Native Title Amendments Stall

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Native Title Amendments Stall

The Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017 has been tabled in the Senate following the approval of the Bill from the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee. The Bill will amend the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) to address the outcome of the recent Federal Court decision McGlade v Native Title Registrar [2017] FCAFC 10 (2 February 2017). The McGlade decision required that Indigenous Land Use Agreements, a key access document negotiated to protect the interests indigenous land holders, must be signed by all persons who are registered native title holders in order to for the Indigenous Land Use Agreements to be registered.

The outcome of this decision cast uncertainty onto other existing Indigenous Land Use Agreements that were not signed by all native title individuals. The Bill therefore seeks to confirm the validity of these agreements and permit the registration of already agreed but unregistered agreements. Most significantly, the Bill legislates to circumvent the decision by the Federal Court, by not requiring every registered native title individual to sign Indigenous Land Use Agreements.

The Senate refused to extend sitting hours to vote on the Bill, delaying the acceptance or rejection of the amendments until June when Parliament resumes.

 

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