Deed of Grant in Trust (DOGIT) (Australia)

Summary

Queensland established a system of community level land trusts, to own and administer former reserves under a special form of title called a DOGIT.

Extended Definition

‘The changes occurred through a series of amendments to the Land Act 1962 (Qld) from 1982 to 1988. The fundamental change in policy was that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were given some degree of control over the land on which they lived and greater security of tenure’ (Nettheim et al, p 272).

Each trust area becomes a local government area. Incorporated Islander Councils, which elect representatives every three years, manage the community's affairs. The Councils are able to make by-laws, appoint community police and are responsible for maintaining housing, infrastructure, the Community Development Employment Program (similar to work for the dole), licenses and hunting and camping permits. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people living on DOGIT land may take forest products or quarry material as long as they do not sell them. Pollack notes that 'DOGIT as a method of landholding is far less secure than the freehold inalienable title which Aboriginal groups in the Northern Territory and South Australia enjoy. A DOGIT can be cancelled at any time; such land could revert to the Crown, or be resumed for public purposes such as air strips and recreation facilities' (Pollack, p 22).

In 1986 the community of Hope Vale became the first to receive a Deed of Grant in Trust (DOGIT) and formed the Hope Vale Aboriginal Council.