Greater economic opportunities for Indigenous Australians in Newcastle

Minister for Indigenous Australians

Newcastle’s Indigenous service provider Awabakal Ltd has successfully freed up $27 million in capital for the region’s Indigenous population, thanks to the successful implementation of 2018 legislation introduced under the Coalition Government.

Minister for Indigenous Australians, The Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, said 12 Commonwealth caveats have been lifted from 30 Newcastle properties, freeing up capital to be invested back into the community, and creating additional opportunities for Indigenous home ownership.

“This legislation has enabled self-determination, entrepreneurship and business development by removed unnecessary restrictions on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission properties, and unlocking the potential of the land,” Minister Wyatt said.

“Reinvestment back into the community creates substantial opportunities for Newcastle’s Indigenous community, allowing them to participate further in the local economy.”

In a joint statement the Awabakal Ltd Chairman Edward Smith and CEO Raylene Gordon said the economic boost “would allow our organisation to expand our services across the region, increase our property management portfolio and build new homes for our community”.

Located in suburbs across the Hunter, including Maryland, Belmont North, East Maitland, Edgeworth, Hamilton North, New Lambton, Wallsend, and Cardiff South, the properties were previously caveated under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the Aboriginal Development Commission and regulated by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Amendment Act 2005.

“The amendment to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Amendment Act 2005, means Indigenous organisations now have the flexibility to manage their assets, rather than having to seek Commonwealth consent each time they wish to dispose of a property,” Minister Wyatt said.

“While the properties impacted in Newcastle are a small portion of the 2,800 Indigenous-owned properties that were held under Australian Government caveats in 2018, this example shows the potential economic benefits for Indigenous organisations and communities across the country”.

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