Land councils, also known as Aboriginal land councils, or land and sea councils, are Australian community organisations, generally organised by region, that are commonly formed to represent the Indigenous Australians (both Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islander people) who occupied their particular region before the arrival of European settlers. They have historically advocated for recognition of traditional land rights, and also for the rights of Indigenous people in other areas such as equal wages and adequate housing. They are created under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976.
Some states, such as the Northern Territory, have laws that provide for the existence of land councils and allocate them responsibilities for representing Aboriginal people in various matters. Other states do not have such laws, or have laws that provide for the existence of Aboriginal organisations that do not call themselves land councils, to provide functions similar to those provided by land councils in some states. An example of this is in Victoria, where there are laws providing for organisations called "Registered Aboriginal Parties", which provide functions in relation to Aboriginal people similar to those provided by land councils in other states and the NT.
Most land councils provide representation and organisation in relation to native title matters for Indigenous people, and receive funding from the Australian Federal Government to do this work. (However, federal native title laws do not require such representation and organisation to be provided by land councils, and there are other types of organisations that also provide these kind of services.) Most land councils were formed from the late 1970s onwards, to gain native title and other forms of Aboriginal land rights.
Some land councils are governed by other, larger councils, which federate multiple local land councils for representation at the state and federal level.
List of current councils by state
New South Wales
- NSW Aboriginal Land Council (oversees 120 local land councils)
- Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council
- Central Land Council covering the southern part of mainland Northern Territory
- Northern Land Council covering the Top End, the northern part of mainland Northern Territory
- the Tiwi Land Council covering Tiwi Islands north of Darwin
- the covering Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
- Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation
- Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation
- Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation
- Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation
- Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation
- Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (GMTOAC)
- Taungurung Land and Waters Council Aboriginal Corporation
- Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation (trading as Wadawurrung)
- Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation
- Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation (YYNAC)
- "Victoria's current Registered Aboriginal Parties". Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council. 31 July 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
- "Victoria's current Registered Aboriginal Parties". Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council. 31 July 2019.
- "Native title representative bodies and service providers". National Indigenous Australians Agency. 16 March 2016.
- "Home Page". National Native Title Tribunal.
- "About Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice". Australian Human Rights Commission.
- "Social Justice Reports Index". Australian Human Rights Commission. - Annual reports of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner on social justice matters since 1993
- "Native Title Reports". Australian Human Rights Commission. 29 November 2015. - Annual reports of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner on native title matters since 1994