Introduction of the Native Title Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

On 17 October 2019 the Commonwealth government introduced the Native Title Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Cth) (Bill) to amend (amongst other legislation) the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (NTA). The Bill proposes the same amendments to the Act as an earlier amendment bill introduced in February 2019 and which lapsed with the federal election. The proposed amendments to the NTA are the most substantive since the ‘Wik’ amendments in 1998.  To assist project proponents in understanding the potential impacts of the Bill, the table below sets out proposed key amendments with the likely implications for existing and future development. Read more

Latest on Geraldton and South West native title settlements

Developments have recently occurred in the Geraldton and South West native title settlements. In-principle agreement has been reached for the Geraldton settlement, while a further hearing in the judicial review proceedings relating to the South West settlement has been listed for November 2019. Land users with interests in these regions should follow the progress of the settlements. Read more

Queensland Treaty Negotiations: have your say by 6 December 2019

The Queensland Government is asking the broader Queensland community to weigh in on its ‘Tracks to Treaty’ initiative to create a treaty between the Queensland Government and Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait people. Submissions on any matters raised in the consultation paper close at 5:00pm on 6 December 2019. Read more

UNESCO World Heritage Listing of Aboriginal cultural landscape

Recently, the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape in Victoria became the first site in Australia accepted onto the UNESCO World Heritage List solely for Aboriginal cultural significance. The occasion presents a chance to reflect on what World Heritage listing means and how Australian environmental and cultural heritage legislation applies to Aboriginal cultural landscapes. Read more

Update on WA Aboriginal heritage reform

Yesterday, the WA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs publicly announced that a draft bill to reform WA’s Aboriginal heritage legislation will be made available for public comment in early 2020. Read more

Review of Queensland Cultural Heritage Acts

The Queensland Deputy Premier and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships announced on 23 May 2019 that a review of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (Qld) and the Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Act 2003 (Qld) (the Cultural Heritage Acts) will be undertaken by the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP). Read more

Native Title Act Reforms

On 21 February 2019, the Commonwealth government introduced the Native Title Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Cth) (Bill) to amend (amongst other legislation) the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (NTA). The proposed amendments to the NTA are the most substantive since the ‘Wik’ amendments in 1998. To assist proponents in understanding the potential impact of the Bill, we have prepared a table that sets out proposed key amendments with the likely implications for existing and future development. Read more

A Methodology for the Calculation of Native Title Compensation

On 13 March 2019, the High Court handed down its first decision on native title compensation in ‘Timber Creek’ [2019] HCA 7 (Timber Creek). The High Court’s decision is a measured reflection of the need for Australian law to evolve in a manner that acknowledges, recognises and accommodates the diversity and individuality of native title in Australia. The majority judgment sensibly navigates the difficult task of applying common law legal concepts, such as compensation, freehold value, economic loss and solatium, in the context of traditional rights and interests, and connection to country. Read more

A new Aboriginal heritage system for WA

In March 2019, the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs released a discussion paper outlining proposals for reforming the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (WA). Anyone with WA land or project development interests should follow these reforms, which we discuss in this post. Read more