Wednesday, 16 August 2006
Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment Bill 2006
If we are dealing with the amendment that relates to ministerial approval, which is the amendment that I thought we were dealing with and the one that was moved yesterday, the Greens support it. Sorry for the confusion. This amendment relates to ministerial approval or variation of a delegation if a land council refuses to do so. The amendment, I believe, makes more rigorous the minister’s power to approve a delegation if a land council refuses to do so. That relates to the additional things that the amendment requires the minister to consider, such as that the body has a sound governance framework and prudent management and that the majority of traditional Aboriginal owners of the region represented by the body consent to the delegation. Those two are important considerations in that at the moment, as I understand it, the minister could approve a delegation to a land council that in fact may not have a sound governance framework and prudent management.
As the original land body is still responsible for the carrying out of its functions, it is important that, where decision-making powers are delegated, a land council does in fact have a sound governance framework and prudent management. This amendment gives more rigour to the decision-making process, gives more certainty to the land councils that the body that the powers will be delegated to in fact has a sound governance framework and gives the land councils more confidence that the powers being delegated will be appropriately used in a satisfactory manner. We support this amendment to give more rigour to that decision-making process.