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Buying your dream home - make sure you check before you pay

We all know that finding your dream home can take many gruelling months scouring through adds, open homes, bidding at auctions, chatting to agents & heart break when you miss out.

So essentially a lot work, effort & money but when you find what you love & can afford, its full steam ahead.

You contact your bank, get the in-laws to check it out, do your pest inspection, building inspection, advise your conveyancer / lawyer, do a strata search on the records and so it goes but have you thought of checking the local council records & more.

Maybe there is a park near by that is ideal for the kids, a sports ground to train at every morning, beautiful nature views or a stunning beach to stroll on & you will surely be able to use if for a long time to come - as it's public land.

Or is there ? Well yes & maybe no.

Locals were stunned when they heard about the claim on an supposedly unused reserve, near Balmoral beach. The claim was made under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act of 1983, which allows Land Councils to claim 'unused Crown land'.

The land claim near Balmoral Beach was lodged in 2009 and covers approx 2700sq m of Lawry Plunkett Reserve opposite The Esplanade.

The land is tended by bush care volunteers and used by families for picnics and recreation & has been for many years.

Balmoral beach aerial shot

Many locals were not even aware of the claim & developing the site is not out of the question, should the claim be successful.

Head of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council Nathan Moran has been quoted he was " trying to claim as much land as we can " to " re-compensate for loss".

It has been said that there are more than 40,000 outstanding land claims waiting to be determined in NSW.

Mr Moran said " Aboriginal land claims are not about cultural significance, ... about whether they are able to be claimed "

Mr Moran also said they are not looking to kick people off the land they claim, they offer licences for continued usage & continued relationships.

Land Claims

Aboriginal communities in NSW can claim land to compensate them for historic dispossession of land and to support their social and economic development.

The Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALRA) was introduced to compensate Aboriginal people in NSW for dispossession of their land.

The ALRA enables Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) to claim Crown Land, that is, land in NSW that is owned and managed by the State Government. LALCs can have land transferred to them in freehold title if at the time of the claim the land is, among other requirements:

  • Able to be lawfully sold or leased

  • Not lawfully used or occupied

  • Not needed nor likely to be needed as residential lands

  • Not needed nor likely to be needed for an essential public purpose including nature conservation

  • Not impacted by Native Title (registration application or determination).

The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs has no role or power to determine Aboriginal Land claims in NSW. The role of determining land claims resides with the Minister administering the Crown Lands Management Act 2016, currently the Minister for Water, Property and Housing, and for claims made in the Greater Sydney region the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.

Successful claims result in the transfer of land in freehold title to the claimant LALC.

LALCs can develop and/or sell land based on the decision of their members and with the approval of NSWALC. However, land acquired under the NSW land claims process after 1994 is subject to Native Title and the Commonwealth Native Title Act 1993.

LALC land acquired under the land claims process is held in freehold title and is subject to all prevailing planning, environmental management, and cultural heritage legislation.

The land claim process in NSW is summarised below:

  • A LALC or NSWALC on behalf of a LALC, may make claims over Crown Land not needed for an essential public purpose or legally used and/or occupied.

  • Land claims are lodged with the Registrar of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (ALRA) and referred to the Minister administering the Crown Lands Management Act 2016 for investigation and determination.

  • Once the Minister administering the Crown Lands Management Act 2016 is satisfied that either whole or part of the land is claimable or not, the land claim is either granted or refused, wholly or partly.

  • Granted land is then transferred to the relevant LALC as freehold title.

  • LALCs in NSW are not required to establish cultural association with land when making a land claim.

Further related links :

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