Friday, November 03, 2006

Brough pushes for further destruction of Aboriginal rights in Australia

by Elliot K - Perth Indymedia 2006-10-04 11:08 AM +0800

October 4, 2006. Mr Brough says the Aboriginal Lands Trust permit system is "inhibiting economic growth" of Aboriginal communities. The permit system, ntroduced in 1972 is designed to help protect the privacy of Aboriginal communities, preserve Aboriginal heritage and culture, safeguard the natural environment and to promote visitor safety...
Following the abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission in March last year, the Federal government are pushing for further denigration of Indigenous rights in Australia.

The permit system that controls access to Aboriginal land in the Northern Territory has been described as "anachronistic and ineffective" in a discussion paper released by the federal Indigenous Affairs Minister, Mal Brough.

It is necessary to get a permit from a land council, traditional owner or the Northern Territory Government to enter Aboriginal land. Mal Brough believes the system has created closed communities removed from media scrutiny.

A discussion paper released today says the permit system has helped create a "monopoly of silence" in communities that has failed to prevent substance abuse and violence. Mr Brough also says the system is inhibiting economic growth.

The paper proposes several reforms, including open access to all public space and scrapping permits for the media. Another option would designate 'restricted areas' and require Aboriginal people to demonstrate why a site should be restricted.

Mal Brough says the total scrapping of the permit system is also being considered. "Let's not live a lie and say that a permit system is somehow going to keep crooks out of these communities," he said. "Clearly the current permit system doesn't work for Aboriginal communities in protecting them from the sort of concerns people have raised. I think now is the time to re-examine it, listen to what people have to say and to give people an opportunity to be part of the full market economy."


The Aboriginal Lands Trust (ALT) was established by the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972 (AAPA Act). The ALT inherited land previously held by the Native Welfare Department and a number of other State government agencies.

This is made up of reserves (most being reserved for "the use and benefit of Aboriginal inhabitants"), freehold properties, pastoral leases, special purpose leases, one annual renewable lease and one reserve leased from the Water Corporation. The ALT has issued over 200 leases, most of which are for 99 year terms.

The Aboriginal Lands Trust (ALT) is a statutory body established under the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority (AAPA) Act 1972. Under the Act, the ALT has responsibility for the overall management of Aboriginal reserves, many of which are leased by the Trust to Aboriginal community corporations. A permit is required to enter a number of the reserves administered by the ALT.

There are two types of permits:

Transit permits:
are required to enter and pass through Aboriginal reserves subject to Part III of the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Authority Act 1972. These permits are generally issued on a short-term basis and usually apply to people in the following circumstances:
o wishing to visit through reserves for tourism or recreation purposes;
o wishing to travel through reserves for tourism, recreation or business purposes (other than mining purposes);
o Visiting art or cultural centres; or
o doing pre-arranged business with communities (such as doing consultation on matters that are of interest to communities).
Transit permits are not applicable to people wishing to enter reserves for mining purposes, except where entry is required for consultation purposes only.

Mining access permits - are required for
o any mining activity (surveying and/or marking out of tenements, fossicking, prospecting, exploring and mining) on any Aboriginal reserve subject to Part III of the Aboriginal Affairs Planning Act 1972; and

o Travelling through such Aboriginal reserves to access mining tenements outside of the reserve for prospecting, exploration or mining purposes.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs issues mining Entry Permits after seeking the views of the Aboriginal Lands Trust, which in turn must be satisfied that there has been adequate consultation with any resident Aboriginal community and relevant Native Title interests.

ABC News
About Entry Permits - DIA
ATSIC - Wikipedia

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