Update on amendments to APY Land Rights Act

The Anangu Lands Paper Tracker has continued to follow what has been happening with the the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights (Miscellaneous) Amendment Bill 2016 since it was introduced in Parliament on 22 June 2016. This draft legislation has been introduced in order to change the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Rights Act 1981, and will make a number of significant changes to the Act, many of which have not been discussed with Traditional Owners of the APY Lands.

The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation introduced the draft legislation followed by the first and second readings in the Legislative Council on 22 June 2016.

On 7 July, in response to the second reading, the Hon Tammy Franks MLC addressed the Legislative Council. You can read the full Hansard transcript, which sets out her comments on the draft legislation. She raised a number of important issues including her concern that the intention seemed to be to rush the draft legislation through Parliament without adequate time for proper consideration and consultation. She highlighted concerns about the proposed changes to the way in which conciliation is provided and how complaints will be treated – in particular, the proposed powers of the Minister to appoint or remove a conciliator based on ‘any reason the minister sees fit’. She is calling for the conciliators to be as independent as possible so that they can deal with complaints in an impartial and fair manner.

Tammy Franks raised concerns about what she described as the ‘offensive increase of the powers of the minister over the APY Executive Board, to dismiss them for any reason the minister saw fit without due process, without appropriate reasons…’ She indicates that the Greens will be addressing this issue during the further discussions about the amendments.

She also commented on the proposed changes to the electoral roll, in particular the proposal that Anangu tjuta have to have lived in an electorate for at least three months before they can vote in that electorate. This will have implications for people who have left the Lands to access education and/or health services such as dialysis; it will also affect people who are in prison. The Bill does not adequately address the issue of absentee votes and how these will be managed.

The second reading debate on the Miscellaneous Amendment Bill continued in the Legislative Council on 26 July 2016. The Hon Terry Stephens spoke and throughout his contribution, posed questions to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation and requested that the Minister provide him with answers before the debate is concluded. He raised a number of issues, including the lack of consultation with APY communities; the proposed gender balance on the APY Executive Board; the reduction in the number of electorates to seven; the eligibility requirements for people nominating for the Board; the establishment of a panel of conciliators and the powers of these conciliators; changes to the voting procedure; and absentee voting, among others. Terry Stephens requested that the Minister provides answers to the questions that he had raised, and the debate was adjourned.

You can read Terry Stephens’ full speech in the Hansard transcript.

The second reading debate continued on 27 July 2016, with commentary from the Hon J.A. Darley, the Hon Tung Ngo and responses from the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconcilition, the Hon Kyam Maher. The full Hansard transcript of these discussions can be found here.

For previous Paper Tracker posts on this topic, click here and here.

The Paper Tracker works hard to provide accurate and up-to-date information. We will correct any inaccurate information as soon as it is brought to our attention. Please contact us if you have additional information or can provide us with an update.