Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania makes demand over state Crown land

Michael Mansell
Michael Mansell

The Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania wants excess Crown land returned to the state's Aboriginal community, rather than sold off for government revenue.

The government over the weekend announced it had commenced with the sale of surplus land through real estate agents.

Tasmania Parks and Wildlife have each land parcel assessed for its natural and cultural heritage values prior to its release.

It will also liaise with councils regarding development of the land in accordance with individual planning schemes.

Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania chairman Michael Mansell said any "excess" land was actually Aboriginal land and should be returned to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.

"If the Gutwein government is to dispose of Crown land, the Aboriginal community must be front and centre because this is actually our land in the first place," he said.

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Mr Mansell said the Premier had pledged progress on land returns earlier this year.

"If Premier [Peter] Gutwein is going to identify, market and sell public land that is no longer required, justice for the original and rightful owners of that land must take priority," he said.

"Returning surplus Crown land to the Aboriginal Community would be a small instalment and demonstration of good faith as Premier Gutwein leads Tasmania into a process of truth-telling and treaty with Aboriginal people."

"When Aboriginal interests are sidelined for a government fund-raising scheme, we are again left with nothing.

"No land, no justice and no real faith that anything will change."

More than 55,600 hectares of Tasmanian land has been returned to the Aboriginal community, however, no land has been returned since 2006.

A government spokesperson said the majority of land parcels under consideration for sale were small residential parcels.

"Although there are a couple of larger rural-type properties," they said.

"Parcels that are identified as potentially or likely to have cultural values or that may be suitable for land return will not be included in the sales program."

This story Land handback proposal from Aboriginal leader first appeared on The Advocate.