The Aboriginal Lands Trust (“Trust”) was established by the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act 1966, and provided for the transfer of land by the Crown to the Trust, to be held and managed for the ongoing benefit of Aboriginal South Australians.
The land holdings are mainly former missions and reserves that were vested in the Trust when it began. But the Trust also holds land that has been transferred to or purchased by the Trust.
The members of the Trust are appointed by the Governor (i.e., on advice from the Minister and Cabinet). The Trust may lease, mortgage or otherwise deal with Trust Land or develop the land. Both Houses of Parliament are required to approve the sale of land by the Trust.
The Trust may use its funds for economic development and improvement of Trust Land and the purchase of further land. The Trust holds title to 65 properties comprising well over 500,000 hectares of land. The objects of the Trust under the Act are;
(a) enabling the Trust to acquire, hold and deal with Trust Land in accordance with this Act for the continuing benefit of Aboriginal South Australians; and
(b) ensuring that Trust Land is not alienated except in accordance with this Act; and
(c) establishing mechanisms for the efficient and effective administration of the Trust; and
(d) providing for the efficient and effective management and development of Trust Land; and
(e) ensuring Aboriginal people with an interest in particular Trust Land are consulted, and their views considered, in any decisions relating to that Trust Land; and
(f) increasing opportunities for economic development on Trust Land.
The Trust meets these responsibilities by organising the leasing of land to Communities and managing natural resource management programs to improve the condition of the land. The Trust seeks and has been granted funds from various organisations to undertake land care projects in conjunction with Aboriginal Communities and other landholders. These projects not only benefit landholders, but enabled the Trust to take a more direct and proactive role in working directly with local Aboriginal Communities, individuals and both State and Federal government agencies.
The Trust is an Instrumentality of the Crown enabled by the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act 2013.
Find more information about the Aboriginal Lands Trust Act here.