The NSW Government has approved an Aboriginal land claim over the former Boolaroo Police station site at Speers Point.
The land claim has been assessed by the Aboriginal Land Claims unit within the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and approved by the Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin said the former NSW Police station site in Main Road, Speers Point has been vacant since the opening of the new Toronto Police Station in March 2017.
“Under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983, an Aboriginal Land Council can lodge claims over Crown land,” Mr Martin said.
“If the assessment of a claim against statutory criteria in the Act determines the land is claimable Crown land then the land is granted and transferred to the Land Council.
“A land claim on the former Police station site was lodged by Biraban Local Aboriginal Land Council and has been approved following an assessment process under the Act.
“The granted land covers about 1,841 square metres across three lots that include the 1970s-constructed former Police station and a house connected to the station.
“The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment will transfer the site to Biraban Local Aboriginal Land Council as freehold land that it can put to use.”
Biraban Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Ashley Williams said the former Police station will be used as the Land Council’s office and for shared community space.
“Our current office costs about $60,000 a year in rental fees so securing this land is awesome news that will save us a lot of money that we can put back into our programs to support the community,” Ms Williams said.
“Local community groups will also benefit from access to these facilities.”
Minister Pavey said the NSW Government was committed to the Aboriginal Land Rights process to support economic, social and cultural outcomes for Indigenous communities.
“Over 1,500 NSW land claims were assessed in 2019-20 with 280 land grants approved.
This was the highest number of claims ever processed and grants ever made in a single year since the Aboriginal Land Rights Act was introduced in 1983.
“More than 150,000 hectares of land have now been granted to Local Aboriginal Land Councils through Aboriginal Land Claims since the Aboriginal Land Rights Act began,” Minister Pavey said.