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Native title agreements cover more than a quarter of Australia

’Having, for the first time ever, more than 1000 Indigenous land use agreements on our Register is strong evidence of proponents and native title parties successfully negotiating about matters in relation to native title and that this is now part of doing ordinary business in Australia’, said National Native Title Tribunal President, Raelene Webb QC.
 
Indigenous land use agreements cover more than  25% of Australia [map] from the remote Islands of the Torres Strait where 60 agreements are registered,  to all parts of mainland Australia with the most agreements being registered in Queensland.
 
Indigenous land use agreements deal with subject matters as varied as pastoral access, mining and exploration, the exercise of native title rights in national parks and the sale of crown land. They have been used to enable the building of a radio-astronomy observatory in Murchison (WA), the creation of a dingo conservation centre in Chewton (VIC), the development of the Port Vincent Marina (SA) and the establishment of the Lily Hole Creek Community Living Area in the Northern Territory.
 
In more recent times Indigenous land use agreements were used to settle native title claims such as the Victorian Dja Dja Wurrung Settlement Agreement of 2013, and the six South West Settlement Indigenous land use agreements negotiated between the Noongar People and the Western Australian government which were lodged with the Native Title Registrar in June this year and will soon undergo the three-month notification process. .
 
‘Indigenous land use agreements provide certainty for all involved and are sufficiently flexible to accommodate a myriad of agreed land uses or projects’, said Ms Webb. ‘The fact that they are so widely entered into, is evidence that the Tribunal’s vision of ‘shared country, shared future’ is being achieved in Australia’.
 
‘We have seen a noticeable rise in the number of body corporate Indigenous land use agreements in recent years. This reflects a maturing of the native title system and the recent higher pace of native title resolution by the parties and the Federal Court. It is a testament to all concerned’.
 
The National Native Title Tribunal can provide assistance to parties negotiating Indigenous land use agreements, including facilitating negotiations and providing geospatial assistance and preliminary comments on draft applications for the registration of agreements.

The National Native Title Tribunal also promotes positive native title outcomes by providing capacity-building assistance to help parties participate more effectively in the native title process. This may include, for example, training about
Indigenous land use agreements and the registration requirements.  
 
For more information about Indigenous land use agreements and the National Native Title Tribunal see www.nntt.gov.au