Native Title Agreements Hit New Australian Milestone

Australia ( April 01, 2011

Native Title Agreements Hit New Australian Milestone

Native Title Agreements Hit New Australian Milestone

The number of native title agreements being negotiated continues to rise with the registration this week of the nation’s 500th indigenous land use agreement.

The National Native Title Tribunal has now registered more than 500 such agreements across the length and breadth of the country and ILUAs cover more than 15.5 per cent of Australia.

Tribunal President Graeme Neate said the increasing number of agreements was evidence that negotiating about native title and land use with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples had become part of doing business in Australia.

“These agreements reflect the increasing ability of governments, industry and other land users to sit down with Indigenous Australians and negotiate about how that land is used and managed,” he said.

“Working together to make decisions about land use gives everybody involved the certainty and security they need while respecting the rights and interests of others.”

Indigenous land use agreements (ILUAs) are a tool available to parties under the Native Title Act. They are often used to record the agreement of native title claimants in relation to particular projects or developments (such as mining or community infrastructure) but are also used more generally in the resolution of native title claims or to develop new working relationships between Indigenous Australians and others.

The subject matter of the agreements registered to date is remarkably diverse and this is reflected in the four agreements registered this week that saw the achievement of the ‘500 agreements’ milestone.

Three of the ILUAs come from the Cape York region and provide for various land dealings between Indigenous Australians and the Queensland Government, including the transfer of land under Queensland’s Aboriginal Land Act and arrangements for the establishment and management of conservation areas.

The fourth agreement registered this week relates to the proposed expansion of the Charlton Harness Racing Club in regional Victoria. It records the consent of the Dja Dja Wurrung people to those developments in exchange for certain benefits, including the establishment of an annual Spring race to be known as the Dja Dja Wurrung Cup which will be presented by a Dja Dja Wurrung Elder.

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