60. Northern Land Council & the Land Rights Act

Nikunu Yunupingu and Richard Trudgen continue the conversation about the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and the role of the Northern Land Council. The confusion that Yolngu landowners have about their rights and the role of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act is enormous.

These conversations are approached from the perspective of Yolngu people’s questions so their worldview and linguistic confusion (around the real meaning of English words) can be unpacked. This always leaves Richard a little confused as he’s  not sure where the Yolngu co-producers are coming from until there’s a lot of investigation done around the depth of their confusion. For example, people have no idea about the land rights act itself and the authority it has transferred to them as landowners. So in this podcast Section 77A is discussed at length.

This program works from the position that the Australian parliament tried to transfer the traditional rights of Aboriginal people back into their hands, despite the Parliament having little or no understanding of Traditional Law. So a council of Aboriginal people called the Northern Land Council was established to ensure landowners rights were clearly respected. However this demands a two-way process where good information is given to the general Yolngu population and clear communication is brought back to the Land Council in its meetings. From conversations in this series it becomes clear that council members, along with the landowners, have little understanding of their rights. It was thought that the government or the Land Council workers themselves are making decisions for the landowners. There is a lot more conversation that needs to happen regarding this subject.

There are 4 stories in this podcast. Please see time stamps below-

  • Who has the power to approve mining on Yolngu Land – 00:00
  • Section 77A Aboriginal Land Rights Act – 8:43.213
  • Working through Section 77A Aboriginal Land Rights Act – 17:18.065
  • Wong consultation method should be Section 77A – 27:17.348