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The Constitution, Objects and Functions of NSWALC are set out in Part 7 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (1983).

These essentially give NSWALC the mandate to provide for the development of land rights for Aboriginal people in NSW, in conjunction with a network of Local Aboriginal Land Councils through:

Land acquisition either by land claim or purchase
Establishment of commercial enterprises and community benefit schemes to create a sustainable economic base for Aboriginal communities
Maintenance and enhancement of Aboriginal culture, identity and heritage (including the management of traditional sites and cultural materials within NSW).
NSWALC also acts as an advisor to, and negotiates with, Governments, and other stakeholders, to ensure the preservation of Aboriginal land rights.

Under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (1983), NSWALC is empowered to do the following:

administer the NSWALC Account and Mining Royalties Account

grant funds for payment of the administrative costs and expenses of Local Aboriginal Land Councils.

acquire land on its own behalf or on behalf of, or to be vested in, Local Aboriginal Land Councils

determine and approve/reject the terms and conditions of agreements proposed by Local Aboriginal Land Councils to allow mining or mineral exploration on Aboriginal land

make claims on Crown lands, either on its own behalf or at the request of Local Aboriginal Land Councils
with the agreement of the particular LALC, manage any of the affairs of that Council

conciliate disputes between Aboriginal Land Councils or between Councils and individuals or between individual members of those Councils

make grants, lend money or invest money on behalf of Aboriginal people

hold, dispose of or otherwise deal with land vested in or acquired by NSWALC

ensure Local Aboriginal Land Councils comply with the Act in respect of the establishment and keeping of accounts and the preparation and submission of budgets and financial reports

advise the Minister on matters relating to Aboriginal land rights

exercise such other functions as conferred or imposed on it by or under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (1983) or any other Act.

The State's Land Council network operates as a two tiered structure, comprising the peak body, NSWALC, which operates from Parramatta and five of Zone offices in Dubbo, Queanbeyan, Coffs Harbour, Broken Hill and Gosford, and 120 Local Aboriginal Land Councils, which are governed by elected Boards.

Every four years, voting members of Local Aboriginal Land Councils vote for a Councillor to represent their region.
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