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Notification

​What is notification?

Under section 66(3) of the Native Title Act, the Native Title Registrar must notify certain people and organisations when an application for a determination of native title is made, including:

  • any proprietary interest holders in the area covered by the application;
  • 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 relevant local government authorities;
  • the relevant state or territory Minister;
  • the Commonwealth Attorney General; and
  • the general public in the Koori Mail and a local newspaper for the area of the application.

The 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;
  • for claimant applications, whether or not the Registrar has accepted the claim in the application for registration;
  • 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; and
  • that anyone wishing to become a respondent party to the claim must do so within the three months following the notification day, known as the ‘notice period’.

For claimant applications, the notice must also advise that there can be only one determination of native title for a particular area. This means that if a person with native title rights and interests does not become a party to the application, there may be no other opportunity for the Federal Court, in making its determination, to take into account those native title rights and interests in relation to the area concerned.

For non-claimant applications, the notice must also advise that unless there is a native title claimant application made over the relevant area by the end of the notice period, the area may be subject to protection under section 24FA of the Native Title Act and future acts may be done which extinguish or otherwise affect native title.

Why are native title applications notified?

The purpose of notifying native title applications is 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 Court proceedings which will determine whether or not native title exists in the area covered by the application.

What happens during notification?

During the notice period, any persons or organisations who hold an interest in the area covered by an application can apply to the Federal Court to be joined as a party to the proceedings. To become a party after the notice period is completed, the Federal Court’s permission is required.

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

If you have received a notification letter or have read a public notice of a native title application and need assistance to understand the details of the claim, you can contact the NNTT officer named in the notice, or email claimsassistance@nntt.gov.au.

While the NNTT can provide assistance to help people understand the details of the application, such as the area which it covers, the NNTT cannot provide any legal advice, such as whether a person should join as a party, or advise on the Court proceedings.  See Native title claims and freehold land for information about areas where native title cannot be claimed.

While the Native Title Registrar must notify native title applications, how they proceed to determination is solely a matter for the Federal Court.  If you are considering becoming a party to a claimant application, please read the information on the Federal Court’s website: Guide to Native Title Form 5 and consider seeking independent legal advice.

Applications currently in notification

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