REGISTER OF ABORIGINAL OWNERS
Under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW), the Registrar must keep and maintain a Register of Aboriginal Owners: a register of Aboriginal people who have a cultural association with an area of land in New South Wales. The relevant part of the Act is in Division 3, sections 170 - 175
An entry in the Register records the name of the Aboriginal person, the location of the land and the nature of the cultural association.
A person's name can only be entered on the Register of Aboriginal Owners if the person:
- is directly descended from the original Aboriginal inhabitants of the cultural area in which the land is situated
- has a cultural association with the land that derives from 'the traditions, observances, customs, beliefs or history' of the original Aboriginal inhabitants
- has given consent to have their name added to the Register.
PRIORITIES IN ESTABLISHING THE REGISTRAR OF ABORIGINAL OWNERS
Under section 171 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, the Registrar must give priority to entering the names of Aboriginal people who have a cultural association with land that is
- listed in Schedule 14 to the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, or
- subject to provisions of section 36A of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.
These are lands that are or will be jointly managed as a national park or conservation reserve. 'Schedule 14' lands are areas of high conservation value that are recognised as culturally significant to Aboriginal people. Land subject to section 36A of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act is Crown land which would be claimable under the Act, but which is needed for nature conservation
PRIVACY OF INFORMATION ON THE REGISTER
Information in the Register of Aboriginal Owners is used only for the purpose of registering an individual as an Aboriginal owner. Personal information is available only to that person on their request. It cannot be requested or accessed by a third party.
The Registrar can conduct a search of the Register of Aboriginal Owners to find out if there are Aboriginal owners of a particular area, if asked to do so in relation to the 'Aboriginal cultural heritage consultation requirements for proponents 2010'. [PDF]