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Expedited procedure objections

What is the expedited procedure?

The expedited procedure is a fast-tracking process for future acts (usually the grant of an exploration or prospecting licence) that the government agency responsible for the act considers will have minimal impact on native title. If the government party believes the expedited procedure applies, it must be stated in the notice and, unless a registered claimant or prescribed body corporate objects, the right to negotiate will not apply to the act.

Who can object to the expedited procedure applying to a future act?

If the Government party asserts that the expedited procedure applies to the grant of a tenement, any registered native title claimant or prescribed body corporate for the area (known as a ‘native title party’) can object to the expedited procedure being applied once they receive notice of the government party’s intention to grant the tenement.

If a native title party wishes to object, they can lodge an application (known as a ‘Form 4’ or ‘expedited procedure objection’) with the Tribunal. Once the Tribunal receives an objection from a native title party, it must conduct an inquiry into the proposed grant and determine whether the expedited procedure should apply.

If the Tribunal determines that the expedited procedure applies, the tenement can proceed to grant. If the Tribunal determines that the expedited procedure does not apply, the parties must go through the right to negotiate process. 

If a person or group claims to hold native title for the area covered by the proposed tenement but do not have a registered claim or determination of native title, they can lodge a native title application with the Federal Court of Australia within three months from the day specified in the notice. If the claim is registered at the end of the four-month period following the notification day, the person or group may lodge an application objecting to the expedited procedure by the end of the four-month period.

The Tribunal encourages native title parties to lodge objections as soon as possible after the notification day.

What to expect when an objection is made

Once an objection is lodged, a Tribunal member will be appointed to hear the matter and will list the objection for a preliminary conference.  A Tribunal officer will be in contact with parties to notify them of the listing date and provide relevant information, including the Guide to Case Management in the NNTT, which sets out the case management process for expedited procedure objection matters in the Tribunal.

Parties are expected to attend the preliminary conference and, to the extent possible, be prepared to discuss:

  • the status of the matter;
  • how parties intend to resolve the objection;
  • what steps have been taken so far;
  • what steps need to be taken by each party and when; and
  • whether the parties would benefit from Tribunal assistance (including through a s150 conference).

If parties advise they wish to resolve the objection by negotiating an agreement, the Member will place the matter into the Active Case Management process and, where necessary, may direct the parties to attend a conference under s 150 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth).  Under this process, the Tribunal officer assigned to the objection will monitor the parties’ progress in resolving the objection and the completion of any milestones discussed during the Preliminary Conference.  Parties are expected to respond promptly to the Tribunal’s attempts to communicate with them. 

Where the Tribunal officer forms the view that parties are not making satisfactory progress in resolution of the objection, the officer may convene a Case Management conference to discuss progress and next steps with the parties.  Should parties continue to make unsatisfactory progress, a party fails to attend a Case Management Conference or where one or more parties indicate they no longer wish to negotiate, the Tribunal officer may refer the parties to a Directions Hearing before the Member.

At the Directions Hearing, the Member will give directions for the conduct of an inquiry into the objection. These directions require each party to provide submissions and evidence about whether the expedited procedure should apply to the tenement.

The directions also set out a timetable for the conduct of the inquiry. 

Once parties have had the opportunity to provide submissions, the Tribunal will make a determination about whether the expedited procedure applies. In making its determination, the Tribunal will consider whether the grant of the tenement is likely to:  

  • interfere directly with the community or social activities of the native title holders or claimants
  • interfere with areas or sites of particular significance to the native title holders or claimants
  • involve major disturbance to land or waters. 

Most inquiries are conducted ‘on the papers’, meaning the Tribunal’s decision will be based on the documents provided by the parties only. If required, the Tribunal will hold a hearing, whether in the Tribunal’s offices or ‘on country’ (that is, a hearing held on or near the area affected by the future act).

Providing submissions and evidence to the NNTT for inquiry

During an inquiry, the Tribunal will direct each party to provide submissions or evidence about matters the Tribunal has to take into account when making its decision.

Submissions may be provided by email to or by post to your local Tribunal office.

If you need an extension of time to comply with Tribunal directions, please refer to:

Are Non-Disclosure Directions required?

If you wish to provide evidence or submissions to the Tribunal but do not want the information to be disclosed to other people (for example, because it is culturally sensitive or commercial-in-confidence), you may ask the Tribunal to make Non-Disclosure Directions.

Non-Disclosure Directions set out rules about how the parties are required to keep, use and dispose of sensitive information, and who may have access to it. They can include directions requiring the parties to use the information only for the purpose of the inquiry or that only certain individuals or persons of a particular gender may view the information.

For more information on how to apply for Non-Disclosure Directions refer to:

How to apply

You can lodge an expedited procedure objection by completing a Form 4 application. An objection application must be lodged with the Tribunal within four months after the notification date specified in the government notice.

To lodge the objection, send the completed Form 4 and, if applicable, the application fee, to or by post to your local Tribunal office. Please read the Instructions on how to complete the Form 4 and for instructions on electronic payment.

The Tribunal encourages native title parties to lodge objections as soon as possible after the notification day so they can make use of the notification period to negotiate an agreement with the proponent or prepare evidence and submissions for the Tribunal’s inquiry into the objection.

Application fees

The application fee is currently $1002.00 (as at 1 July 2023). The application is payable for each future act (e.g. one fee for each tenement application). 

Payment is made using electronic funds transfer (EFT).

To make payment, please complete the following steps:

  1. Transfer the application fee to the following account, using the party name and tenement number or property description as the payment reference:

Account Name: Federal Court of Australia Official Administered Receipts
BSB:   092 – 002
Account number: 110369

  1. ​Send the completed application form along with proof of transfer to the NNTT.

A receipt of payment will be provided once your application is processed.

Fee exemptions and waivers

If one or more of the following circumstances applies, an application fee will not need to be paid.

  • the applicant has been granted legal aid
  • the applicant is assisted by a representative Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander body
  • one or more of the people making the application:
    • holds a health care card or pensioner concession card
    • is in prison
    • is under 18 years old
    • receives ABSTUDY.

The Native Title Registrar can also decide to waive the fee if satisfied that payment of the fee would cause the applicant financial hardship. A fact sheet about how to apply for fee waiver is available.

If you intend to rely on an exemption or are seeking a waiver of the application fee, you must provide proof that the exemption applies (e.g. a photocopy of your healthcare card) or evidence of financial hardship (e.g. bank statements and other financial records, when lodging your application.

Refund of fee

If the application is not accepted or a determination is made in your favour, you may be entitled to a fee refund. To request a fee refund, please fill in the Request Form - for fee refund and send it by post to your local Tribunal office or by email to

​​​​​Guide to case management in the NNTT - Objections to the expedited procedure.pdf