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What is notification?

Under ss 66 and 66A of the Native Title Act, the Native Title Registrar is responsible for the notification of claimant applications, non-claimant applications, compensation applications and revised determination applications. Notification must be by personal notice to certain people and organisations as well as notice to the general public through advertisement in newspapers.

Applications are notified for a period of three months following a specified notification day, known as the ‘notice period’, to ensure that people and organisations who may hold an interest in the area covered by the application have an opportunity to become involved in the Federal Court proceedings which will make a determination or decision in relation to the application.

Who must be notified?

New applications

Under s 66(3)(a), the Registrar must notify certain people and organisations when an application is made, including:

  • any registered native title claimants and registered native title bodies corporate in the area of the application;
  • any relevant representative Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander bodies;
  • any proprietary interest holders in the area covered by the application;
  • any relevant local government authorities;
  • the Commonwealth Attorney General; and
  • any person whose interests may be affected by a determination or decision in relation to the application, if the Registrar considers it to be appropriate to give such notice.

The Registrar must also notify the general public in the determined way, which is through the Koori Mail and a local newspaper for the area of the application. A copy of the notice must also be given to the Federal Court and the relevant state or territory Minister.

Amended applications

An application may be amended that results in the change to the application area, such as by:

  • a reduction in the application area;
  • a re-inclusion of an area that was covered by the original application;
  • an increase in the original application area, but only to include areas of applications being combined with the original application, or to include a park area not covered by the original application if there is agreement under s 47C about the park area made after the making of the original application.

If an application is amended to change the application area as described above, the Registrar must give notice of the amended application to:

  • each person who, when the Registrar received a copy of the amended application, is a party to the proceeding (where applications are combined, any party to the proceeding prior to the combining of the applications); and
  • if, when the Registrar receives a copy of the amended application the notification period has not ended (where applications are combined, then where the notification period for one or more of the pre-combined applications has not ended), the Registrar must notify persons and organisations under s 66(3)(a) and also notify the general public.

A copy of the notice must also be given to the Federal Court and the relevant state or territory Minister.

What information must be included in the public notice?

The public notice must contain the following information:

  • the details of the application, which includes the name of the application and a description and map of the area which the application covers;
  • the notification day, which is a day by which it is reasonable to assume that notice of the application has been received by all the persons and organisations which must be notified;
  • that anyone wishing to become a respondent party to the claim must do so within the notice period;
  • a statement that, as there can be only one determination of native title for an area, if a person does not become a party in relation to the application, there may be no other opportunity for the Federal Court, in making its determination, to take into account the person’s native title rights and interests in relation to the area concerned.

For claimant applications, the public notice must advise whether or not the Registrar has accepted the claim in the application for registration.
For non-claimant applications, the public notice must also advise that unless there is a claimant application made over the relevant area by the end of the notice period, and the application is then registered on the Register of Native Title Claims, the area may be subject to protection under s 24FA of the Native Title Act and future acts may be done which extinguish or otherwise affect native title.

Exceptions to notification

The Native Title Act provides certain circumstances where notification is not required:

  • s 66(4) provides that, if an application to strike out a claimant application is made by the state/territory Minister, and the strike-out application is successful, the application must not be notified;
  • s 66(5) provides that, if the Registrar considers that, in the circumstances, it would be unreasonable to give notice to a person who is the holder of a publicly registered proprietary interest, the Registrar is not required to give notice to that person;
  • s 66A only requires the Registrar to give notice of an amended application if the area covered by the application has been amended, notification is not required if the application area has not changed.

I have received notification of a native title application – what do I do?

While the Registrar must notify native title applications, how they proceed to determination is solely a matter for the Federal Court. 
If you wish to become a respondent party to this application, you must file a Form 5 (Notice of Intention to become a Party) with the Federal Court on or before the end of the notice period. After this date, you will need to seek leave from the Federal Court to become a party.
Please visit the Federal Court’s website for a copy of the Form 5 application form and a guide to completing the form.
The NNTT cannot provide legal advice, however information about native title is available on the NNTT website. Should you require further information about native title, please email

Applications currently in notification

All applications currently in notification are available on the Public Notices page.​