|There has been a 64 per cent increase in the number of Indigenous Land Use Agreements registered with the National Native Title Tribunal since 3 June last year.
Tribunal President Mr Graeme Neate said it was fitting today, on the anniversary of the High Court's Mabo* decision, to acknowledge the achievements of native title claimants, their representative organisations, local and state governments, mining and exploration companies and infrastructure companies — all parties to the list of new ILUAs.
'This level of growth in the space of a year indicates the success of these types of agreements and the extent of people's willingness to work together to find common ground,' Mr Neate said. 'All over Australia we are seeing real benefits flowing to communities as a result of these and other types of agreements being negotiated and finalised.'
Over the past year, there have been 30 new ILUAs registered bringing the total to 77 **. More than half of these (17) were from Queensland, nine from the Northern Territory and four from Victoria. There are a further 23 ILUAs currently being considered for registration by the Tribunal.
Among the ILUAs registered over the year was an agreement between the Kalkadoon People of north-west Queensland and mining company Matrix Metals which allowed for the grant of future mining lease applications while ensuring cultural heritage protection measures and employment and training initiatives for the Kalkadoon People.
Other ILUAs between native title claimants, shire councils and providers such as Telstra allowed for the development of infrastructure like telecommunications towers, new roads and electricity transmission lines in a number of local areas.
Indigenous Land Use Agreements were created through amendments to the Native Title Act in 1998. They are voluntary agreements primarily about the use and management of land made between a native title group and other parties.
* On June 3 1992, the High Court of Australia decided in Mabo (No. 2) v Queensland that the common law recognised the entitlements of Indigenous people to their traditional lands under their traditional laws where native title had not been extinguished.
** A list of registered ILUAs is available on the Tribunal's website.