Proposed activities or developments that may affect native title are classed as ‘future acts’ under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cwlth).
Because it can take many years to resolve a claim made for native title over a particular area of land or water, the Native Title Act provides for claimants and project proponents to negotiate about their interests in the meantime. This is the 'future act process'.
Native title claimants have the right to negotiate about some proposed developments over land and waters if their application satisfies the registration test conditions. The right to negotiate is not a right to stop a project going ahead. It only applies to certain types of future acts, such as mining. For some future acts, there may not be a right to negotiate but other rights may be available. These are usually administered by state and territory governments and the Tribunal is not generally involved.
The Tribunal administers the future act processes that attract the right to negotiate under the Commonwealth legislation – that is, generally future acts relating to mining. Our role includes mediating between parties, conducting inquiries and making decisions (called ‘future act determinations’) where parties can’t reach agreements.
Use the left hand links for more information about future acts.