Laws aim to 'remove barriers' to indigenous home ownership

ABORIGINAL and Torres Strait Islander people will have greater opportunities to own a home after new legislation was introduced into State Parliament aimed at removing barriers to homeownership in indigenous communities across the state.

Premier Campbell Newman said today that the new legislation would provide ordinary freehold land ownership opportunities for the first time since the first tenures were created over Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the nineteenth century.

"The important legislation will give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a long-wished-for dream . . . the opportunity to be instrumental in shaping their communities and their families' lives in a way they have not been able to previously," he said.

"This initiative will remove barriers to home ownership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities."

Mr Newman said the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land (Providing Freehold) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill was not only an important step, but a vital step for indigenous communities across the state.

"It will not only give economic independence and create opportunities, but it will also provide local communities greater confidence and self-determination," he said.

"This move also empowers local councils by allowing them to demonstrate leadership in the vital area of homeownership.

"They will be allowed to guide the future direction of their communities to a much greater extent."

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs Minister Glen Elmes said the proposed legislation allowed indigenous Queenslanders the opportunity to own their own home on their traditional lands.

"This bill recognises the important connection with land for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their right to own a home on that land," he said.

"The bill does not force freehold on any community; it provides the power for communities which want freehold to be able to have it."



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