What Land Councils Must Do

The functions and responsibilities of the Land Councils are set out in the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976

Functions and Responsibilities

Section 23 of the Act says the functions of a Land Council are to:

  • Find out and express the wishes of Aboriginal people about the management of their land and legislation about their land.
  • Protect the interests of traditional Aboriginal owners of, and other Aborigines interested in, Aboriginal land; assist Aboriginal people to protect sacred sites, whether or not on Aboriginal land.
  • Consult traditional Aboriginal landowners and other Aborigines interested in Aboriginal land about proposals for the use of their land. negotiate on behalf of traditional landowners with people interested in using Aboriginal land and land under claim.
  • Assist Aboriginal people claiming land and, in particular, arrange and pay for legal assistance for them.
  • Keep a register of Land Council members and members of Aboriginal Land Trusts and descriptions of Aboriginal land.
  • Supervise and assist Aboriginal Land Trusts. In carrying out its functions, the Land Council must consult with traditional landowners and other Aborigines with an interest in the land. Landowners must give their consent before the Land Council enters into an agreement, or takes any action affecting their land. The Land Councils also have statutory responsibilities and duties to:
  • Attempt to conciliate a dispute between Aborigines regarding land matters.
  • Hold in trust, and distribute to Aboriginal associations, statutory payments from the ABTA to communities affected by mining operations and income received on behalf of landowners under negotiated agreements.
  • Process applications for permits to enter Aboriginal land.