The NSW government is returning a historic landmark nestled in Sydney's harbour to the Aboriginal community, with the official transfer process beginning for Me-Mel Island.
The initiative is accompanied by a near $47m revamp under the 2022-23 state budget to help revitalise Me-Mel, also known as Goat Island.
The transfer is a "personal priority" for Premier Dominic Perrottet.
"Returning Me-Mel to the Aboriginal community is the right thing to do, and it helps deliver on my commitment of improving outcomes and opportunities for Aboriginal people across all parts of Government," he said.
"A big part of my commitment is ensuring the island is remediated before it's transferred to the Aboriginal community."
This will be done through a AU$42.9m ($47.2m) package spread over four years, reported news.com.au, with the money going towards works such as repairing seawalls and buildings, improving water and sewer services, and removing contaminants like asbestos.
The state heritage site is the biggest island in Sydney Harbour and is located north west of the CBD.
Me-Mel is known for its rich Aboriginal heritage and value with more than 30 buildings and other structures from the 1830s to the 1960s.
It was once inhabited by Wangal man Bennelong and Cammeraigal woman Barangaroo.
Bennelong said the island was his inheritance after his father left it to him, with colonial documents showing his dad was born on Me-Mel.
Its transfer was a 2015 election promise by the NSW Labor Party, with the process now officially beginning under the state Liberal government over seven years later.
The move has been welcomed by Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council Deputy Chair Yvonne Weldon who said the transfer will help heal and progress Indigenous issues.
"Me-Mel is a place where we can go to be within our culture, pass culture on to our younger generations and share with other people," she said.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), which will continue to manage the island until the transfer, is calling for expressions of interest for people to join the Me-Mel Transfer Committee.
A variety of expert legal, heritage, planning and governance advice will be offered to the group, with Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Franklin saying the committee will develop a plan and a business case for future ownership and management of the island.
"The Me-Mel Transfer Committee includes Aboriginal people and NSW Government agency representatives, and importantly, its establishment is supported by the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council," he said.
Nominations for this committee are due by the close of business on June 27.