Aboriginal land claims approved at Mathoura

New Aboriginal housing may be developed in the Riverina town of Mathoura by Moama Local Aboriginal Land Council after two Aboriginal land claims were approved by the NSW Government.

Three blocks of Crown land will be transferred as freehold to the land council following the successful claims processed by the Department of Planning and Environment – Crown Lands.

The Aboriginal land claims cover 0.75 hectares of land across three separate blocks in Mathoura.

Moama Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO John Kerr said he was very happy with the result and it was hoped Aboriginal housing could be developed on the blocks.

“I’m stoked and our board and community will be very pleased with this outcome,” Mr Kerr said.

“They are good blocks of land located in town so we want to explore opportunities to build more Aboriginal housing as there is an absolute need for it in this region.”

Moama Local Aboriginal Land Council hopes an Aboriginal housing model being explored in Albury can be carried over to support housing on the land blocks in Mathoura.

Albury and District Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Dennis Mirosevich said philanthropic investment to develop more Aboriginal housing at Albury was being explored through Orbit Futures, which he founded.

“We are planning to develop about 200 modular homes in Albury and will latrer explore opportunities for housing with Moama Local Aboriginal Land Council,” Mr Mirosevich said.

Crown Lands Executive Director of Aboriginal Land Strategy Michael Ramalli said under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, Crown land can be claimed by Local Aboriginal Land Councils if it meets statutory criteria, including not being needed for an essential public purpose.

“The land rights process unlocks social and economic benefits for Aboriginal communities by returning land,” Mr Ramalli said.

Since the Aboriginal Land Rights Act commenced in 1983, the NSW Government has granted or part-granted 3,885 Aboriginal land claims with 164,032 hectares of land transferred to the ownership of Aboriginal Land Councils.

So far for 2021/22, 443 Aboriginal land claims have been granted or part granted which is the highest number of grants since the Act commenced.

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