The Native Title Registrar maintains three registers: the Register of Native Title Claims, the National Native Title Register and the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements. The Tribunal also maintains a schedule of native title applications which includes claims which have not been registered.
Persons or organisations can request a search of register and schedule information to find out whether an area of land or water is covered by a native title determination, application or indigenous land use agreement (ILUA).
A search of the registers and schedule information (or an ‘overlap analysis’) is a search to ascertain whether there is a native title determination, claim or land use agreement over a specified area.
The Tribunal has a number of powers and functions under the Native Title Act 1993, including providing assistance to people in matters related to a proceeding (e.g. a native title determination application or other relevant application).
The Tribunal may also provide assistance that is ancillary to the performance of functions or exercise of powers of the Tribunal and Registrar. This may take the form of register searches to assist a person who may not be a party to a native title proceeding but who is required, under the Native Title Act or other relevant state-based legislation, to identify native title interests (e.g. an applicant for a minerals tenement or a developer complying with cultural heritage legislation).
If you are a party to a proceeding, or have other native title related responsibilities under relevant legislation, the Tribunal will be able to search register and schedule information for you.
To request a search, you need to fill out a search request form and mail, fax or email the completed form to the Tribunal. Details of where to send your request are included on the search request form:
When requesting a search of register and schedule information, it is important to clearly describe the area of land or water over which the search is required:
- If the area is over a specific parcel of land, identify the area by lot/plan details.
- If the area is over a mining tenement, specify the tenement type and number or block and sub-block identifiers.
- If the area is more general and cannot be identified by lot/plan details, provide a clear description of the area.
It can also assist if the request identifies the local government areas involved and includes a map to confirm the search area. For searches involving a number of land parcels or mining tenements please include a table listing these (preferably in an Excel format).
The information provided with your request and the information that is currently available about the area, both impact on the result of the search. For example, searches based on land parcel identifiers are only possible where State or Territory governments have provided information about current interests within the area of a determination, application, or ILUA.
Please note that the search request form requires specific information. If this is not provided, the Tribunal will be unable to conduct a register search. Contact the Tribunal on freecall 1800 640 501 for more information.
You will receive a letter advising you whether or not the area you are interested in is covered by a native title determination, application or ILUA. The letter will include the relevant register extract and/or application summary and copies of any accompanying attachments (for example, a map).
If it is unclear whether the area is affected, the Tribunal can provide all register extracts and application summaries that may be relevant, as well as accompanying attachments.
A register extract is an extract from the Register of Native Title Claims (RNTC). It reflects how a registered application is recorded on this register. This may differ from the information in an application summary.
An application summary reflects how each application is recorded in the Federal Court of Australia. Not all applications are registered but when the application is registered, the information contained in the application summary may be different from the information on the RNTC.
This may occur for a number of reasons. For example, the application may have been amended in the Federal Court but the amended application has not been considered under the registration test; or some native title rights and interests claimed were not accepted for registration.
If Tribunal registers have no entry covering the area you are interested in, it does not mean that native title does not exist in the area. Rather, it indicates that, at the time of the search:
- there is no current claim in relation to the area;
- the Federal Court has not made any determinations of native title in relation to the area;
- the Federal Court (or State or Territory body) have not yet notified the Tribunal that it had received a native title application over the area; or
- any previous claim in relation to the area has been discontinued or dismissed.