Victoria Seeks to Simplify Indigenous Land Claims

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Victoria Seeks to Simplify Indigenous Land Claims

Traditional Owner Settlement Amendment Bill 2016 (Vic)

The Victorian State Government has developed a state-wide alternative to the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) under the Traditional Owner Settlement Amendment Bill 2016 (Vic). The original Act was introduced in 2010 and this Bill seeks to amend the Act to enhance the outcomes achieved and stakeholders engaged when determining indigenous access to land.

The national Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) requires an unbroken connection with land since the settlement of Europeans. This is a very high threshold to meet due to the high rates of settlement that is established throughout Victoria. The Act has previously achieved access to freehold title, grants of Aboriginal title and the creation of a management framework to facilitate best management practices for activities that impact native title rights. The Act allows for government and native title holders to work collaboratively.

The Bill amends the Act with regard to grants of Aboriginal Title, land use activity agreements and natural resource agreements. Dispute resolution capacity under the Act will be expanded to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s jurisdiction. The Bill will also extend indigenous natural resource rights to be equivalent to those in the national native title legislation. The Bill simplifies the permission process for granting natural resource agreements. The Bill seeks to further the autonomy and self-determination of the indigenous population of Victoria.

Read the Bill in full here.


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