The positive outcomes of native title agreements continue to be reflected with the registration of the 600th Indigenous land use agreement (ILUA). By Monday 21 May 2012 the total number of currently registered ILUAs has reached 628.
National Native Title Tribunal President, Graeme Neate, said that the rapidly rising number of ILUAs being registered is indicative of the increasing ability of governments, industry and others to negotiate land use and management with Indigenous Australians across the nation.
“Indigenous land use agreements can be a practical way to resolve native title issues. These agreements are often a part of a package of agreements which accompanies the settlements of native title applications,” said Mr Neate.
“They can also be used to record agreements about how land or waters are used, without necessarily entering into the native title claim process.
“Working together to make decisions about land use gives everybody involved the certainty and security they need while respecting the rights and interests of others.”
Mr Neate also commented that ILUAs can be tailored to suit the needs of the people involved and their particular land use issues.
“The pastoral ILUAs for the Kalkadoon native title claim in the Mt Isa, Cloncurry region of Queensland were negotiated using a template ILUA that was specifically developed with a number of Queensland stakeholder parties, in order to meet the needs and interests of everyone involved,” said Mr Neate.
In addition to the positive outcomes for Indigenous and non-Indigenous parties, ILUAs can have flow-on effects for the rest of the community. For example, one of the ILUAs registered last week, between the Mamu People and Ergon Energy in Queensland, allows for the ongoing provision of electricity services in the area until a Federal Court determination of native title is finalised.
Registered ILUAs cover approximately 17.3% of the land mass of Australia and around 5,773 square kilometres over sea (below the high water mark). They include areas that are not yet the subject of native title determinations.