Sign In


About native title applications or native title determination applications

Native title applications are applications made to the Federal Court under the Native Title Act for a determination, or decision about native title in a particular area.

Once an application is filed with the Federal Court, under s 63 of the Native Title Act, a copy of the application is given to the Native Title Registrar who must notify the application and for claimant application, apply the regist​ration test to the claim in the application.

Types of native title applications


A claimant application is made by a native title claim group that claim they hold native title rights and interests in an area of land and/or water, according to their traditional laws and customs.​

By making a claimant application, the native title claim group seek a decision that native title exists, so their rights and interests are recognised by the common law of Australia. This is called a native title determination. A determination is a decision by a recognised body, such as the Federal Court or High Court of Australia, that native title either does or does not exist in relation to a particular area.


A non-claimant application is made by a person who holds a non-native title interest in an area of land and/or water. A non-claimant applicant seeks a decision that native title does not exist in relation to the area covered by their application.

Non-claimant applications cannot be made over areas where it has already been determined that native title exists.  


A compensation application is made by a registered native title body corporate for the area, or a group of people who claim to be entitled to compensation.

A compensation application is made for the loss, diminution, impairment or other effect of an act on native title rights and interests over an area.

Revised determination

A revised determination application is made by a registered native title body corporate, the Commonwealth, the State or the Native Title Registrar, seeking to revoke or vary an approved determination of native title.

Making an application

All native title applications must be filed in the Federal Court of Australia.

The Federal Court’s website includes the forms that must be used when making any application. The Federal Court website also include information about filing an application.

Amended applications

Changes or ‘amendments’ can be made to native title applications even once they have been filed, notified and/or considered for registration. The applicant must ask the Federal Court to make the proposed amendments, which is known as ‘seeking leave of the Court’. An application may be amended numerous times unless it is otherwise finalised by the Federal Court.

Under s 64(4) of the Native Title Act, when an amended application is filed the Federal Court must give a copy to the Native Title Registrar.

An applicant should contact the Federal Court for more information about amending an application.​

Assistance in making an application

While the NNTT cannot provide legal advice or financial assistance, or prepare applications for applicants, the Native Title Registrar can provide the following assistance when making a new or amended application:

To request a preliminary assessment or mapping services, please email with details of your request.​

To request land tenure information or a search of the NNTT Registers and Schedule of Native Title Applications, please complete a search request form. ​