There were ramatic scenes at the Jerrinja Aboriginal Community at Orient Point on Tuesday afternoon with police called over the attempted eviction of an Aboriginal elder from the village.
Around 1.30pm, NSW Sheriffs' personnel with representatives of Southern Cross Housing, acting on a ruling from the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) on behalf of the Jerrinja Aboriginal Land Council, attempted to evict long-time resident Rhonda Connolly.
It is understood the eviction notice was served over the failure to pay rent.
When sheriffs' staff faced some resistance from her fellow local residents, NSW Police were called to the area.
At least six South Coast Police District vehicles, full of officers, converged on the former Aboriginal mission Roseby Park at Orient Point, east of Nowra.
Another four highway patrol vehicles and a motorbike and officers stood by as back-up on Park Row, leading into the village.
After a standoff and lots of discussions and negotiations, Ms Connolly was given a week to appeal the court order, with the issue now set to head to court.
The mission is home to around 130 adults and around 50 children, who live in 29 homes.
Graham Connolly, who as chairman of the Jerrinja Traditional Owners Corporate (JTOC) maintains he has the "final say over the area", said the community would attend Nowra Courthouse on Wednesday to try to "sort the issue".
Mr Connolly said the local community does not answer to the Jerrinja Aboriginal Land Council.
"As the Jerrinja Traditional Owners, the Jerrinja Land Council answer to us," he said.
"The land council through NSW Land Council and Southern Cross Housing decided to impose a rent system but they actually have to ask me as the Jerrinja Traditional Owners Corporation for permission to do it and they haven't.
"When they want to create or change something for the community the land council has to come back and get approval from the community to pass it.
"That hasn't happened."
Mr Connolly says "rent does not have to be paid".
"We built these homes in the 1970s, we own the homes, they are owned by the community. We are the traditional owners," he said.
"We don't recognise the Jerrinja Land Council and Southern Cross Housing's rent system in the community.
"Why are they trying to evict the sickest person in the village?
"She is well in her 60s and has been sick for the past 15 years or so."
He questioned why the move was made now to evict Ms Connolly, "especially with the COVID-19 pandemic".