Aboriginal Lands Act

​​​​​​​​​​​​Consultation is open now on proposed amendments to the Aboriginal Lands Act 1995 until 24 July 2022.

The review of the Act has highlighted areas where the Act could be improved. The Consultation Paper outlines how the Government proposes to address these issues under the following headings:

  1. Extending the scope and intent of the Act to meet community expectations; 

  2. Enabling broader and more inclusive representation on the ALCT electoral roll; 

  3. Simplifying the process for land return by creating a new instrument of transfer for significant parcels of Crown land; 

  4. Expanding provisions for local or regional Aboriginal community organisations to play a role in land management; 

  5. Creating transparent processes and clear criteria for proposing and assessing land for return; and 

  6. Clarifying the role of the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania and require reporting of administrative and land management activity.

The consultation paper can be accessed here:

The passing of the Aboriginal Lands Act 1995 (“the Act”) by the Tasmanian Parliament was recognised as a historically important development in the relationship between Tasmanian Aboriginal people and the broader Tasmanian community. 

The Act established the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania (ALCT), an autonomous body elected by Aboriginal people, as a statutory authority with responsibility for the use and sustainable management of “Aboriginal land”. 

ALCT holds that land in perpetuity for all Tasmanian Aboriginal people. The Act outlines the functions and powers of ALCT and establishes the mechanism for electing members to the Council. 

By the end of its first decade in operation, the Act had been the means of returning more than 55,000 hectares of Crown land to ALCT, on behalf of Tasmanian Aboriginal people. However, since 2005 there has been no significant return of Crown land. 

The return of more land to its original custodians forms a crucial part of the Tasmanian Government’s Reset Agenda.  

How to have your ​say

The Government is open to hearing all views and is prepared to modify its proposed approach in light of constructive comments and suggestions.

The details of the new legislation are intended to be released for further consultation later in 2022. This will be in the form of a Draft Exposure Bill.

We are accepting submissions until 24 July 2022. 

You can make a submission online:


Alternatively you can email or post submissions:

​Email Submissions

​Mail Submissions
​Review of the Aboriginal Lands Act 1995
NRE Tasmania
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7001


We intend to publish all submissions made. If you are concerned about confidentiality, please consider the information in the Consultation Paper about how we intend to publish submissions and your rights in this regard.

Privacy a​nd co​pyright information

Other than as indicated below, submissions will be treated as public information and will be published on our website, and the text below.

No personal information other than an individual’s name or the organisation making a submission will be published.

Important Inf​ormati​on to note

Your name (or the name of the organisation) will be published unless you request otherwise. 

If you would like your submission treated as confidential, whether in whole or in part, please indicate this at the time of making your submission, clearly identifying the parts of your submission you want to remain confidential and the reasons why. In this case, your submission will not be published to the extent of that request. 

In the absence of a clear indication that a submission is intended to be treated as confidential (or parts of the submission), the Department will treat the submission as public.

Copyright in submissions remains with the author(s), not with the Tasmanian Government.

The Department will not publish, in whole or in part, submissions containing defamatory or offensive material. If your submission includes information that could enable the identification of other individuals, then either all or parts of the submission will not be published.

Righ​​​​​t to Informa​tion

Information provided to the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania is subject to the Right to Information Act 2009. If you have indicated that you wish for all or part of your submission to be treated as confidential, this will be taken into account by the Department in determining whether or not the information is exempt from disclosure in the event that it is subject to an application for assessed disclosure under the Right to Information Act. The Department may contact you during this process.

Nex​​t steps

We are committed to working closely with you to ensure we get the amendments to the Aboriginal Lands Act right. 

Following analysis of your feedback we will develop a Draft Exposure Bill.  We will seek comment on that toward the end of 2022, prior to finalising the Bill for introduction to Parliament early in 2023.

We are aiming to have the new legislation passed by Parliament and in place in mid-2023.

Background to Previous​​ Consultation on the Act

During August and September 2018, the Department of Communities Tasmania, which was responsible for administering the Act at that time, consulted with the Tasmanian community about the model for returning land to Aboriginal people. 

A Discussion Paper was developed to support the consultation. The Discussion Paper and the Final Feedback Report are available below:

 Discussion Paper - Improving the model for returning land to the Aboriginal community (PDF 214Kb)

 Community Consultation and Stakeholder Feedback Report - Review of the Model of Returning Land to the Aboriginal Community (PDF 1Mb)

There is also a good deal of relevant evidence and commentary in the Pathway to Truth-Telling and Treaty​ (PDF) report prepared by Professor​s Kate Warner and Tim McCormack. 


For further information on the review of the Aboriginal Lands Act please contact the Aboriginal ​Legislation Team at: aboriginallandsact@nre.tas.gov.au​​​