Native Title Amendments Remain in the Senate

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Native Title Amendments Remain in the Senate

The Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017 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 Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee recommended that the Senate pass the Bill, once amendments to ss 251A and 251B be removed, suggesting that these sections should be addressed in a separate Bill. These sections permit indigenous groups to nominate a single native title representative to negotiate the relevant Indigenous Land Use Agreements.

The Bill remains before the Senate.


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