Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW > Community > Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Service

Certificate of Aboriginality

The definition of an Aboriginal person under federal laws such as the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 is a person who:

  • is of Aboriginal descent;
  • identifies as an Aboriginal person; and,
  • is accepted by the Aboriginal community in which they live.

All of these things must apply. A person's physical appearance or the way they live are not requirements.

Because of such definitions, government departments now require Aboriginal people to provide 'proof of Aboriginality' to be eligible for financial assistance or in other situations other such as public housing, education or employment.

Aboriginal people can apply to their Local Aboriginal Land Council or an Aboriginal community organisation for a 'Confirmation of Aboriginality' or a 'Certificate of Aboriginality'. These documents state that the person is known to identify as an Aboriginal person and is accepted by that community as an Aboriginal person.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act also applies to people who identify as Torres Strait Islanders.

For more information please refer to the NSW Aboriginal Land Council website.