Queensland claims win right to negotiate 

Five native title applications have passed the registration test, introduced with the new Federal native title laws last year, ensuring they have the right to negotiate on mining projects in Central Queensland.

The National Native Title Tribunal applied the new threshold test to the first batch of Queensland claims last week. Six claims have now gone through the registration test in Queensland. Five were successful in achieving registration; one was unsuccessful.

Tribunal Registrar Mr Chris Doepel said the application of the registration test to these claims was fast-tracked because of the Queensland Government's notice of intention to grant mining tenements to Malborough Nickel and the Kogan Coal Mine.

The Barada Barna Kabalbara and Yetimarla People (QC97/59) and the Darrumbal people (QC99/1) now have won the right to negotiate over the Marlborough Nickel project. The Iman People (QC99/3), the Western Wakka Wakka People (QC99/4), and the Barunggam People (QC99/5) have gained the right to negotiate about the Kogan Coal Mine.

"The registration test decides whether applicants have a say over mining, exploration and some other developments on land subject to the native title application," said Mr Doepel.

"However, passing the test does not mean native title has been recognised. It means claimants have the procedural rights which flow from registration - including the right to negotiate - while their native title claim is still pending."

"Nor does failing the test mean a claim is struck out of the system. Applicants who fail the registration test can pursue their application- either through mediation or litigation - towards formal recognition of native title."

Conditions of the registration test include:
  • Clearly identifying the members of the claim group;
  • Demonstrating that the application was lodged with the authority of the group or clan from whom the native title rights were derived; and
  • Clearly identifying the nature of native title rights and interests claimed.

Applications must pass every condition to pass the test. Unsuccessful applicants are entitled to appeal the decision.

The Tribunal will apply the registration test to a further 155 Queensland applications this year. Over 600 native title applications will undergo the test nationwide.

Ariane Rummery
02 9291 6124
0417 944 809