Local Government in Queensland - Twentieth Century - Indigenous Councils

Indigenous Councils

In the mid-1980s, with the passage of the Community Services (Torres Strait) Act 1984 and Community Services (Aborigines) Act 1984, many former Aboriginal reserves and missions (particularly in the Cape York region) and several Torres Strait islands were granted by way of a Deed of Grant in Trust to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities. Formally recognised management bodies known as Indigenous community councils (or DOGIT councils) were set up to administer the land covered in the deed on behalf of the community. These bodies had quite different responsibilities to traditional local governments due to the nature of land ownership involved and the different relationship of the council to the community. In 2005–2007, as part of the Queensland Government's response to the Cape York Justice Study undertaken by Justice Fitzgerald QC in November 2001, these bodies became "Aboriginal Shire Councils" and "Island Councils" and obtained additional powers associated with local governments. A considerable number of them were amalgamated in 2008 into either the Torres Strait Island Region or the Northern Peninsula Area Region which are Local Government Act bodies with special features, with lower-order community councils once again managing individual deeds and grants.

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