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Joint Media Release with Attorney-General Senator The Hon George Brandis QC
On Friday 13 October 2017, we will chair the Native Title Ministers’ meeting at Parliament House in Canberra where Commonwealth, state and territory ministers will meet to renew and reinvigorate discussions on collaborative pathways to improve the native title system.
This important meeting to consider significant native title reforms follows the Commonwealth’s decisive action to restore certainty to the native title system, in partnership with the native title sector, in response to the McGlade decision.
In maintaining this momentum, the Commonwealth is progressing additional reforms to the Native Title Act, including in relation to section 31 agreements, to provide certainty to Indigenous and industry stakeholders and to continue to promote the effective and efficient resolution of native title claims.
A focus of discussions between ministers will be recommendations made by the Australian Law Reform Commission in its 2015 report, ‘Connection to Country’.
Kevin Smith, board member of the National Native Title Council, the peak representative body of native title groups and Traditional Owners, will address ministers on the interests of Indigenous people and their land and land related matters.
While the Commonwealth has overall responsibility for the administration of the Native Title Act, it is only party to a quarter of native title claims. As such, the Commonwealth will seek the commitment of its state and territory counterparts on these reforms and on emerging issues within the native title system. This inter-jurisdictional collaboration is necessary to provide certainty and practical outcomes for all parties.
The Commonwealth will also update states and territories on support that it is providing to native title holders including through capacity building funding for Prescribed Bodies Corporate under the Northern Australia White Paper, the first time funding has been made available directly for the benefit of native title holders.
The Commonwealth is committed to working in partnership with native title holders and other stakeholders to ensure that the native title system works for the benefit of all Australians.