal people is a traditional right. I urge those who criticise this right to focus on hunting and gathering as a traditional right rather than to focus on the implements that Aboriginal people may choose to use. I assure this House that through fostering a close relationship between the traditional owners and the National Parks and Wildlife Service as joint managers there will be no conflict between traditional owners who practise traditional hunting and gathering rights and visitors to the park and reserves identified in this bill.

Since the introduction of the bill I have held discussions with a range of stakeholders, including representatives of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council and peak conservation groups, as well as members of the Opposition and several members of the Legislative Council. As a result, I foreshadow some amendments which I will seek to move in Committee. First, the bill currently requires that plans of management for schedule 14 lands be prepared by boards of management before being submitted to the Minister administering the National Parks and Wildlife Act for consideration and adoption. I propose to amend the bill so that the board of management refers the plan of management to the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council for consideration and comment before it is submitted to me, as Minister.

Second, the bill currently prescribes that in circumstances where Aboriginal ownership of schedule 14 lands or Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 lands have not been identified, the Minister for the Environment is to consult with the Minister administering the Aboriginal Land Rights Act before appointing a negotiating panel from Aborigines who, in the Minister's opinion, have a cultural association with the lands concerned. I propose to amend the bill so that the Minister administering the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 will be responsible for appointing the negotiating panel. Third, the bill prescribes that in circumstances where parties are unable to agree on the rent to be paid for schedule 14 lands the rent will be fixed by the Valuer-General. I propose to amend the bill so that in circumstances where the parties do not agree on the rent to be paid a mediator acceptable to the Minister for the Environment and the relevant Aboriginal land council or councils must be appointed.

If this matter cannot be resolved through mediation we propose that the Minister administering the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 must then request the Valuer-General to fix the rent to be paid, and this decision would be final. This is as a result of the urgings of the honourable member for Wagga Wagga. Fourth, the bill requires that in circumstances where schedule 14 lands are vested in more than one Aboriginal land council they are held by those councils as joint tenants. I propose to amend the bill to take account of possible problems which may arise in situations where schedule 14 lands are vested in more than one land council and one of the land councils is dissolved. As joint tenants, through the right of survivorship, the remaining land council or councils could assume the dissolved council's interest. To prevent such a situation arising I propose to amend the bill so that where lands are vested in more than one Aboriginal land council and one but not all of the councils in which the lands are vested is dissolved, on the constitution of a new Aboriginal land council or councils the lands vest in the new council or councils for the interest held immediately before the dissolution of the council or councils.

Fifth, section 40AA of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 currently prevents Aboriginal land councils from selling, leasing, exchanging, disposing of, mortgaging or dealing with land vested in them, subject to native title rights and the interest, unless the land is the subject of an approved determination of native title. This effectively will prohibit the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council or local Aboriginal land councils from dealing with any land claims considered under the National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Aboriginal Ownership) Bill. I propose to amend the bill so that section 40AA of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act will not apply to any leases of land by either the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council or local Aboriginal land councils to the Minister administering the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

I give an assurance to the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council and peak environment groups that have demonstrated a strong interest in ensuring that this bill achieves its aims that I will review the legislation in two years. Furthermore, while the bill allows for land to be vested only in land councils, the issue of vesting in corporations of traditional owners has been raised with me by the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council. I undertake to examine this issue in the context of that review. Finally, I will ensure that when the register of traditional owners is established the privacy of those owners will be protected by appropriate regulation. In conclusion, this bill clearly responds to the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and it will positively contribute to the Government's commitment to Aboriginal reconciliation. I am proud to be able to commend the bill to the House.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time.
In Committee

Schedule 1

Ms ALLAN (Blacktown - Minister for the Environment) [5.08]: By leave, I move Government amendments Nos 1 to 11:
      No. 1 Page 13, Schedule 1[21], lines 7-13. Omit all words on those lines. Insert instead:
          (2) The Minister administering the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 may, for the purposes of the conduct of negotiations under this Division in circumstances referred to in subsection (1), appoint a negotiating panel from Aboriginals to
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represent Aboriginals who, in the Minister's opinion, have a cultural association with the lands concerned.
      No. 2 Page 13, Schedule 1[21], line 22. Insert "administering the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983" after "Minister".
      No. 3 Page 13, Schedule 1[21], line 25. Omit "the Minister". Insert instead "that Minister".
      No. 4 Pages 13 and 14, Schedule 1[21], line 29 on page 13 to line 3 on page 14. Omit all words on those lines. Insert instead:
              (2) The Minister administering the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 may, for the purposes of the conduct of negotiations under this Division in circumstances referred to in subsection (1), and after consulting the Aboriginal owners of the lands concerned or any group representing them concerning nominees to the negotiating panel, appoint a negotiating panel from the Aboriginal owners to represent Aboriginals who have a cultural association with the lands concerned.
      No. 5 Pages 17, 18 and 62, Schedule 1[21] and Schedule 2[7], line 25 on page 17, line 10 on page 18 and line 8 on page 62. Insert "(without the benefit of survivorship)" after "joint tenants" wherever occurring.
      No. 6 Page 28, Schedule 1[21], line 32. Omit "fixed by the Valuer-General". Insert instead "otherwise fixed".
      No. 7 Page 29, Schedule 1[21], lines 22-27. Omit all words on those lines. Insert instead:
              (5) If the parties are unable to agree on the rent to be paid, the matter is to be referred to a mediator, experienced in valuation matters, selected by, and acceptable to, the Minister and the Aboriginal Land Council or Councils.
              (6) The regulations may make provision for and with respect to the mediation of a matter under this section including the remuneration of mediators and the exoneration of mediators from liability.
              (7) If the mediator is unable to resolve the matter within a reasonable period, the Minister may request the Valuer-General to fix the rent to be paid.
              (8) The Valuer-General, in fixing the rent, is to have regard to the matters referred to in subsection (4) and any other matters that the Valuer-General notifies to the parties and considers to be relevant. The decision of the Valuer-General as to the rent is final.
      No. 8 Page 48, Schedule 1[21]. Insert after line 3:
              (3) If lands to which this Part applies are vested in more than one Aboriginal Land Council and one or more but not all of the Councils in which the lands are vested are dissolved, on constitution of a new Aboriginal Land Council or Councils to replace the dissolved Council or Councils, the lands vest in that new Council or those new Councils for the interest held immediately before the dissolution by the dissolved Council or Councils.
      No. 9 Page 50, Schedule 1[22], lines 5-11. Omit all words on those lines. Insert instead:
              (1I) The board of management must, on the expiration of the period referred to in subsection (1H), refer the plan of management, and any representations forwarded to the board of management, to the Council for its consideration and advice.
              (1J) The board of management must then submit the plan of management to the Minister together with any comments or suggestions of the Council.
              (1K) The Minister is to consider the comments and suggestions of the Council before adopting the plan of management.
      No. 10 Page 50, Schedule 1[22], line 14. Insert "and the Council" after "board of management".
      No. 11 Page 50, Schedule 1[22], line 25. Omit "(1L)". Insert instead "(1M)".

Mr HAZZARD (Wakehurst) [5.09]: These amendments form only a small part of the amendments that need to be made to the bill. I acknowledge, as I did in the second reading debate, that the Minister for the Environment has consulted with a number of groups over the last few days. The Opposition will support these sensible amendments, which provide:
      The Minister administering the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 may . . . appoint a negotiating panel from the Aboriginal owners to represent Aboriginals who have a cultural association with the lands concerned.

Given the negotiation and consultation that occurred prior to the introduction of this legislation, the coalition supports such a provision. The Opposition notes the importance of Government amendment 4, but is still quite concerned that traditional owners may not have been consulted to the relevant extent, despite what the Minister said. At least the amendment goes part of the way to ensuring that traditional owners, people who have cultural association with the land, will be represented on the panel.

In regard to Government amendment 7, the coalition welcomes the provision for reference of disputes to a mediator. Hopefully when determining the value of the rental the result will be arrived at on good terms between the parties. Prior to the Minister moving these amendments I suggested that the amendment needed to convey that there is an obligation on the Minister to request the Valuer-General to fix the rent to be paid in the event that the mediator cannot resolve the issue. The coalition did not want the Minister to be able to effectively sit on the request to the Valuer-General to determine the rent. The wording that was to be used in the amendment was that the Minister may request the Valuer-General to fix the rent to be paid, and after discussions the Minister has agreed that it is more appropriate to provide that the Minister must request the Valuer-General to fix the rent to be paid. The Opposition believes that is a sensible amendment moved in the Government's name, but following discussion with the coalition in the last half an hour.

The coalition is concerned that it appears the rental will be determined once every five years, and an awful lot can happen in five years. From the way the bill is drafted I am not sure how rentals will be determined every five years, because this provision
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seems to apply only to the commencement of the lease; it does not apply to the reviews that are going to occur every five years. The Minister or her advisers may have some better understanding of that and will be able to advise me later. Hopefully, if that matter has not been addressed, it might be addressed when the bill goes to the upper House. Having said that, the coalition remains supportive of the broad thrust of this legislation and certainly will not oppose these amendments.

Amendments agreed to.

Schedule as amended agreed to.

Schedule 2

Amendment by Ms Allan agreed to:
      No. 12 Page 62, Schedule 2. Insert after line 13:
    [8] Section 40AA Disposal of land subject to native title restricted
    Insert at the end of section 40AA:
      (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to or in respect of the lease of land by the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council or one or more Local Aboriginal Land Councils to the Minister administering the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 under Part 4A of that Act in accordance with a condition imposed under section 36A(2).

Schedule as amended agreed to.

Bill reported from Committee with amendments and passed through remaining stages.