Native Title Act reform

On 20 September 2012, the Commonwealth Government released, for comment, the exposure draft of the Native Title Amendment Bill 2012 (Bill). The Bill proposes substantive amendments to the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (NTA) and, if passed, may have a direct impact on proponents establishing or operating mining, energy and infrastructure projects in Australia.

The key amendments relate to:

  • Right to Negotiate: the amendments codify what constitutes ‘good faith’ negotiations and extend the minimum negotiation period from 6 to 8 months; 
  • Historical Extinguishment: the amendments include provisions to enable the historical extinguishment of native title in national parks and nature reserves to be disregarded in certain circumstances; and
  • ILUAs: clarifying and changing some aspects of the processes for the authorisation, registration and amendment of indigenous land use agreements (ILUAs).

A summary of these proposed reforms and implications can be found by following this link to Herbert Smith Freehills website.