Who we are
Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council is a not-for-profit organisation with 80% of its income directed back to services for members.
It is one of Australia’s leading Local Aboriginal Land Councils, providing health, home ownership, transport, employment and training services to Aboriginal people across south-west Sydney.
It is also one of the single largest landowners in both the Liverpool and Sutherland Shire Council areas, owning more than 1500 hectares.
Gandangara has a vision for its land that will see benefits delivered to local residents, to the natural environment, to home buyers and to Aboriginal people.
Local Aboriginal Land Councils – a new sort of developer
Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) are not your average developer. They are not-for-profit organisations that have goals directed at improving the lives of Aboriginal people.
Their not-for-profit status allows them to consider a greater range of non-commercial aspects of their projects such as achieving best-practice, sustainable outcomes.
NSW law provides compensation to Aboriginal people for hundreds of years of dispossession. Unused Crown land can be granted to LALCs freehold. This means land councils do not have added pressure of profit margins and high costs faced by major private corporations.
As Aboriginal people, LALCs take seriously their inherent responsibility to care for the land and natural environment and ensure their projects are sustainable in the long term.
Land management is a major part of this and at Heathcote Ridge Gandangara will remediate massive areas of degradation and contamination at its own expense.
Gandangara is committed to going over and above the requirements for a project such as Heathcote Ridge.
It has established an expert Sustainability Reference Group to provide advice on making Heathcote Ridge one of the best-integrated and sustainable communities in Australia.
The Gandangara Vision
Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council has a vision.
The vision is to create a sustainable, economic foundation on which to build the long-term independence of Aboriginal people.
This is a vision not dependent on welfare for its realisation, but a vision built on professional work, mutual commitment, partnership and initiative.
At its heart is a strong desire for Aboriginal people to work with partners to help “close the gap” in education, health, home ownership, economic status and respect for culture and community.
This is a model that is viable and local. It involves local Aboriginal people taking control of their assets, managing them in a way that is consistent with their values around environmental and cultural protection and to support them in achieving independence through its many services.
Eighty per cent of funds raised by Gandangara’s projects are directed to an independently audited Future Fund for essential services for Aboriginal people such as:
- Gandangara Education and Training Service – which works with TAFE and Woolworths to give Aboriginal people the skills to get a job and keep it;
- 114 Family Medical Practice – the first Aboriginal owned and run medical centre in Australia that operates without Government funding;
- Gandangara Transport Service – which provides transport services for elderly or disabled people who are travelling to school, medical appointments or simply need to do shopping; and
- an early intervention program – helping to identify children early on who have learning delays or disabilities and ensure they are school ready.
Gandangara currently employs 35 staff and has in place a strong internal governance structure headed up by a ten-person board. The board is elected by members of the Gandangara Local Aboriginal Land Council and makes decisions about the types and nature of the services mentioned above, including the Future Fund.
Watch the video to see how the Heathcote Ridge development will help fund action to bring to life Gandangara’s vision to bridge the gap between Aboriginal people and the broader community in employment, education, health and wealth creation.
Recent projects undertaken by Gandangara include the Gandangara Estate at Barden Ridge. This involved 2 stages of development:
- 41 lots for housing completed in 2005
- 39 lots for housing completed in 2010 – 2011
Features of this development include a central recreation area, creation of a bushfire protection buffer as well as conservation and water management works.
Other Gandangara project sites include an eco-subdivision of 10 lots at Sproule Road, Illawong.
This development application, currently being assessed by Sutherland Shire Council, involves an innovative approach to housing in a natural setting.
The houses are strictly limited in number and location in order to preserve the natural beauty of the site and achieve conservation and bushfire management.
A project team has been established to provide the necessary professional and technical expertise required to investigate and refine the proposal. The project team includes:
Australian Bushfire Protection Planners