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Aboriginal land council welcomes site approval in Lake Macquarie

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The Biraban Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) has welcomed the news a block of land, within the Lake Macquarie LGA, will be returned to the Indigenous community.

The NSW Government recently granted the allotment, 0.2 hectares on the corner of Gosford and Ourimbah streets in Awaba, to the organisation.

It’s also located 500m from the town’s railway station.

Crown Lands executive director of Aboriginal land strategy Michael Ramalli said the acreage should benefit the community.

“This undeveloped block of land adjoins houses in the middle of Awaba and it’s also not far from bushland,” he explained.

“But, it will be up to the Aboriginal community to determine the most appropriate use of it.”

Biraban LALC acting chief executive officer Krystal Saunders admitted they were “stoked” to hear the land claim was approved.

“We are looking at developing housing in Awaba for the Aboriginal community, aged care or a community centre, so these are all things we will discuss,” she said.

“It could be good to connect with country.

“We could host cultural activities for kids and go to the surrounding bushland to teach about bush tucker and bush tools.

“It’s always better to teach people on country than going to a classroom.”

Under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, Aboriginal land claims on Crown land are assessed by the Department of Planning and Environment – Crown Lands against statutory criteria, including whether the land is lawfully used or occupied.

If the land is found to be claimable, it is returned to the Aboriginal land council as freehold land.

Mr Ramalli said the NSW Government was working to accelerate the processing of more Aboriginal land claims in the region.

“The returning of land to Aboriginal land councils via the land claims process supports economic, social and cultural outcomes for Aboriginal communities,” he added.

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