Issue 2 | 13 February 2014. View original format.
Since our last e-news the team has been busy researching issues outlined in the Terms of Reference, and speaking with stakeholders to determine particular areas of concern. We have met with many people in the course of informing our understanding about the operation of the Native Title Act 1993; in line with our commitment to engage with the Australian community as widely as possible. In November we travelled to Darwin and Cairns, where we met with several Native Title Representative Bodies, government representatives, industry bodies, and others. In Darwin we had the opportunity to visit Larrakia Radio and talk with Dr Donna Odegaard about the Inquiry in a program that is broadcast to many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia. It was great to meet with the young Aboriginal people who were filming; and recording the radio program. In between we met with industry groups and government, and we had the fun of packing all the team into a dual cab ute! Commissioner Lee Godden also spoke about the Inquiry on ABC Radio Darwin and the Indigenous radio service in Cairns—Bumma Biperra. Using radio and TV, where possible, to inform people about the Inquiry is an important part of our approach to communication.
After the release of the Issues Paper, we will embark on the next round of consultations. This time, we will be heading to Brisbane in late March and Western Australia in the first half of April. We will visit Perth and Broome, and may have the opportunity to visit some other locations if we can. That round of consultations will be followed by a trip to Canberra, just before Easter, and then further consultations in Adelaide and Central Australia in early May. If you would like to consult with us during these visits, please get in touch with the ALRC team.
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Aside from face-to-face consultations, the team has been writing an Issues Paper, the first consultation document for this Inquiry. It will discuss key questions around connection requirements for the recognition and scope of native title; and authorisation and joinder matters that we have been alerted to in our research and consultations so far. The Issues Paper will also include questions where we are seeking more information from the community about the operation of the Native Title Act in relation to the areas set out under the Terms of Reference. When we release the Issues Paper we will call for submissions, asking people to respond to these questions and provide general feedback.
We expect to have the Issues Paper on the ALRC website in mid March. We will notify you via this e-news as soon as it is available, but encourage people and organisations to put time aside over April and May to prepare submissions. The submission period will be approximately 6 weeks.
We really value community input into our processes and we ask you to encourage people in your networks to become involved in the Inquiry and to subscribe to this e-news.