Changes to ATSIC legislation


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Indigenous AffairsConsultation process for caveated property
Friday, 31 May 2019
Publication author(s):
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Publication abstract:

Read about what has changed, and why it has changed.

What has changed?

  • The Australian Government holds caveats over 2800 grant-funded property titles owned by 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations. Caveats are a legal warning that someone other than the owner holds an interest in a property.
  • Former ATSIC legislation stopped the Government from removing its interests in these properties unless they were being sold, transferred or mortgaged.
  • The change means the Government can now have an open conversation about whether it should keep these caveats or remove them.

Why has it changed?

  • The Australian Government is committed to working in partnership with Aboriginal   and Torres Strait Islander communities to progress self-determination.
  • The old legislation meant ATSIC property grants have been treated differently from other grants, and Australian Government agencies have had varied approaches to dealing with organisations disposing of property.
  • At the same time, assets of significant value to the Indigenous estate are not identified or protected under current policies.
  • This situation has created red tape, uncertainty and complexity for organisations dealing with their own properties.  
  • The law has been changed so a new, consistent Australian Government policy can be developed and applied.



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