Published on 23 October 2014.

The Australian Law Reform Commission has today released a Discussion Paper, Review of the Native Title Act 1993 (DP 82). The paper contains a range of proposals and questions around connection requirements for the recognition and scope of native title rights and interests; authorisation; and joinder provisions. The ALRC is seeking feedback on these proposals.

Professor Lee Godden, Commissioner-in-charge of the Inquiry, said, “The ALRC has relied on more than 100 consultations with Indigenous organisations and individuals, industry, academics, state governments and many other people who are actively involved in the Native Title claims process and we are extremely grateful to everyone who has provided input into our thinking to date. Under the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry, we were to be guided by the Preamble and the Objects of the Native Title Act. In addition, the Inquiry has developed five guiding principles to underlie reforms: acknowledging the importance of the recognition of native title; acknowledging the many interests in the native title system; encouraging timely and just resolution of determinations; consistency with international law; and supporting sustainable futures. Our proposals seek to improve the operation of the Native Title Act within this principled framework.”

ALRC President, Professor Rosalind Croucher, said, “The Native Title Act is a key element in recognising the relationship of Indigenous people to land and waters. Reforms must also consider the impacts upon all participants in the native title system, as native title operates across many sectors in Australian society. In this context, the ALRC has had regard to the complexity of law, procedure and practice and the significant policy and economic context for native title. The challenge is to consider change in the native title system that advances the recognition and protection of native title, while ensuring that reforms support a robust and productive relationship between all participants.”

The ALRC will now undertake a further round of national consultations and will provide its Final Report to the Attorney-General by the end of March 2015. 

The ALRC invites individuals and organisations to make submissions in response to the Discussion Paper by 18 December 2014. Submissions can be made in writing by post or by email or using the ALRC’s online submission form: www.alrc.gov.au/content/native-title-dp82-online-submission

The Discussion Paper is available from the ALRC website in a range of formats, including as an ebook. All ALRC publications are available free of charge at www.alrc.gov.au/publications.

Subscribe to the Native Title Inquiry enews on the ALRC website. 

Media contact: Marie-Claire Muir (02) 8238 6305, web@alrc.gov.au