[I have written this from my own perspective, I hope with sensitivity. It reflects my personal yearning, as a seventh generation white Australian woman, to share in the hope and cultural enrichment offered by the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and to better understand my own history in this country.]
Kate Grenville, a well-known Australian author, tells the story of the day in May 2000 when her perspective on our history changed.
Kate was one of many of us – over 300,000 Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians – who marched across the Sydney Harbour Bridge that year as part of the Bridge Walk for Reconciliation.
As she tells it:
“Almost at the end of the walk, on the southern end of the Bridge, I noticed a group of Aboriginal people leaning against the railings watching us. … At the end of the row, a tall handsome woman frankly staring, as if to memorise each face. Our eyes met and we shared one of those moments of intensity- a pulse of connectedness. We smiled, held each other’s gaze, I think perhaps we gestured with our hands, the beginning of a wave.” (Kate Grenville, Searching for the Secret River, Text Publishing, Melbourne 2006 pp 11-12).
This “pulse of connectedness’ brought home to Kate just how many of these moments – between Indigenous and non-Indigenous – have occurred over the years since English colonisation. It made her think of her earliest Australian ancestor Soloman Wiseman and what his connections with the local people might have been like. It provided the kernel for The Secret River, The Lieutenant and other books exploring first contact and colonialism.
Kate Grenville has her critics, particularly for The Secret River and its telling of a tale not based in literal dated fact. I am not one of them. For me, The Secret River is evocative of a time and place when encounters were raw and new, and shaped by curiosity, fear and misunderstanding. Grenville doesn’t shy away from the violence, the dispossession and the dislocation from the spiritual and material underpinnings of life that came with the colonisers. Instead, she seeks to understand these as sympathetically as possible, without being ever able to truly know the lived experience. The Secret River stands in the place where historical records are silent, where people lived lives orally and not in writing and where things happened that were deliberately unsaid. It tells a story of encounter, from a white perspective, that could belong anywhere in this land and at any time, over a wide span of years.
As I write, it is National NAIDOC Week – with a strong theme of ‘Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!’. The NAIDOC theme “encourages communities to come together and champion institutional, structural, collaborative and cooperative change while celebrating those who have driven positive change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities over generations.”
It reminds us this is a time to maintain the the momentum for change. Words are not enough. Now is the time to get up, stand up, show up for real systemic change to “close the gap between aspiration and reality, good intent and outcome”.
The NSW Government has recently committed to flying the Aboriginal flag on the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a permanent tribute to our first peoples and this land. The Government’s Aboriginal Procurement Policy is building economic resilience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Holding Redlich’s NSW Government clients demonstrate a very real and strong commitment to Indigenous participation, increasingly asking us to build this into our services.
The Commonwealth Government has recently committed to implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
There is real momentum for change.
We need to keep building on that momentum to see real change – and, as I see it, we need to also make this personal as well as political, without diverting from the immediate priority of systemic change.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart invites all Australians to walk together with our first nations people in a movement for a better future. We will do this by constitutional reform (the Voice to Parliament) and a Makarrata process of truth-telling and agreement-making.
The Statement conveys a vision of Australia enriched by the ancient sovereignty of our first nations people shining through. It goes on to say:
“We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.”
This is an incredibly generous offer, and one we should embrace.
At Holding Redlich Sydney, we are privileged to sit in offices high above Sydney.
From my desk, I look out every day across Gadigal, Wangal and Darug lands to Kamay, and up the river and beyond the plains to the lands of the Gundungurra and the Darkinjung.
I imagine the river populated with women fishing in their nawi, and am reminded often of first contact encounters and our impacts as colonisers.
I can see history spread before me, following the paths our white ancestors took as they spread out from the initial settlement at the Tank Stream.
On a clear day, I imagine I can see the flat mountain from which Baiame ascended into the sky – Mt Yengo.
Like Kate Grenville, I grew up in a time and place where I didn’t have connectedness with my Aboriginal brothers and sisters. Of course, we lived amongst each other, but I barely knew it then. In fact, I am only beginning to open my eyes to what it means to be aboriginal in Australia today.
For me growing up, Aboriginal people were the spirits in the bush, the wind, the gullies, the trees – a romanticised feeling of times past and people who had moved on.
I managed to keep this disconnected sense despite actually having an adopted cousin (let’s call him “Joe”), who was very much alive and very much an Aboriginal boy. He lived in WA and only came to stay with us once when I was about six years old. My younger sister and I loved him with a fierce passion that must have been exhausting. In fact, his whole existence with his white adopted family may well have been exhausting.
Joe grew up and went back to find his people. We meant well, but it was nowhere near enough.
Like Kate Grenville, I too am driven to look afresh at my own history and the history of my family in this country.
I believe we must each make a personal journey towards reconciliation – and the more we do this, the better equipped we will be to confidently look our fellow Australians in the eye. To achieve reconciliation requires self-reflection as well as listening, opening our hearts to what it means to suffer inter-generational trauma and structural disadvantage. It also means learning about and celebrating our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their profound and rich cultures.
We acknowledge country regularly now when we travel and when we attend events. That is part of the reflection and growing understanding.
But, there is so much more we can do to grow in our understanding, reflect on our past and personally embrace the vision of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
I know I’m not alone in carrying within me a deep craving and desire to belong to this land and be at one with its people. So, the Uluru Statement from the Heart and its implicit welcome and offer to share culture is incredibly moving.
Let’s get up, stand up and show up this NAIDOC Week and in the coming years to embrace this opportunity!
Author: Christine Lithgow
NSW government seeking orders to block planned industrial action on rail network
The New South Wales government will launch legal action against the rail worker’s union in a bid to end industrial action that has crippled the state’s public transport network, marking the latest escalation in its ongoing battle with public sector unions (4 July 2022). More...
Electronic signature mandate takes effect in NSW
It will now be easier and more affordable for suppliers to do business with the NSW Government, with the much anticipated electronic signature mandate now in effect. From today, all NSW agencies will need to adopt electronic signatures for supplier contracts, which is expected to deliver average savings of $36 per agreement (1 July 2022). More...
NSW Government launches multi-partnership COVID safety campaign via UM
The NSW Government has launched a new COVID-Safety campaign, with a multi-partnership media campaign led by UM Australia. The new work is the latest iteration of the “Little Things” campaign, launched by Ogilvy Network ANZ in May to promote COVID safety practices. (1 July 2022). More...
Travel tribulations set to end as NSW government backs down on rail union’s demands
Commuter chaos could soon be eased for frustrated NSW rail passengers - but now the ‘ball is in the union’s court’. Travel tribulations could soon be eased for frustrated NSW commuters after the state government backed away from its long-term dispute with the rail union (30 June 2022). More...
Northern Rivers employers call for boost to flood package following state's $15 million pledge
Some of the largest employers in the Northern Rivers are calling on the federal and state governments to increase a disaster recovery package to $100 million. The NSW government yesterday announced it would contribute $15 million to a business recovery grant scheme, in addition to $50 million of previously announced Commonwealth funding (29 June 2022). More...
NSW government makes offer to end dispute with rail union over fleet left in storage
The NSW government has made a "once and for all" offer to end a years-long stoush with the rail union which has resulted in industrial action causing chaos for commuters (29 June 2022). More...
Crown's Sydney casino to deliver $100m in extra tax revenue for NSW government in first year, experts say
Crown's Sydney casino is expected to deliver an extra $100 million in tax revenue to the NSW government in its first year, just a quarter of what its Melbourne venue delivers to Victoria's coffers (26 June 2022). More...
Illawarra caravan park permanent residents relieved NSW Government seeking administrator to run operation
Permanent residents of a caravan park in New South Wales say they can "sleep better at night" as the state government seeks to have an administrator take over the operation. The Department of Fair Trading made an application to the Supreme Court on behalf of home owners at the Oasis Village after the operator allegedly allowed the park to fall into a dilapidated state (24 June 2022). More...
AAT Bulletin Issue No.13/2022 27 June 2022
The AAT Bulletin is a fortnightly publication containing information about recently published decisions and appeals against decisions in the AAT’s General, Freedom of Information, National Disability Insurance Scheme, Security, Small Business Taxation, Taxation & Commercial and Veterans’ Appeals Divisions. Read more here.
Supreme Court of NSW Decisions Reserved as at 1 July 2022. Read more here.
Supreme Court of NSW Decisions Reserved as at 24 June 2022. Read more here.
NSW Department of Planning and Environment – Policy changes to boost housing diversity
The Government is making it easier to build more affordable and diverse housing across NSW. “This Government is committed to making housing more affordable and accessible for the people of NSW and we’re pulling every lever at our disposal to make it happen, from shared equity schemes to land tax reform and amendments to planning rules,” stated Brett Whitworth, Deputy Secretary of Planning Policy (1 July 2022). Read more here.
NSW Department of Planning and Environment – New water allocations reflect record rainfall in recent months
“The first allocations for the new water year are exceptional across inland NSW, resulting in greater water security for regional towns and critical needs, as well as improved levels of water availability for general security water users,” stated Allan Raine, Director of Water Planning Implementation (1 July 2022). Read more here.
TfNSW Seeks Local Government Feedback on Freight
The Freight Branch of Transport for NSW (TfNSW) is conducting a short survey to map the current understanding of and activities in freight at the local government level. Information from the survey will help improve how TfNSW engages with local government about freight matters, at an operational as well as a strategic level (27 June 2022). Read more here.
New South Wales Legislative Council Standing Committee on Law and Justice – 2021 Review of the Dust Diseases Scheme
The Dust Diseases Scheme is administered by icare (Insurance and Care NSW), a public financial corporation governed by an independent board of directions that was established in 2015 to consolidate the state's insurance and care schemes. According to icare figures, the Dust Diseases Scheme is currently paying around $120 million in entitlements to workers and dependants each year (June 2022). Read the full review here.
Hughes v Commissioner of Police  NSWCATAD 219
ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW – firearms – revocation of licence – Safe storage requirements – non compliance with regulatory scheme – risk to public safety – public interest.
Administrative Decisions Review Act 1997; Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013; Firearms Act 1996; Firearms Regulation 2017.
Eggleton v Commissioner of Police  NSWCATAD 218
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – government information – review of decisions – access – reasonable search – onus of proof – redaction.
Government Information (Public Information) Act 2009 (NSW); Administrative Decisions Review Act 1997 (NSW); Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 (NSW); Police Act 1990 (NSW); Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth); Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW); Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA); State Records Act 1998 (NSW); Crimes Act 1900 (NSW); Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Regulation 2014 (NSW); Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Vic).
SafeWork NSW v Australian Softwood Pty Ltd  NSWDC 242
CRIMINAL LAW – prosecution – work health and safety – duty of persons undertaking business – risk of death or serious injury; SENTENCE – objective seriousness – mitigating factors – aggravating factors – plea of guilty – general deterrence – specific deterrence – no previous convictions – appropriate sentence – strong subjective case; OTHER – s 19(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW).
Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW); Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW); Fines Act 1996 (NSW); Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW); Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (NSW).
Bathurst Regional Council v Natural Resources Access Regulator  NSWSC 846
ADMINISTRATIVE LAW – judicial review of official caution – effect of caution on legal rights – availability of declaration – establishing basis of alleged error; ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – water – water management work approval – interpretation – condition to maintain outflow equal to lesser of inflow or pipe capacity – condition to release percentage of storage conserved in preceding inflow event – determining volume of releases; ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING – offences – penalty notice offence – use of water supply work otherwise than as approved – effect of official caution.
Fines Act 1996 (NSW) ss 19A, 23A; Natural Resources Access Regulator Act 2017 (NSW), s 4; Water Act 1912 (NSW); Water Management Act 2000 (NSW) ss 91B, 365; Water Management (General) Regulation 2018 (NSW), Sch 7.
Olde English Tiles Australia Pty Ltd v Transport for New South Wales  NSWCA 108
LAND LAW – compulsory acquisition of land – compensation – compensable interests in land – bare licence to occupy land terminable at will by owners – interest had no market value – meaning of “privilege over, or in connection with, land” – claim for compensation for losses attributable to disturbance – Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (NSW), s 4, 59; STATUTORY INTERPRETATION – definition of “interest” in land – interest included “privilege over, or in connection with, land” – reliance on statutory context – consistency of meaning – reliance on object to provide compensation – statute using language of ownership – interest able to be divested, extinguished or diminished by acquisition; STATUTORY INTERPRETATION – precedent – challenge to earlier decisions of Court of Appeal – whether court comfortably satisfied reasoning in earlier decisions wrong – Hornsby Council v Roads and Traffic Authority of New South Wales (1997) 41 NSWLR 151 – Dial A Dump Industries Pty Ltd v Roads and Maritime Services (2017) 94 NSWLR 554;  NSWCA 73 considered; STATUTORY INTERPRETATION – extrinsic materials – legislative history – substantial amendments made without changing effect of precedent.
Crown Land Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (NSW) Sch 4.44; Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (NSW), ss 3, 4, 11, 12, 19, 20, 22, 34, 37, 54, 55, 59, 62; Local Government Amendment (Regional Joint Organisations) Act 2017 (NSW), Sch 2.15; Public Works Act 1900 (NSW), s 117; Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2017 (NSW), Sch 2.22; Regulatory Reform and Other Legislative Repeals Act 2015 (NSW), Sch 1.14.
Health Secretary v New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association  NSWIRComm 1047
EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRIAL LAW – Industrial disputes – Dispute orders.
Industrial Relations Act 1996 ss 135, 136, 137.
New South Wales Nurses and Midwives’ Association v Health Secretary in respect of Hunter New England Local Health District  NSWIRComm 1046
EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRIAL LAW – Awards and enterprise agreements – Interpretation; EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRIAL LAW – Industrial disputes – Relief; EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRIAL LAW – Industrial Relations Commission – Procedure and powers – Arbitration.
Industrial Relations Act 1996 (NSW).
Yu v Commissioner for Fair Trading  NSWCATOD 68
ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW – Property and Stock Agents Act 2002 – Application for certificate of registration as an assistant real estate agent – Fit and proper person – conduct giving rise to charges where applicant found not guilty – failure to provide regulator with relevant material.
Administrative Decisions Review Act 1997 (NSW); Casino Control Act 1992 (NSW); Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 (NSW); Crimes Act 1900 (NSW); Licensing and Registration (Uniform Procedures) Act 2022 (NSW); Property and Stock Agents Act 2002 (NSW).
Tudor v SafeWork NSW  NSWIRComm 1045
WORK HEALTH AND SAFETY – application for external review – provisional improvement notice – notice of motion – frivolous or vexatious – no reasonable cause of action – abuse of process – costs.
Industrial Relations Act 1996; Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
Environment Protection Authority v Forestry Corporation of NSW  NSWLEC 75
SENTENCE – three charges of breaching s 69SA(1) of the Forestry Act 2012 – pleas of guilty by Defendant –agreed facts for sentencing purposes – no potential aggravating factors – consideration of matters mandated by the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 – consideration of Defendant’s subjective factors – extent of contrition and remorse – extent of likelihood of reoffending – other subjective factors favourable to Defendant – need for general deterrence – appropriate starting penalty toward (but not at) the low end of the low range for such conduct – penalties of $120,000 for each offence – plea of guilty entered at earliest opportunity – discount of 25% on starting penalties appropriate; TOTALITY AND ACCUMULATION - offences all arising out of same course of conduct – penalties for second and third offences moderated; ADDITIONAL ORDERS – publication order appropriate to be made – minor changes to Prosecutor’s draft – publication order made – proposals for order requiring training of forest‑harvesting employers and contractors in new mapping technology – consent orders settled by the parties for mapping technology training – training orders made by consent.
Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, ss 13.12, 13.23 and 13.25; Criminal Procedure Act 1986, ss 257B and 257G; Crimes Sentencing Procedure Act 1999, ss 3, 21A, 22 and 23; Forestry Act 2012, ss 69SA(1) and 69SB; Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997, Pt 8.3.
Marinellis v NSW Land and Housing Corporation  NSWCATAP 204
LEASES AND TENANCIES – Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW) – social housing – termination of social housing agreements – no question of principle.
Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 (NSW), Sch 4, cl 12; Residential Tenancies Act 2010 (NSW).
Peng v Chief Commissioner of State Revenue  NSWCATAD 212
REVENUE LAW – First Home Owner (New Homes) Act 2000 (NSW) (FHOG Act) – principal place of residence requirement – where applicant failed to discharge onus of establishing residence in the grant property as his principal place of residence for the period required under the Act – Chief Commissioner’s decisions affirmed.
Administrative Decisions Review Act 1997 (NSW); sections 9, 53 (9), 63; Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 (NSW); sections 28, 36, 41; Civil and Administrative Tribunal Rules 2014 (NSW); Rule 24 (3), Rule 24 (4)(a); First Home Owner (New Homes) Act 2000 (NSW) sections 12, 23, 45; Land Tax Management Act 1956 (NSW) ; Taxation Administration Act 1996 (NSW); section 96.
Copyright Act 1968 04/07/2022 – Act No. 63 of 1968 as amended
Taxation Administration Act 1953 04/07/2022 – Act No. 1 of 1953 as amended
National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 04/07/2022 – Act No. 134 of 2009 as amended
AusCheck Act 2007 01/07/2022 – Act No. 53 of 2007 as amended
A New Tax System (Australian Business Number) Act 1999 01/07/2022 – Act No. 84 of 1999 as amended
National Consumer Credit Protection (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Act 2009 01/07/2022 – Act No. 135 of 2009 as amended
Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 29/06/2022 – Act No. 59 of 1977 as amended
Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 28/06/2022 – Act No. 51 of 2001 as amended
Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Act 1998 28/06/2022 – Act No. 50 of 1998 as amended
Business Names Registration (Fees) Act 2011 27/06/2022 – Act No. 128 of 2011 as amended
National Consumer Credit Protection (Fees) Act 2009 24/06/2022 – Act No. 112 of 2009 as amended
Social Security Act 1991 24/06/2022 – Act No. 46 of 1991 as amended
Surveillance Devices Act 2004 23/06/2022 – Act No. 152 of 2004 as amended
Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 23/06/2022 – Act No. 169 of 2006 as amended
Corporations (Fees) Act 2001 22/06/2022 – Act No. 52 of 2001 as amended
Australian Crime Commission Act 2002 22/06/2022 – Act No. 41 of 1984 as amended
Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 22/06/2022 – Act No. 85 of 2002 as amended
Bills introduced by Government
Crimes Amendment (Prohibition on Display of Nazi Symbols) Bill 2022 21 June 2022
Electoral Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 22 June 2022
Government Sector Finance Amendment (Jobs for NSW) Bill 2022 22 June 2022
Museums of History NSW Bill 2022 22 June 2022
National Parks and Wildlife Amendment (Reservations) Bill 2022 21 June 2022
Ombudsman Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 21 June 2022
Transport Administration Amendment (Rail Trails) Bill 2022 21 June 2022
Bills introduced by Non-Government
Aboriginal Cultural Heritage (Culture is Identity) Bill 2022 22 June 2022
Criminal Assets Recovery Amendment (Unexplained Wealth) Bill 2022 22 June 2022
Roads Amendment (Tolling Transparency) Bill 2022 22 June 2022
Bills revised following amendment in Committee
Animal Research Amendment (Right to Release) Bill 2022 22 June 2022
Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament
Child Protection (Working with Children) Amendment Bill 2022 22 June 2022
Children’s Guardian Amendment Bill 2022 22 June 2022
Disability Inclusion Amendment Bill 2022 22 June 2022
Bills assented to
Bail Amendment Act 2022 No 27 as amended
ICAC and LECC Legislation Amendment Act 2022 No 28 as amended
Treasury Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous) Act 2022 No 29 as amended
Appropriation Act 2022 No 30 as amended
Appropriation (Parliament) Act 2022 No 31 as amended
State Revenue Legislation Amendment Act 2022 No 32 as amended
Proclamations commencing Acts
Better Regulation Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous) Act 2021 No 23 LW 1 July 2022
Fair Trading Act 1987 No 68 LW 1 July 2022
Fair Trading Amendment (Commercial Agents) Act 2016 No 52
The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this article is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.