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Mt Grenfell Lease: Cobar Local Aboriginal Land Council Lease to the Minister for the Environment

Date: 17 July 2004
Sub Category:Lease
Place:Mount Grenfell
State/Country:New South Wales, Australia
Alternative Names:
  • Mount Grenfell Historic Site: Cobar Local Aboriginal Land Council Lease to the Minister for the Environment
  • Mount Grenfell Historic Site Co-Management Agreement
  • Subject Matter: | Consultation | Cultural Heritage | Employment and Training | Environmental Heritage | Land Management | Land Transaction | Land Use | Native Title | Recognition of Traditional Rights and Interests | Tourism
    Summary Information:
    The Mount Grenfell Historic site is an Aboriginal rock art site. It is located approximately 50 kilometres from Cobar in Central West New South Wales. It was handed back to its traditional owners, the Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people, on 17 July 2004. The Cobar Local Aboriginal Land Council Lease to the Minister for Environment (the Lease) is a rental agreement by which the site is leased back to the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

    The Lease provides that the site is to be jointly managed by the NPWS and the Aboriginal community via a Board of Management. The Board is to be composed of a majority of Aboriginal owners, as well as representatives from the NPWS and the community. The Board is expected to be established and operational during the 2004-2005 financial year.
    Detailed Information:

    General Provisions

    Part 1 of the Lease Agreement acknowledges that the lands are held by the Cobar Local Aboriginal Land Council on behalf of the Aboriginal owners. It acknowledges that the Land Council must act in the best interests of the Aboriginal owners and will not exercise its functions without consulting and obtaining their consent. Part 1 also recognises that the Parties agree that the Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people's freehold title is inalienable and neither the Land Council nor the Minister will deal with the lands without the written consent of the other. The parties also agree that future additions to the lands are desirable, and agree to conduct talks regarding purchase of nearby land should it become available. No land can be added however, without the agreement of the Board and the Land Council.

    Specific Provisions

    Native Title
    The Parties acknowledge that the lease does not affect native title rights and interests which may exist over Mount Grenfell lands.

    Acknowledgment of Principles
    The Parties also acknowledge certain principles in the negotiation of the Lease. These include a regard for:

  • Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan cultural values;
  • The special significance of the lands for the Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people;
  • The nature conservation values of the lands; and
  • The fact that the nature conservation values form an integral part of the cultural values of the lands.

    Terms of the Lease
    The Lease is to be for a period of 30 years expiring at midnight on 16 July 2034. It may be renewed for an unlimited number of terms, but each lease period must be for a further 30 year period. The process of renewal of the lease is set out comprehensively, as are provisions for review. Any decision to vary, amend or renew the lease requires the consent of all the Parties. The Parties agree that the rent to be paid is to be an amount of $30,000 (Australian) per annum (subject to certain amendments (see Part 6.9) and five yearly review). It is agreed that the purpose of this amount is to compensate the Land Council for the fact that it does not have full use and enjoyment of the lands. The Lease also lists the matters taken into account in negotiating the rent.

    Cobar Local Aboriginal Land Council
    Part 7 of the Lease sets out the roles and responsibilities of the Cobar Local Aboriginal Land Council. The Land Council and its employees must comply with the provisions of the National Parks and Wildlife Act (1974) including those dealing with animals, plants and vegetation. The Land Council holds any other property (apart from Aboriginal cultural items) it receives with the Mt Grenfell lands for use as directed by the Board. Land Council members undertaking voluntary work approved by the Board are to be insured for any injury sustained during such work. The work is to be supervised by Service staff.

    Part 8 sets out the obligations and undertakings of the Minister pursuant to the Lease. These include matters relating to:

  • Aboriginal training and employment;
  • Giving effect to the decisions of the Board;
  • Indemnification of the Board;
  • Consultation of the Board regarding change of legislation applying to the lands, but not applying solely to the lands;
  • Consultation of the Board regarding the making, repealing or amending of regulations applying solely to the lands;
  • Minister's powers to direct the Board;
  • Exercise of statutory powers on the lands by employees of the Minister;
  • Accepting gifts etc on behalf of the Aboriginal owners;
  • Accepting gifts on behalf of the Board; and
  • Delegation of the Minister's powers.

    Similar provisions are set out in Part 9 with respect to the responsibilities and obligations of the Director-General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service. These also include matters relating to:

  • Financial management and accounting systems;
  • Promotion of the lands;
  • Land management arrangements with neighbours; and
  • Annual report information on the lands.

    Board of Management
    Part 10 deals with the obligations of the Board. The Parties acknowledge that the 'care, control and management' of the lands are to be vested in the Board. These provisions deal with matters including:

  • Obligations of the Board and employees to observe land management statutes;
  • Membership;
  • Development of annual budget proposals;
  • Board Meetings and quorum;
  • Protocols and procedures for conduct of business of the Board;
  • Voting at Board meetings;
  • Appointment of Aboriginal owner Board members;
  • Terms of office of Board members;
  • Financial supervision by the Board;
  • Preference to be given to Aboriginal organisations in contracting for certain services;
  • Cultural awareness training; and
  • Direct dealings with other government departments.

    Joint Management Principles and Issues
    Part 11 of the Lease sets out the provisions for the joint management of the lands. It establishes that a Regional Manager will implement Board decisions by giving appropriate directions to service staff. Two permanent full-time positions are to be created being a ranger (or trainee ranger), and a field officer (or trainee field officer). These positions are to be held by Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people. All service positions are to be subject to the Public Sector Management Act.

    Land Management Principles and Issues
    Part 12 of the Lease comprehensively sets out the provisions relating to land management. The Land Council is to own, and the Board is to control, all items of Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan heritage located on the lands. The Parties acknowledge that the public has a right of general access to the lands, and that the principles guiding the Board regarding management of public access are:

  • The promotion and enhancement of the appropriate use, understanding and enjoyment of the lands;
  • Ecological sustainability;
  • Equity; and
  • Regional planning.

    The Parties also agree that the public's right of general access will be subject to any restrictions declared by the Board. Several of these are detailed in the Lease. The Parties also acknowledge the rights of the Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan people to use and occupy the lands in accordance with tradition and with decisions of the Board relating to health, safety and privacy. Detailed provisions relating to a variety of land management issues are also set out. These include matters relating to:

  • Acknowledgement of hunting rights;
  • Planning and building approvals;
  • World heritage issues and the Wilderness Act 1987 (NSW);
  • Community development;
  • Park entry and user fees;
  • Tour operator permits; and
  • Training.

    It is also agreed that a Plan of Management will be prepared by 31 December 2004.

    The Lease also sets out a range of miscellaneous provisions for dispute resolution between the Parties, taxation, granting or renewal of licenses and permits, public liability and workers compensation insurance, intellectual property, and the registration of the Lease.

  • Related Entries

  • Director-General of the National Parks and Wildlife Service (New South Wales)
  • National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW)
  • Cobar Local Aboriginal Land Council - Signatory
  • Event
  • Mount Grenfell Historic Site Land Transfer
  • Legislation
  • National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW)
  • People
  • Minister for the Environment (New South Wales) - Signatory
  • Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuwan People

  • References

    New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service - Department of Environment and Conservation, (2004) Mt Grenfell Lease: Cobar Local Aboriginal Land Council Lease to the Minister for the Environment



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