The APY lands in South Australia's far north west is preparing to overhaul Australia's oldest land rights act.
Karen Ashford

27 Nov 2013 - 4:40 PM  UPDATED 27 Nov 2013 - 6:35 PM

But although change is needed, there are many different views on what form it should take.

The APY lands consist of 3,000 people scattered across 100,000 square kilometres of desert.

Getting everyone's opinion is a large task but clear priorities are starting to emerge.

Government Review Panel chair Robyn Layton said the urge for more female involvement in decision making was stronger than ever, with only one woman currently on the 10-member executive board.

"What they are hoping to achieve is they want strong men and strong women, they want people who are prepared to speak out and not just sit back," she said.

It has also been suggested that the board be extended to seat 12 executive members, with Anangu voting on all candidates - not just those from their community.

APY executive member Robert Stevens said more communication was needed.

"Things are really crook, no one ever talks about homelands, no one," he said.

"All our funding goes, [it's] been taken away from homelands and there's really no talk, no one speaking up, there's nowhere to go, we don't know where to go - really lost."

Anangu activist George Kenmore said they wanted the elected executive to set a good example for the community.

"They shouldn't be trying to set up a structure anymore, they should be having a look at how they can control the money so service providers don't keep it in the bank in Adelaide. Then you can do a proper management review on it, how it would be run. But they're trying to take a short cut and by taking short cuts they will fail," he said.

There are also differing views on whether outside experts should provide executives with advice or not.

New APY General Manager Sean McCarthy said the lands were awash with money and better management was desperately needed.

"We have to get our story straight before we go to government and we have to work and partner with government because it's ultimately in everybody's interests for this organisation to be a strong organisation with good governance that functions well," he said.

With the South Australian parliament about to rise, any changes to the Act will have to wait until after the state election in March.

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