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Native Title News 2017

13 February

Federal Government seeks to amend Native Title Act this week
The Attorney-General George Brandis has said that legislation to amend the Native Title Act will be tabled in Parliament this week.
The amendment will seek to reverse the effects of a Federal Court decision earlier this month, known as the McGlade decision, over the registering of Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) which were part of the Noongar Settlement in southwest Western Australia.
The McGlade decision set a precedent that all named applicants of a native title claim have to sign pre-determination ILUA for them to be valid. It overturned a previous ruling from 2010, known as the Bygrave decision, which found that not all named applicants had to sign an ILUA for it to be valid.
The National Native Title Tribunal has identified 126 area ILUAs to-date which would be affected by the decision, mostly in Queensland. The Tribunal has temporarily frozen registration of area ILUAs in response to the ruling.
ABC News, Australia, 13 February 2017.
The Australian, Australia, 13 February 2017.

8 February

Government considering amending Native Title Act following Noongar decision
The Attorney-General's office has confirmed that the Federal Government is currently weighing its options, including amending the Native Title Act, in response to a decision on the Noongar settlement last week.
The Federal Court ruling possibly sets a precendent that all applicants need to have signed an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) for it to be valid. There was speculation that the Government would amend the Native Title Act in order to clarify the requirements under the Act.
Glen Kelly, the chief executive of the National Native Title Council, has claimed at least 200 ILUAs could be affected by the ruling. The National Native Title Tribunal has begun compiling an inventory of all agreements which will be affected.
The Australian, Australia, 8 February 2017.

3 February

Audit criticises Federal Government's Indigenous Advancement Strategy
An audit performed by the Australian National Audit Office has found that the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet (PM&C) 'did not effectively implement' its Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS).
The audit also concluded that the IAS grants administration processes 'fell short of the standard required to effectively manage a billion dollars of Commonwealth resources'. Futher criticisms included that deadlines were missed and records of key decisions were not kept.
The IAS was institued by PM&C in 2014 while Tony Abbott was Prime Minister, and was reportedly designed in just over seven weeks. It moved more than 3,000 existing agreements for Indigenous programs into five broad funding streams.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has said the audit should be regarded as 'a historical observation on a process carried out two-and-a-half years ago', and that PM&C had already agreed to work on the audit's recommendations. Senator Scullion also announced that $40 million over four years will be allocated to better evaluation of federal Indigenous affairs policies.
The Australian, Australia, 3 February 2017.
ABC News, Australia, 5 February 2017.

2 February

Noongar agreements ruled invalid by the Federal Court - WA
In a precedent-setting decision, the Federal Court has ruled that four of the six Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) which compose the proposed native title settlement between the Noongar people and the Western Australian Government cannot be registered.
The settlement would see the Noongar people's native title rights over 20,000 square kilometres of land in southwest Western Australia extinguished in return for a $1.3 billion land, finance and benefits package.
A challenge brought by four of the applicants argued that s 24CD of the Native Title Act requires all applicants to have signed an ILUA for it to be valid under the Act. The court agreed.
The four applicants have refused to sign the Wagyl Kaip and Southern Noongar, Ballardong People, Whadjuk People and South West Boojarah #2 agreements. The settlement has been under negotiation for the past five years, and was expected to be finalised early this year. There are now fears that hundreds of other ILUAs may be invalid under the precedent set by this ruling.
National Indigenous Times, Australia, 2 February 2017.
ABC News, Australia, 2 February 2017
The Guardian, Australia, 3 February 2017.

20 January

Budj Bim one step closer to World Heritage List - Vic
A 6,600 year old Aboriginal settlement and aquaculture complex at Lake Condah in southwestern Victoria has been nominated by the Federal Government to Australia's Tentative World Heritage List.
The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape will now be considered for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It would be Australia's 20th World Heritage site, and the first to be placed on the list purely for its Aboriginal cultural value.
The nomination validated the hard work that the Gunditjmarra traditional owners and their PBC, the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, have performed to restore the site and advocate for its inclusion on the National and World Heritage Lists.
The Gunditjmarra people used Lake Condah and the surrounding wetlands to farm eels, creating channels and holding pens using intricate stone traps to create one of the oldest known aquaculture sites in the world. The foundations of stone houses are also present at the site, evidence that the large number of eels harvested through the channels and pens allowed people to live their permanently.
ABC News, Australia, 20 January 2017.

Native Title in the News 2016

23 December

Yuin nation agrees to lodge native title claim - NSW
More than 500 members of the Yuin Aboriginal nation met in Narooma on the NSW south coast to approve the submission of a native title claim.
The claim covers 14,000 square kilometres of land along the NSW coast, streatching from Bundeena, north of Wollongong, to the Victorian border, and covers seas within 3 nautical miles of the coast.
Yuin traditional owner Wally Stewart said the meeting 'was probably one of the biggest events since colonisation that all Yuin people came and met in one place."
ABC News, Australia, 23 December 2016.

15 December

SA Government enters into treaty discussions
The South Australian Government has set aside $4.4 Million over five years to support negotiations for treaties with its First Nations. It has also flagged the appointment an independent comminssioner for treaties.
South Australian Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kyam Maher said negotiations had begun with the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association, the Far West Coast Aboriginal Corporation and the Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority. He hoped the first treaties would be completed within a year, with dozens more following over time.
The negotiations will be open-ended, and while the nature and format of the treaties will be determined by the negotiations, Minister Maher expected that formal frameworks for Aboriginal peoples to help design and implement policy would be one of the topics discussed.
ABC News, Australia, 15 December 2016.
The Australian, Australia, 14 December 2016.

2 December

Bigambul people's native title recognised - Qld
A special Federal Court hearing in Milmerran in southwest Queensland recognised the native title rights and interests of the Bigambul people.
The determination covers 2600 square kilometres of land and waters between Inglewood and St George, and from the NSW-Queensland border north to the Moonie River.
Justice John Reeve expressed concern over the amount of time it took to get a consent determination for the Bigambul people, who lodged their first native title claim in 1998.
Bigambul traditional owner Cheryl Moggs said of the decision, "It means I can go onto country and say to my ancestors and families past,'Thank you for fighting for us and and our country, now it is my turn to keep our customs and practices and to keep your spirit, teaching, wisdom, stories and connection alive for our people.'"
Chinchilla News, Australia, 2 December 2016.

19 October

Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation begins exciting new tourism venture - Qld
The Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC) have embarked on a new tourism project that will take visitors on a dreaming tour of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). This is the first organised day trip to the island that includes learning about Queensland's Indigenous history from its traditional owners.
50 conference delegates from Denmark were the ‘guinea pigs’ for the first tour which took them across Moreton Bay to Dunwich (or Goompi). The tour was very well received by the Danish delegates.
QYAC's initiative is supported by the Queensland Government with Dr Anthony Lynham, Minister for State Development stating that, "Projects like the CBD-North Straddie day trip are the kind of projects that government, QYAC and the Chamber of Commerce will look into as part of Straddie's economic transition."
The future of the island is being planned by a steering committee that includes the Stradbroke Island Chamber of Commerce, QYAC, the Department of State Development and the University of Queensland.
The Age, Australia, 19 October 2016.

26 September

WA Government accused of undermining native title rights
In a new briefing on threats to the land rights of indigenous peoples across the world, Oxfam International singled out the WA Government for policies which it claims will 'weaken Aboriginal land rights protections'.
The policies in question were the proposed changes to Aboriginal heritage legislation and the threatened closure of more than half of the state's remote Aboriginal communities. The Kimberley Land Council (KLC) is mentioned in the briefing as leading the opposition to these policies. Its Chief Executive, Nolan Hunter, has said that discriminatory actions such as these are preventing Aboriginal people from exercising their native title rights. "The real issue we are facing is that state land administration does not recognise native title."
The WA Government was the only government, whether national or regional, of a developed nation which was specifically criticised in the briefing.
The briefing, titled Custodians of the Land, Defenders of the Future, will be followed next month by a comprehensive analysis of 1500 land deals with indigenous peoples across the globe.
Oxfam International, United Kingdom, 26 September 2016.
National Indigenous Times, Australia, 27 September 2016.

15 September

NT Government to appeal Timber Creek compensation decision - NT
The Northern Territory Government has filed an appeal in the Federal Court against last month's landmark compensation ruling.
A government spokesman announced that while it accepts some aspects of the decision, it will dispute others including the valuation of non-economic loss.
The decision, over 23 square kilometres of land at Timber Creek, 600km southwest of Darwin, saw the NT Government ordered to pay $3.3 million to the Ngaliwurru and Nungali traditional owners. This included $1.3 million to compensate for the loss of cultural attachment to the land resulting from government actions, which was a first.
The $3.3 million will be set aside in an interest bearing trust account until the appeal is settled.
Northern Land Council CEO Joe Morrison said the appeal was not a surprise.
"I guess it comes to the point of what formula is being used to underpin the calculation that Justice Mansfield arrived at."
"I think it's in the benefit of Aboriginal people to have that aspect clarified going forward."
ABC News, Australia, 15 September 2016.

Income for Indigenous corporations up 8% in last year
According to the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC), the top 500 Indigenous corporations had a total income of $1.88 billion last year, up 8% on the year before.
The Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation (ALPA) took the number one spot, with an income of $89 million, compared to $60 million the year before. ALPA is a not-for-profit which started as a retailer in remote communities, and now also provides trades and mechanical work, job-placement services, social club management, accommodation and hospitality services across the Northern Territory, Cape York and the Torres Strait. 83% of its 933 employees are Indigenous.
Corporations in the Pilbara saw their incomes drop by an average of $1.18 million compared to the previous year, presumably due to the petering out of the mining boom.
Native title corporations as a group performed incredibly well over the last year. The average income for PBCs was more than $1.4 million, compared to $845,000 the year before.
The Australian, Australia, 15 September 2016.

2 September

Push for North Stradbroke Island to be renamed Minjerribah - Qld
The PBC for the traditional owners of North Stradbroke Island, the Quandamooka Yoolooburrbee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC), hopes that one day the island will be known by its original name of Minjerribah. The native title rights and interests of the Quandamooka people over North Stradbroke Island were recognised in 2011.
Minjerribah means 'Island in the Sun' in the Jandai language. CEO of QYAC, Cameron Costello, said Minjerribah was preferred to the current name as it reflected the long timeframe of connection to country.
"A lot of places around the bay are connected by Dreaming stories, so we're really only telling one section of the story if you're leaving out the names of those places."
Mr Costello said the change to Minjerribah would also help the island transition to a new identity after sandmining, which will end in 2019 after more than 60 years on the island.
"Talking to the tourism industry we don't expect it to change overnight; the dual branding with Uluru and Ayers Rock, I think it took ten years, and there was a planned transition and that worked really nicely. It's about bringing people along for the journey. For some people it will always be Straddie."
ABC News, Australia, 2 September 2016.

24 August

Timber Creek traditional owners awarded $3.3 million in compensation - NT
The Federal Court has handed down its first ever judgment on compensation for the loss of native title rights.
Justice Mansfield ruled that the Ngaliwurru and Nungali people are entitled to compensation for the extinguishment of their native title rights due to government actions, including the construction of a bridge and water tanks.
As part of the traditional owners' initial native title claim, which was determined in 2006, it was decided that native title had been extinguished from 23 square kilometres of land around the town of Timber Creek. The claim for compensation for extinguishment was lodged in 2011.
Aside from the compensation precedent the case may set, it was also important as it is the first time a court has attempted to quantitatively value the loss of cultural attachment to land, not just the value of the land itself.
The economic value of the extinguished native title rights was assessed at $512,000, with nearly $1.5 million in interest. An additional $1.3 million was ordered to be paid to compensate the traditional owners for the emotional distress caused by those government actions which had extinguished native title.
The actions had disturbed important dreaming tracks, which traditional owners said hurt them and caused bad omens. "The country should have been left alone the way it was ... if someone wanted to build something like the tank that stands there today they should've consulted with the people of the area," said traditional owner Chris Griffiths.
ABC News, Australia, 24 August 2016.

19 August

Challenge to Adani Carmichael coal mine dismissed by Federal Court - Qld
Adrian Burragubba, a senior traditional owner for the Wangan and Jagalingou people, has had his application for judicial review dismissed. He had sought to have a determination from April 2015 by the National Native Title Tribunal reviewed, arguing the determination incorrectly allowed mining leases to extinguish native title over part of the group's land.
Justice John Reeves found that the tribunal did not fail to observe the rules of natural justice, nor did it constructively fail to exercise its jurisdiction. He concluded that none of Mr Burragubba's grounds for review had merit.
Mr Burragubba, who argued that Adani had misled the tribunal about the economic benefits of the mine, has vowed to continue to fight the mine.
ABC News, Australia, 19 August 2016.
Australian Mining News, Australia, 19 August 2916.

15 August

Traditional owners will fight proposed uranium mine - WA
WA's Environmental Protection Authority has recommended for approval a proposed uranium mine at Mulga Rock, 240km east of Kalgoorlie.
Sandra Evans, an Elder of the Spinifex people, claims her people and the Pilki people of the Great Victoria Desert were not adequately consulted about the proposed mine.
"There are a lot of women's sites there – they didn't come to talk to the tribal women from there about clearing the grass trees and other special places," she explained. Bruce Hogan, the chair of Pila Nguru Aboriginal Corporation, the Spinifex people's PBC, said they would fight the mine.
"We can’t see how this mine could go ahead. The seven sister’s tjukupa (dreaming) goes through there and the two wadis (lore men) went through that area too. The elders used to take us there for cultural practice, they would leave us there for a few days and then come back to pick us up."
The director of Vimy Resources, which is proposing the new mine, countered that there has never been a native title claim over the area.
He added that the Wongatha people had a claim over an area north of the proposed mine which was rejected in 2007. As the proposed mine's borefield is within this area, Vimy said it has worked with the Wongatha people to survey significant sites in the area.
ABC News, Australia, 15 August 2016.
Perth Now, Australia, 15 August 2016.

11 August

Murray-Darling First Nations produce statement on water rights, discuss treaty
At a meeting in Canberra, representatives of 46 Aboriginal First Nations within the Murray-Darling Basin have produced a statement calling on all levels of government to take steps to recognise and protect the rights and interests that the Aboriginal peoples of the catchment area have in regards to water.
The meeting of members of the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations and the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations also saw the beginning of talks to establish a formal treaty between the 46 nations of the catchment area.
Fred Hooper, chairman of the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations, believes any treaty would be a groundbreaking development.
"It will be the first time that this will have happened in Australia, and it will be a step forward in this whole historic dispossession."
"A treaty between ourselves is the first step in a treaty for the rest of the country."
Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations, Australia, 11 August 2016.
ABC News, Australia, 12 August 2016.

10 August

Ngurra Kayanta people's native title recognised - WA
The Federal Court recognised the Ngurra Kayanta people's native title rights and interests in a consent determination at Jalyirr.
The determination covers approximately 20,000 square kilometres of land in far eastern Western Australia, between Lake Mackay and Lake George, west of the Ngururrupa determination area and northeast of the Martu determination area.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion saw this as a great outcome for the Ngurra Kayanta people and their legal respresentative Central Desert Native Title Services, and recognised the hard work of everyone involved.
"The Ngurra Kayanta people now have the certainty that their rights and interests and ongoing connection to country are preserved for current and future generations." He said.
National Indigenous Times, Australia, 10 August 2016.

Lake Torrens native title claims dismissed - SA
Three overlapping native title applications to the land and waters of Lake Torrens, Australia's second largest salt lake, were dismissed because the archaeological evidence did not favour any particular applicant. Justice Mansfield noted that while there is archaeological evidence of ancient Aboriginal activity on the western shore of the lake, it did not specifically support any one of the claims over the others.
While the Kokatha, Adnyamathanha and Barngarla peoples' applications were dismissed, there was no finding that native title rights and interests were extinguished or did not exist. The area is close to the existing Olympic Dam uranium mine and the proposed sites of two new mines.
The Advertiser, Australia, 10 August 2016.

9 August

New round of Aboriginals Benefit Account funding opens 23 August - NT
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is inviting Indigenous organisations in the Northern Territory to apply for the new round of Aboriginals Benefit Account grants funding, which will open 23 August 2016.
Applications must be for one-off projects which benefit Aboriginal people living in the Northern Territory. Proposals will be accepted under four different funding categories:

Depending on the nature of the proposal, applicants may need to seek advice from the Indigenous Land Corporation or Indigenous Business Australia on the viability of the project, and include this information in the application. Applications will close at 12pm (noon) Central Standard Time, 20 September 2016.
More information can be found on the Department's website.

Crowd funding campaign to get Aurukun kids back on country - Qld
APN Cape York, a charity controlled by the Wik traditional owners, has started the Tha' Pemp Wuut Mangkantam or Returning Generation Project to teach Aurukun children about their culture.
The current goal is to fund 30 Wik children to take part in a four day camp in September at outstations on the Wik traditional homelands. Many Aurukun children have not had the opportunity to visit the homelands before. "Put simply, these children have never been home," said traditional owner Bruce Martin.
Preservation of cultural values and traditions is at the core of the new project. Donations can be made on the APN Cape York website.
Cairns Post, Australia, 9 August 2016.

29 July

Appeal over competing native title claim in the Pilbara dismissed - WA
Federal Court hearings into an exclusive native title claim by the Yindjibarndi people will continue after the rejection of an overlapping claim was upheld on appeal.
Last year the Wintawari Guruma Aboriginal Corporation, which represents the Eastern Guruma people, launched a competing claim over land which included Fortescue Metals Group's (FMG) Solomon iron ore mine. A successful claim by the Eastern Guruma would have prevented Yindjibarndi exclusive native title being recognised over the land. The claim was dismissed earlier this year, and Wintawari Guruma Aboriginal Corporation appealed the decision.
Justice John Gilmore upheld the original judgment this week, which found that the delay caused by the competing claim to the Yindjibarndi exclusive native title hearings would constitute "an abuse of the process of the court".
Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) has agreements with all the mining companies operating in the area under the Yindjibarndi exclusive claim save for FMG. In his decision on the appeal Justice Gilmore noted that FMG had paid one of the future applicants to the Eastern Guruma claim over $1,000 in 2014 to attend a meeting about the area. An FMG-supported breakaway group from YAC also attended the meeting.
FMG has denied the meeting had anything to do with the subsequent Eastern Guruma claim, saying it was about a cultural heritage project on the site which involved a number of different traditional owner groups.
ABC News, Australia, 29 July 2016.
The Australian, Australia, 29 July 2016.

26 July

Solar power project fuels return to country in the Barkly - NT
The Kunapa communities of Ngurrara and Kurnturlpara, on the Barkly Tableland east of Tennant Creek, had dwindled down to just two people earlier this year. The communities are not connected to mains power, and relied on diesel generators. The expense of running the generators was too much for many residents, who had to move into town.
"My wife and I were living out there in one of the two houses in our community," resident Graeme Smith explained. "Twice a week we had to drive for half an hour to get two 44-gallon drums of diesel to power the houses. We were spending about $700 a week just on diesel ... collectively we were easily spending around $1,500 a week to run five houses."
Mr Smith had the bright idea to consider solar power as an alternative, and approached Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) for help. IBA and the Indigenous corporation AllGrid Energy agreed to finance a seven year lease-to-buy pilot solar power generation and storage project on the communities. Now, solar panels and battery storage provide all the communities' energy needs.
The Kunapa clan's Manungurra Aboriginal Corporation, of which Graeme is the CEO, covers half the lease repayment, and residents cover the other half. Graeme says that lease repayments are around $600 per week between the five houses in the communities, less than half what they were paying for diesel power.
Since the project started in June, about 40 people have moved back to Ngurrara and Kurnturlpara. Houses that were abandoned years ago now have occupants, and a School of the Air has been set up for the kids.
With more people out on the communities, Manungarra Aboriginal Corporation has big plans for the local economy. They will start providing municipal services, look to take on contracts for remote work, and develop the existing cattle station and bring on a fodder farm, all providinbg jobs and income. "We're giving people a reason to live here," said Mr Smith. "By returning to country we're able to ensure that the culture, storyline and songlines continue."
AllGrid Energy hopes that by working with the communities to monitor their energy usage, it can design solar systems better suited to the bush, and help more communities become self-sufficient.
The Guardian, Australia, 26 July 2016.

20 July

Claims BHP shut traditional owners out of sale of pastoral lease - WA
The Buurabalayji Thalanyji Aboriginal Corporation, the Thalanyji people's PBC in Western Australia's Pilbara, had hoped to purchase Urala Station near Onslow to produce cattle and create more than 30 jobs.
The owner of the lease, BHP Billiton, instead sold the station and its associated lease to DBP Development Group, which operates the Dampier to Bunbury natural gas pipeline.
Buurabalayji Thalanyji's chairman Matthew Slack claims that they were shut out of the sale, and did not know it had occurred until they were notified by the State Government about two months later. The PBC believes that BHP was aware of their long-standing ambitions for the lease, and that there was an understanding that BHP would give Buurabalayji Thalanyji first right of refusal to any proposed purchase.
Mr Slack noted that although independent experts had valued Urala Station at much less than it is believed DBP Development Group paid for it, Buurabalayji Thalanyji would have been willing to match the offer.
The West Australian, Australia, 20 July 2016.

13 July

PBCs can't deliver benefits without support, warns Tribunal president
Raelene Webb QC, the president of the National Native Title Tribunal, has called attention to the fact that many PBCs are under-resourced, and so struggle to fulfil their legal obligations or meet the aspirations of traditional owners.
"One example I can give is of a PBC with a determination of native title supported by an agreement which created benefits and opportunities for the group which they were unable to activate because they didn't have an office, they didn't have a computer, they didn't have a fax machine, and they didn't have a telephone. The address for service of documents is the address of someone who is no longer associated with the PBC," she told the Australian Financial Review.
"Everyone at the moment is very focused on the economic benefits of native title but you are not going to get them if you can't actually make the agreements work."
She warned that unless they are given more support, managing a post-determination wave of litigation within PBCs will become the next big issue in native title. She called upon governments, NTRBs and PBCs to work together to find solutions to these and other issues.
Australian Financial Review, Australia, 13 July 2016.

6 July

Rrumburriya Borroloola people's commercial native title rights recognised - NT
The Federal Court handed down its decision last week, which recognised the traditional owners' right to exclusive possession of vacant lots of Crown land in the town of Borroloola, about 970km southeast of Darwin.
It also recognised the right of the Rrumburriya Borroloola people - who are members of the wider Yanyuwa group - to take resources for commercial purposes. This was the first time the right to trade has been recognised in the Northern Territory.
The recognition of commercial rights hinged on the evidence presented by the claimants of centuries of trade between Yanyuwa peoples in the region and Macassan seafarers from Indonesia, who came to Australia to collect trepang (sea cucumbers). In his decision, Justice Mansfield found that these transactions could be described as of a commercial kind, and that the Yanyuwa peoples may have drawn on their traditional laws and customs in conducting the trade.
The CEO of the Northern Land Council, Joe Morrison, heralded the judgment as a "landmark native title decision" that would help Aboriginal people create economic opportunities.
ABC News, Australia, 6 July 2016.
Northern Land Council, Australia, 1 July 2016.

4 July

Aboriginal Regional Authorities recognised - SA
Three Aboriginal organisations have been recognised as South Australia's first Aboriginal Regional Authorities. The groups are the Far West Coast Aboriginal Corporation, Ngarrindjeri Regional Authority and Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association.
The agreement means they will get a seat at the table when government agencies are designing policies and service delivery for Indigenous people in their region.
"When Aboriginal people are more involved in the decisions that affect them, better policy and service delivery outcomes happen." Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kyam Maher said. "One thing in common with all three regional authorities is that they've all got a strong focus on economic development."
The three groups will be the only authorities for at least a year, but the State Government will then look at authorising other groups.
ABC News, Australia, 4 July 2016.
The Transcontinental, Australia, 5 July 2016.

23 June

Iman people's native title recognised - Qld
There are moments in time where words, for what they are worth, fail us.
Thursday’s historic sitting of the Federal Court in Taroom, which concluded the Iman people’s 19 year battle to regain native title over their lands, was one of those moments. With the consent determination made, Justice John Reeves adjourned the court, and a hush momentarily descended over the 400-strong gallery as thousands of years of Iman history, already inscribed upon the landscape, was officially inscribed in law.
The native title consent determination made yesterday pertains to a 14,000 square kilometre area of land around the towns of Taroom and Wandoan. For Dena Dodd-Ugle, who gleefully described herself as a “former applicant”, yesterday was a momentous occasion. “A lot of people have died along the way,” she said.
“It means so much to us - this is our country. It’s always been our country and now the Federal Court, one of the highest courts in Australia has determined it to be our country.”
Chinchilla News, Australia, 24 June 2016.

22 June

Federal Court recognises Darumbal native title - Qld
The Darumbal people filed a native title application for land covering most of central Queensland almost two decades ago — making it one of the longest running claims in the state's history. Today in a special on-country hearing, Federal Court Judge Bernea Collins acknowledged them as the traditional owners.
The agreement recognises the Darumbal people's right to hunt, fish, gather, teach and conduct traditional ceremonies on the land. The determination area covers almost 15,000 square kilometres.
Warren Malone was one of the people who made the application in 1997, and said the formal recognition was important for his people.
"I've noticed since we started, I'm all about the kids and I've noticed the pride they have in themselves now is just fantastic."
ABC News, Australia, 22 June 2016.
The Morning Bulletin, Australia, 22 June 2016.

Native title manager slams Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron for failure to consult on Deanbilla Bay sailing school plan - Qld
The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron’s plan to open a sailing school on North Stradbroke Island has sparked controversy with the island’s traditional owners seemingly keep out of the loop. The Manly-based squadron has taken over a lease on land at Deanbilla Bay, near Dunwich, from mining company Sibelco to establish a sailing destination for its club.
But Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation chief executive officer Cameron Costello said the RQYS had not consulted with them on native title rights on the waters of Deanbilla Bay. He said the lack of consultation was “not how you do business with traditional owners”.
“To continue to try to progress the project without engaging with us is not an appropriate way to do business with people who have property rights (traditional owners),” he said. “The Quandamooka People’s native title commences as soon as you step into the water on that site.”
Wynnum Herald, Australia, 22 June 2016.

21 June

Developing Northern Australia: plans not embracing Indigenous people, native title holders should have veto - NT
Speaking at the Developing Northern Australia Conference in Darwin, Indigenous leaders Peter Yu and Richie Ah Mat expressed fears that the Government's current push to develop northern Australia was not addressing the interests and concerns of traditional owners.
Mr Yu said the Government was focussing on traditional industries such as mining and irrigated agriculture, but was "practically silent" on economic activities where Indigenous people were leading — such as land management, carbon sequestration, conservation and eco-tourism.
"Currently there is no structural or formal engagement between Indigenous people and Governments over the future development of northern Australia," he said. "This is a huge omission and must be addressed if we are to imagine an inclusive northern Australian development future."
Mr Ah Mat called for native title holders to be given veto rights over all development, arguing it would help streamline negotiations to better exploit the potential of Australia’s north while ensuring the benefits were properly shared.
“Consent will not be given unless there are reasonable benefits from the development for traditional owners,” He said.
“The Native Title Act needs to be amended to provide that traditional owners must consent to all development, including mining, where native title exists. This must also be reflected in state legislation.”
ABC News, Australia, 21 June 2016.
The Australian, Australia, 21 June 2016.

Traditional owners call for water rights one year on from Barkindji native title determination - NSW
It has been a year since the Barkindji people were granted the largest native title claim in New South Wales but some traditional owners say they need more rights to water. The native title claim covers the state's far west, extending from Wentworth at the Victorian border to Wanaaring in the north-west of New South Wales.
"The native title means a lot to us, it means we have recognition of who we are on our country," Barkindji man Badger Bates said.
"It was about 12 months ago since we had the native title, but then in that 12 months, the government came along and we feel that they have given us our native title, but then they took our lifeblood, the river."
Many Indigenous people in far west New South Wales believe the drying up of the Darling River is due to an over allocation of water to upstream irrigators by authorities — which the State Government has denied.
ABC News, Australia, 21 June 2016.

20 June

Central mobs celebrate native title decisions - NT
Native title holders near Alice Springs have celebrated consent determinations at two special sittings of the Federal Court at remote central Australian outstations.
At a sitting at Cockatoo Creek east of Yuendumu on June 16 he handed down a determination of native title over the whole of Mt Denison Station, more than 2,700 square kilometres. The determination at M’Bunghara outstation, one day earlier, was in relation to an area covering the whole of Narwietooma Station, almost 2,600 square kilometres, and a portion of the Dashwood Creek where the claimants proved exclusive possession.
The Wala Aboriginal Corporation, whose members are the common law native title holders, will become the Registered Native Title Body Corporate that holds their rights and interests.
National Indigenous Times, Australia, 20 June 2016.

18 June

7000ha land returned to Yarrabah traditional owners, the Gunggandji - Qld
The entire headland of Yarrabah has been returned to the town’s traditional owners, ending a 25-year struggle for land rights and creating cultural and economic opportunities. The transfer of 7000ha of land to the Gunggandji people yesterday coincided with Foundation Celebrations in the Indigenous community east of Cairns. The occasion marked 124 years since Yarrabah was established as an Anglican Mission.
Gunggandji Prescribed Body Corporate Aboriginal Corporation chairman Frederick Noble welcomed the deeds to the land, which came five years after a native title determination for the area. “Receiving the deeds to our land means we’re in control of our future and that of our younger generations,” he said.
Cairns Post, Australia, 18 June 2016

14 June

Kimberley's Geikie Gorge to return to its Indigenous name over 100 years later - WA
Over 100 years after the Kimberley's popular Geikie Gorge tourist destination was named after a Scottish geologist, plans are underway to change the name back to its Indigenous name of Danggu.
Bunuba traditional owner Mary Aiken says the name change has been discussed for many years. "One of the Forrest brothers renamed that place as Geikie Gorge," Ms Aiken told Fiona Poole on ABC Kimberley radio. "At that time, all my ancestors, my grandfather's father and my mother's father, they were all living in that area and it was their homeland."
As well as being a Bunuba homeland, the soon to be renamed Geikie Gorge is a place of historical tragedy for traditional owners who were attacked by colonists in the late 19th century.
ABC News, Australia, 14 June 2016

7 June

Call for action against 'charlatans' targeting Aboriginal communities
Aboriginal leaders are calling for a crackdown on "charlatans" who for decades have preyed on Aboriginal communities and misappropriated enormous amounts of money meant for the nation's poorest people.
The National Congress of Australia's First Peoples co-chair Jackie Huggins said "unscrupulous charlatans" were still being allowed to prey on Indigenous communities despite $1 billion being spent each year by the Government in managing the massive Indigenous affairs budget.
The ABC's Four Corners program last night revealed that 44 Indigenous organisations and programs are being investigated by compliance officers at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's Indigenous Affairs Group.
ABC News, Australia, 7 June 2016

30 May

Traditional owners disappointed by scaling back of proposed fin fish farm - WA
Traditional owners in Western Australia's far north are disappointed their bid to start a fin fish farm in the West Kimberley will likely be scaled back by the State Government.
The Bardi Jawi, Dambimangari and Mayala people - along with a private partner - are the proponents behind the Aarli Mayi Project. Their vision is to create a sustainable future for traditional owners through employment at a planned aquaculture operation in the Kimberley Aquaculture Development Zone (KADZ), north of Broome.
On Thursday the Department of Fisheries doubled the licence of Marine Produce Australia - which already operates a barramundi farm in the KADZ - to 15,000-tonnes a year. A decision on the Aarli Mayi application is yet to come, but Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation CEO Peter McCumstie said he was disappointed the remaining quota was far less than what he expected.
ABC News, Australia, 30 May 2016

Traditional owners make native title claim on land in Grampians National Park - Vic
Traditional land owners in western Victoria would be able to hunt for kangaroos and emus, camp, fish and care for the popular Grampians National Park (also known as Gariwerd) if a native title claim is successful. A group of Indigenous people on Monday lodged a native title claim for 1672 square kilometres of Crown land at the national park.
The popular tourist spot is culturally significant for many Indigenous groups, including the Djab Wurrung and Jardwadjali​ peoples, with 80 per cent of Victoria's rock art sites in the national park. The native title claim has been submitted by a coalition of traditional owners including the Barengi Gadjin Land Council, Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owner Aboriginal Corporation and Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation.
The Age, Australia, 30 May 2016

23 May

Future unclear for Far Northern Indigenous business plan - Qld
A Far Northern Indigenous business plan aimed at creating 13 jobs is facing uncertainty after it was denied federal funding. Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation had applied for a grant under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy to support a “tourism and land management enterprise development between Port Douglas and Cooktown”.
Key to the proposal was money for a manager to help the corporation better navigate the complexities of Indigenous land use. But the group recently received a letter saying funding wouldn't be approved. Jabalbina chief executive and former Labor MP for Leichhardt Jim Turnour said employees were “struggling to understand” what more they needed to do to get government support.
Cairns Post, Australia, 23 May 2016

18 May

High Court challenge dropped by Cape York's Wik Way native title holders - Qld
The Ngan Aak-Kunch Aboriginal Corporation, representing Wik and Wik Way native title holders in the Aurukun area, has dropped a High Court challenge against the Queensland Government. It has been unhappy with the State Government's choice of Glencore as the preferred developer for the region's rich bauxite deposits and launched a High Court challenge last year. The group remains opposed to Glencore's involvement, having signed an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with a rival consortium.
ABC News, Australia, 18 May 2016

24 April

Budj Bim heritage site to get $8m upgrade to help UNESCO bid - Vic
A little-known Aboriginal heritage site in south-west Victoria has moved one step closer to UNESCO World Heritage listing with the Victorian Government announcing $8 million to improve visitor facilities. The Budj Bim lava flow landscape north of Portland is home to some of the oldest known examples of man-made aquaculture systems in the world, as well as evidence of numerous Aboriginal settlements.
The Gunditjmara people built the complex system of weirs and eel traps 6,600 years ago, across 3,000 hectares of land, providing them with enough sustenance to settle in one place. Their descendants have managed the land for the past 15 years and more recently have been working on their application for World Heritage listing. Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins said the upgrades could see Budj Bim put on the UNESCO list in the next few years.
Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation chairman Damein Bell said he was excited to share his land with more people. "As Gunditjmara we believe if we share the story we help protect the story of the landscape," he said.
ABC News, Australia, 24 April 2016

20 April

Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation votes in 12 board directors after dispute - WA
Members of a Pilbara Aboriginal corporation embroiled in a mining dispute have voted overwhelmingly in favour of mostly existing board members. The Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) went into receivership after the Supreme Court ruled the election of its previous board invalid.
It followed a split of two groups within the YAC, who were at odds over Fortescue Metals Group's (FMG) iron ore expansion. FMG's mines sit on Yindjibarndi land, officially represented by the YAC. FMG has thrown its support and resources behind a breakaway group, the Wirlu-Murra Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation.
The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations visited the Pilbara on Tuesday to assist the Yindjibarndi people elect new leaders. More than 200 people met in Roebourne, east of Karratha, to vote in 12 new board directors. YAC CEO Michael Woodley said no members of the breakaway group had been elected.
ABC News, Australia, 20 April 2016

17 April

Traditional owners split on Adani mine - Qld
Traditional land owners have voted in favour of allowing a coal mine to be opened by Adani in central Queensland but some from the Indigenous group have labelled the vote a sham. More than 300 people attended the Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) meeting on Saturday where Adani said members "voted overwhelmingly" to authorise an Indigenous Land Use Agreement with the miners for the construction and operation of the Carmichael mine west of Mackay.
But competing interests in the W&J claim group, which acts similarly to an electorate made up of 12 families, have complicated the company's ability to secure an ILUA. Despite Adani's claims the vote was properly convened and independently chaired in accordance with statutory process, the anti-Adani group, Wangan and Jagalingou Family Council, has released a statement describing it as a "sham meeting which has engineered a sham outcome".
Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, 17 April 2016

24 March

'This is for all Aboriginal people': Birriah people recognised after 18 years - Qld
The Federal Court has recognised the Birriah People as the traditional owners of 9,845 square kilometres of land and waters between Mackay and Townsville in Queensland's north. The decision will give traditional owners more control over the use of their land. "It was quite emotional," said traditional owner Darren Lenoy. "We got some closure in a lot of things. We got our identity back.This fight for the determination has been going since 1998. Overall our people have been fighting since 1788, since Australia became Australia. This is for all Aboriginal people."
NITV, Australia, 24 March 2016

4 March

Mining deal opens new chapter for Martu - WA
Last week Martu from the western desert stood alongside Newcrest staff at Irramindi (Telfer) to announce an agreement which will contribute $14m to an independent trust to fund community development, education and health initiatives whilst also providing financial certainty to the local Prescribed Body Corporate, Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation (WDLAC). Most importantly, the deal puts Martu in a strong position to capture employment and contracting opportunities at Telfer.
National Indigenous Times, Australia, 4 March 2016

29 February

Native title veterans fight 'racist' Queensland mining law
A new land rights battle over a $20 billion bauxite deposit in far-north Queensland, one of most valuable in the world, is headed for the High Court. The case alleges racial discrimination under a special Queensland law preventing legal challenges to mining agreements over Aurukun Aboriginal land in Cape York. Traditional owners say economic self-determination is at stake. “We have this native title, but what does it mean? You know. We still don’t have that right even though it was given to us,” said Barbara Bandicootcha, Wik woman and a director of Ngan Aak-Kunch Aboriginal Corporation.
SBS News, Australia, 29 February 2016

17 February

Proving 'the knockers' wrong: Kokatha people bring new life to run-down cattle stations in northern SA
It's taken almost 20 years to achieve, but the Kokatha people of northern South Australia are finally realising their dream, to live and work on their traditional country. In 2014, the native title holders were granted pastoral leases over three properties formerly held by mining giant BHP, in arid rangeland country 500 kilometres north of Adelaide. The 5,000 square kilometre tract of land, encompassing Andamooka, Purple Downs and Roxby Downs Stations, now form the heart of Kokatha Pastoral Company.
ABC Rural, Australia, 17 February 2016

12 February

Flinders Ranges renamed in recognition of traditional Aboriginal owners - SA
The Flinders Ranges National Park has been officially renamed to incorporate the traditional Aboriginal word for the area. Traditional owner Mark McKenzie confirmed the park was officially renamed Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park in a ceremony on Friday at Wilpena Pound, 430 kilometres north of Adelaide. Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association chairman Michael Anderson said the change recognised the spiritual and cultural significance of the area for traditional owners.
ABC News, Australia, 12 February 2016

8 February

Historic loss of native title compensation case gets underway in tiny Northern Territory town
A hearing is underway in Timber Creek, on the West Australian-Northern Territory border, to determine how to compensate the traditional owners who have lost native title rights on parts of their land. This historical case is the first time in Australia the Federal Court will determine how to compensate for the loss of native title, setting an important precedent for others who have lost their land. The Ngaliwurru and Nungali people first applied for native title in 1999. In 2006, they won native title rights in some parts of their town but it was lost in others.
ABC News, Australia, 8 February 2016

29 January

Development of sugar industry in Ord valley looks shaky, after native title talks stall - NT
Negotiations between the NT Government and the Northern Land Council, acting on behalf of the traditional owners, over an 1,800 hectare block of agricultural land on the Knox Plain are unlikely to be completed soon.The NLC's chief executive, Joe Morrison, was critical of the development process, saying it could have progressed faster if traditional owners were involved more extensively and at an earlier stage.
ABC News, Australia, 29 January 2016

2 January

Asia puts locals between a rock and a hard place - NT, WA
As all eyes turn northwards to capitalise on the Top End’s proximity to Asia, tensions are emerging between developers and traditional owners. Northern Land Council chief executive Joe Morrison said two “huge” projects were causing angst among traditional owners because they were faced with the potential of extinguishing native title from the land.
The Australian, Australia, 2 January 2016


Native Title in the News 2015

23 December

High Court challenge to $1.3b native title deal - WA
Action has begun in the High Court to try to stop a native title deal that could be worth $1.3 billion to the Noongar people of the south west of Western Australia. The challenge is by other Noongar native title claimants who say they did not agree to the deal with the WA government to relinquish native title rights in return for a $1.3 billion compensation package.
SBS News, Australia, 23 December 2015

Ngarluma native title rights in Wickham, Port Samson, Karratha recognised in Federal Court ruling - WA
An Indigenous group has welcomed a Federal Court ruling in favour of its native title rights to the Pilbara towns of Wickham, Port Samson and Karratha. The Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation filed the non-exclusive rights application in 2008, on behalf of the Ngarluma people. The claim covers about 21 square kilometres of land in the Roebourne Shire, originally excluded from an application made in 2005.
ABC Message Stick, Australia, 23 December 2015

21 December

Native title threat to leases - WA
The Federal Court of Australia is weighing up claims that the State Government bungled the renewal of pastoral leases covering about 87 million hectares. The validity of the new leases is being tested in a case involving the Government and the Tjiwarl people, who are seeking native title over 13,600sqkm covering the town of Leinster and parts of the shires of Wiluna, Leonora and Sandstone.
The West Australian, Australia, 21 December 2015

18 December

Bush tucker trend: Indigenous custodians call for protections on native foods - NSW, NT
Raylene Brown, an Indigenous woman who runs an Alice Springs catering company, is one of many advocates calling for proper recognition and financial rewards for the original custodians of bush foods as the industry expands and its export potential grows.
The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, 18 December 2015

16 December

Nuclear waste dump: Aboriginal traditional owners vow to oppose proposed radioactive facility near Alice Springs - NT
The Federal Government has rejected claims that consultation for a proposed nuclear waste facility near Alice Springs has been a rushed process.
ABC News, Australia, 16 December 2015

Stradbroke Island's Indigenous Green Army program empowers youth connection to country - Qld
A group of young Indigenous adults are helping restore Stradbroke Island's landscape and creating their own personal connection to country. Earlier this year the Green Army project, a six-month Federal Government-funded program, saw youth on the island receive hands-on environmental management training. In partnership with SEQ Catchments, a community-based group, and the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, culturally significant sites on the island have been restored.
ABC News, Australia, 16 December 2015

15 December

Native title granted by Federal Court for Yandruwandha Yawarrawarrka people - SA
Descendants of Aboriginal families who helped Burke and Wills on their ill-fated expedition through central Australia have won native title over their outback land. Hundreds of Yandruwandha Yawarrawarrka people have gathered near Innamincka in South Australia for a bush hearing of the Federal Court.
ABC News, Australia, 15 December 2015
SBS News, Australia, 15 December 2015

Indigenous cattle station in Western Australia attracts interest from international investors - WA
An irrigated agriculture trial at an Indigenous owned and operated cattle station in Western Australia's far north is attracting interest from international investors.
ABC Rural, Australia, 15 December 2015

10 December

Native title claim for Yandruwandha Yawarrawarrka people close to being rubber stamped - SA
A native title claim lodged 20 years ago will be finalised in a bush hearing in South Australia's remote outback next week.The Yandruwandha Yawarrawarrka people will be formally recognised as the traditional owners of 40,000 square kilometres of the state's far north-east.
ABC News, Australia, 10 December 2015

23 November

Adani 'misled' tribunal, say owners - Qld
Indian mining giant Adani misled a native title tribunal by exaggerating the economic benefits of its planned $16.5 billion Carmichael mine, traditional owners claim. The Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners' Council has become the latest group to legally challenge Australia's largest proposed coal mine, for Queensland's Galilee Basin, taking their fight to the Federal Court in Brisbane.
Nine News, Australia, 23 November 2015

28 April

Native title hearings begin in Cairns - Qld
After more than 10 years, two native title claims have been finalised in Cairns. In one determination, land previously kept as the Bromley and Boynton pastoral stations on the Cape York Peninsula will be assigned to descendants of the Wuthathi, Kuuku Ya'u and Northern Kaanju people. In the second determination, an area of around 1181 square km in and around Shelburne Bay will be finalised for the Wuthathi people.
News.com.au, Australia, 28 April 2015
SBS, Australia, 28 April 2015
The Guardian, Australia, 29 April 2015
The Australian – National Affairs, Australia, 29 April 2015

24 April

Digger’s family fighting for land rights - Qld
Private Peter Craigie’s grandchildren have lodged a native title claim for a parcel of land which includes Ardmore, Stradbroke and Buckingham Downs stations. Peter Craigie’s grandson Joe Rogers said “we want to get that connection to the land where my grandfather was from…we don’t want their land, we just want native title rights and interests on the land of our grandfather, the black Digger.”
The North West Star, Australia, 24 April 2015

23 April

Noongar native title settlement: Federal Government to pay less than 1 per cent of $1.3 billion cost - WA
Colin Barnet has told WA Parliament that the Abbott Government has only agreed to contribute less than $11 million to the historic $1.3 billion native title settlement covering Perth and the South West.
ABC News, Australia, 23 April 2015
The West Australian, Australia, 24 April 2015

15 April

Native Title Agreements Finalised - WA
The Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation and Rutila Resources limited have signed a number of native title agreements authorising the development of the Balla Balla Port and that part of the proposed rail line to the central Pilbara region that is on Ngarluma country.
Finance News Network, Australia, 15 April 2015

See the full April - Native Title in the News here.

29 March

Kimberley traditional owners want tighter controls over tourism to protect sacred sites - WA
Dambimangari traditional owners who have been granted exclusive possession native title rights of land and sea off the northern Kimberley coast are looking to charge fees and tighten the regulation of the cruise boat industry to protect the region‟s sacred sites.
ABC News, Australia, 29 March 2015

Northern Territory Indigenous community says it was not adequately consulted over fracking permits - NT
Tensions are rising in the Northern Territory as some residents of a remote Aboriginal community say they were not adequately consulted on the granting of fracking permits on Aboriginal freehold land.
ABC News, Australia, 29 March 2015

26 March

WA recognition for Aboriginals endorsed - WA
WA Premier Colin Barnett has committed the Government to support Kimberley MLA and Gidja woman Josie Farrer's push to amend the Constitution preamble after a joint parliamentary committee endorsed her plan. The change would acknowledge Aboriginal people as the first West Australians and traditional custodians of the land and commit Parliament to effect reconciliation.
9 News, Australia, 26 March 2015
ABC News, Australia, 26 March 2015

The West Australian, Australia, 27 March 2015

25 March

Mining giants to hand over rights to area in the Kimberley for new national park - WA
Rio Tinto and Alcoa have handed back 40-year-old mining rights to the Mitchell Plateau in the Kimberley as part of a proposal by the Western Australian government to create the country’s largest national park. Traditional owners in the area opposed mining but some are concerned at giving up exclusive possession rights for a national park to be established. The WA environment minister, Albert Jacob, said the government would work with traditional owners to jointly manage the national park.
The Guardian, Australia, 25 March 2015

21 March

The story behind Stradbroke Island's planning time bomb - QLD
Quandamooka elder Uncle Ian Delaney is the face of the Quandamooka people's push to have things improve for Aboriginal culture on Stradbroke Island. Ian Delaney says future planning needs to start soon, because since native title was granted over the area in July 2011, people want to go and live in the bush. He said "They are entitled to do that. But because of safety concerns, we have got to encourage them to wait until we have the proper infrastructure in those areas."
Brisbane Times
, Australia, 21 March 2015

Brisbane Times, Australia, 27 March 2015

19 March

Aboriginal groups want cultural fishing rights made law in NSW - NSW
Aboriginal groups have called on both sides of New South Wales politics to formally recognise cultural fishing rights before the state election. In 2009, both houses of Parliament passed an amendment to the Fisheries Management Act that would allow Aboriginal people the right to unlimited fishing for personal and cultural purposes. But six years later that law has still not come into force in NSW.
ABC Indigenous, Australia, 19 March 2015

Traditional Owners monitor the health of rivers and wetlands - NSW & VIC
Recognising that the Aboriginal peoples in the Murray-Darling Basin have been intimately connected to its river systems for thousands of years, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority has worked with Traditional Owners from Deniliquin and Walgett in New South Wales and the Victorian Alps to test a method to measure the health of river and wetland places.
Indigenous.gov.au, Australia, 19 March 2015

18 March

Badimia native title claim over 36,000sq km in WA's mid-west rejected - WA
A native title claim by the Badimia people, for 36,000 square kilometres of land in Western Australia has been rejected by the Federal Court. The claim was dismissed due to ‘connection issues’ as the court did not believe there was sufficient evidence to prove the Badimia people’s ongoing connection to country.
ABC News, Australia, 18 March 2015

16 March

Barngarla native title claim determined - SA
Keith Thomas of SA Native Title Services talks to Kaliah Alice about the significance of the Court decision in January 2015, to recognise native title for the Barngarla people of South Australia.
Radio Adelaide, Australia, 16 March 2015

11 March

Traditional owners in WA to launch class action over deregistration of sacred sites - WA 
In the past year several culturally significant sites have had their protection withdrawn by the Western Australian Government on the basis they no longer fit the definition of a sacred site. Traditional owners in WA are now set to launch a class action lawsuit against the State Government over the deregistration of these sacred Indigenous sites.
ABC News, Australia, 11 March 2015

4 March

Native Title meeting stirs Noongar activism - WA
The Native Title Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) Authorisation Meetings in Katanning was decided by a narrow margin to the Yes vote 207-200. After the first two Native Title Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) Authorisation Meetings in Bunbury and Busselton which recorded big wins for the Yes vote, the case for the No vote had its last chance in Katanning to challenge the overall claim. The three further meetings are planned for March.
The Guardian – the workers weekly, Australia, 4 March 2015

See the full March - Native Title in the News here.

2014

18 December

Native Title Ministers’ Meeting - Aust.
At a meeting in Brisbane today, Commonwealth, state and territory ministers responsible for native title met to continue discussions about improving the native title system. The meeting followed upon the decision of ministers to renew discussions about the operation of the Native Title Act in Darwin in August this year.
Indigenous.gov.au, Australia, 18 December 2014

17 December

Olkola celebrate return of country - QLD
The Olkola people of south-central Cape York were celebrating last week after 739,000 hectares of ancestral country was returned to them as Aboriginal freehold land. The Olkola started negotiating for the return of lands nearly 30 years ago.
The Koori Mail, Australia, pg. 26, 17 December 2014
National Indigenous Times, Australia, pg. 14, 17 December 2014

Council warns on heritage changes - WA
The National Native Title Council has warned that if the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Bill is passed by the Western Australian Parliament it will place protection of Aboriginal heritage in ‘serious peril’.
The Koori Mail, Australia, pg. 5, 17 December 2014

Native Title rights of Western Australia’s Pilki People formally recognised - WA
The Pilki People of Western Australia had their native title rights formally recognised in a decision handed down last week by the Federal Court of Australia. The determination granted the Pilki People exclusive possession Native Title for 24,400 square kilometres of land in the Great Victorian Desert.
National Indigenous Times, Australia, pg. 13, 17 December 2014

16 December

Native Title: Sorting through the puzzle of a scrambled Aboriginal history - NSW
This article explains the process of native title from the point of view of Cabbage Tree Island native title applicants. It includes explanation about Indigenous Land Use Agreements, the impact of lost knowledge on native title and the impact on the community.
ABC North Coast NSW, Australia, 16 December 2014

12 December

Australia’s largest native title claim lodged for Cape York Peninsula - QLD
On Thursday 11 December 2014, the Cape York land council lodged a claim on behalf of 9 traditional owners. The application covers over 14.6m hectares of land, taking in all the areas of the cape not already under native title.
The Guardian, Australia, 12 December 2014
The Australian, Australia, 12 December 2014
Brisbane Times, Australia, 12 December 2014
Business Insider, Australia, 12 December 2014
BCC News Australia, Australia, 12 December 2014
Canberra Times, Australia, 12 December 2014
The Koori Mail, Australia, pg. 4, 17 December 2014
National Indigenous Times, Australia, pg. 13, 17 December 2014

Quandamooka high court challenge - QLD
This article discusses the Quandamooka people’s existing appeal to the High Court and discusses the background and provides comment about the introduction of legislation to potentially extend sand mining on North Stradbroke Island.
The Stringer, Australia, 12 December 2014

11 December

Scullion defends review as NT traditional owners sound alarm on Northern Australia development - NT
The Northern Land Council accused Senator Scullion of breaking an election promise not to review land rights laws in the Northern Territory. Senator Scullion made clear he does not want to amend the Land Rights Act but he does see some land councils as hindering the economic prospects for Indigenous people.
ABC PM, Australia, 11 December 2014
Australia Times, Australia, 11 December 2014
Yahoo 7 News, Australia, 12 December 2014
ABC News, Australia, 12 December 2014
News.net, Australia, 12 December 2014
ABC News, Australia, 13 December 2014

8 December

Gungarri People’s native title rights recognised - QLD
The Federal Court of Australia today formally recognised the Gunggari People's native title rights and interests over 136 square kilometres of land and waters in south-west Queensland.
Queensland Government Department of Natural Resources and Mines - News, Australia, 8 December 2014
PSNews Online, Australia, 11 December 2014
National Indigenous Times, Australia, pg. 13, 17 December 2014

5 December

Gunggari people to be granted native title over land along Maranoa River - QLD
The Federal Court granted the Gunggari people native title over a parcel of land in Queensland's southern inland. The determination covers more than 14,600 hectares along the Maranoa River and its tributaries.
ABC Indigenous, Australia, 5 December 2014

3 December

Quandamooka seek native title - QLD
The Quandamooka people have lodged a native title claim in the federal Court for parts of Mulgumpin (Moreton Island) in Queensland.

Koori Mail, Australia, pg. 31, 3 December 2014

27 November

Sand mining battle on Stradbroke Island - QLD
The Quandamooka Aboriginal people of Stradbroke Island will take the Queensland Government to the High Court. The Quandamooka people are challenging controversial government legislation that allows some sand mining leases on the island to extend, potentially to 2035 as they say they were not consulted about the legislative change, which contravenes the Native Title Act.
ABC News PM, Australia (27 November 2014)

Traditional owners reach agreement on Mid West mine after five years - WA
After more than five years, the Wajarri Yamatji community have reached a native title agreement over a culturally significant site with mining company Sinosteel Midwest Corporation. Under the agreement, many of the significant sites will now be preserved.
ABC News, Australia (27 November 2014)

23 November

Native title claim for Ngadju people in Western Australia’s Goldfields recognized after 18 years - WA
On Friday, after almost two decades, the Federal Court of Australia recognised more than 100,000 square kilometres of land as Ngadju native title in the WA Goldfields.  About 40 per cent of the area, east of Norseman, has been named as exclusive possession which is the highest form of native title.
ABC News, Australia (23 November 2014)
ABC Goldfields, Australia (23 November 2014)
National Indigenous Times, pg 10, Australia (19 November 2014)

20 November

Podcast: Review of the Native Title Act – the Discussion Paper - Australia
Transcript of a review of the Native Title Act with Sabina Wynn, Executive Director of the Australian Law Reform Commission and Professor Lee Godden, Commissioner in charge of the ALRC’s Review of the Native Title Act.

ALRC, Australia (20 November 2014)

14 November

Newly formed corporation to manage Fraser Island - QLD
Following the historic decision to recognise the Butchulla people as traditional owners, Fraser Island will be managed and protected by a newly formed Prescribed Body Corporate. Spokeswoman Kyleigh Currie said the PBC's vision was to educate, promote and honour the Butchulla people's ties to the land and sea for many generations to come.

Sunshine Coast Daily, Australia (14 November 2014)

12 November

Goldfield’s Ngadju people await formal recognition of native title claim - WA
Following an 18 year process, the Ngadju people, from the WA Goldfields are set to have their native title claim formally recognised on 21 November.

ABC Indigenous, Australia (12 November 2014)

Native Title rights of Northern Cape York People’s recognised - QLD
The Northern Cape York People have formally had their native title rights and interests granted over approximately 694,700 square hectares of land and waters in the north of Cape York Peninsula by the Federal Court of Australia.

National Indigenous Times, pg 14, Australia (12 November 2014)

Recognition for Kowanyama People at last - QLD
The Kowanyama People have formally had their native title rights and interested granted over approximately 55,734 square hectares of land and waters on the south western side of Cape York Peninsula.

National Indigenous Times, pg 13, Australia (12 November 2014)

6 November

Rightful Owners recognition in historic Native Title Determination at Injinoo - QLD
The Atambaya, Gudang/ Yadhaykenu and Angkamuthi peoples were granted exclusive Native Title rights at a historically significant ceremony at the local Injinoo Community Hall, in the Northern Peninsula Area. They were granted 368,600ha of land and non-exclusive rights to approximately 317,000ha of land, totalling more than 680,000ha of Northern Cape York.
First nations telegraph, Australia (6 November 2014)

5 November

Butchulla win title - QLD
The Butchulla people have formally had their non-exclusive native title rights and interests recognized over 164,958 hectares of land and waters on K’Gari (Fraser Island), south-east Queensland.
The Koori Mail, pg 10, Australia (5 November 2014)

Alyawarr, Kaytetye Native Title win - Australia
Alyawarr and Kaytetye speakers from 19 landholding groups in the Sandover region of central Australia have won recognition of their native title rights over 18,000 square kilometres of land.
The Koori Mail, pg 8, Australia (5 November 2014)

30 October

Traditional owners granted Cape York title - QLD
On Thursday, the Federal Court granted native title over 680,000 hectares on the tip of the peninsula of Queensland's Cape York to the Gudang Yadhaykenu people, along with the Atampaya and Seven Rivers Angkamuthi Peoples.
Indigenous.gov.au, Australia (31 October 2014)

27 October

Quarry a ‘scar on heritage’ - WA
The ACCC is investigating allegations of “cartel conduct” by mining companies and Aboriginal heritage service providers.  Scott Franks, a registered ‘Wonnarua’ native title claimant and Tocomwall company director, said there were indigenous “blow-ins” without knowledge or qualifications, who were hired by mining companies.
Australian Mining, Australia (27 October 2014)

25 October

Son says Aunty Olga’s spirit sure to be smiling - QLD
Glen Miller said his mothers spirit, Aunty Olga Miller, was sure to be smiling over Friday's proceedings, He said "Mum filed the first native title claim on Fraser Island 18 years ago and the Butchulla clan filed a year later. We've been waiting 18 years for this decision, so it's a pretty historic day.”
Fraser Coast Chronicle, Queensland (25 October 2014)

24 October

Fraser Island returns to traditional owners - QLD
The Federal Court of Australia has recognized the native title rights of the Butchulla tribe of Fraser Island by granting them the native title rights. Queensland South Native Title Services said the determination recognised the ongoing traditional laws and customs of the Butchulla people, while also specifying native title rights and interests over about 1640sq km of sandy dunes, age-old sub-tropical rainforests and pristine lakes.
Fraser Coast Chronicle, Queensland (24 October 2014)
Indigenous.gov.au, Australia (24 October 2014)
Courier Mail, Australia (25 October 2014)
ABC News, Australia (26 October 2014)
Yahoo 7 News, Australia (26 October 2014)
Gympie Times, Australia (29 October 2014)

24 October

$2bn indigenous land fund next on agenda - Aust.
Dawn Casey, the chairwoman of the Indigenous Land Corporation will lobby politicians to support a $2 billion land account’ to be managed by the Future Fund to make the land account more secure. She said “the ILC continues to be concerned that the land account, established in the wake of the Native Title Act in recognition of indigenous dispossession associated with colonisation and settlement, continues to be at risk.”
The Australian, Australia (24 October 2014)
The Australian, Australia (27 October 2014)

22 October

‘Test run’ for freeholding - QLD
Indigenous Queenslanders who want to be able to own land in their townships through freehold title, are being asked to help with a pilot project to test how new laws can help their communities.
The Koori Mail, pg 11, Australia (22 October 2014)

21 October

Community braces for Century Mine closure in Queensland’s Gulf Country - QLD
The end of Australia’s largest open-cut zinc mine in Queensland’s Gulf Country will have major changes for a historic land use agreement with native title but residents are confident they can survive, Carpentaria Mayor Fred Pascoe says.
ABC News, Australia (21 October 2014)

20 October

Native title holders lodge objection to proposed North Galilee Basin rail project - QLD
The Juru native title holders are seeking help to stall a proposed railway line being built by Adani Mining through their land, after concerns they have not been consulted. Chairwoman Carol Prior said they had not been properly consulted. They said most of the traditional owners did not know what Adani’s plans were and were unable to attend information meetings, including a forum in Townsville.

ABC News, Australia (20 October 2014)

15 October

Yidinji People demand government show they have proof of ownership - QLD
On the Cairns Courthouse steps, the Yidinji People of far north Queensland have once again called on the Australian and Queensland governments, to produce documents proving their right to exert control over Yidinji land.
National Indigenous Times, pg 2, Australia (15 October 2014)

3 October

Native Title granted over section of Simpson Desert - SA
The Federal Court today recognised the native title rights of the Wangkangurru/ Yarluyandi people over a large area that includes the Simpson Desert in the far north of South Australia, extending into Queensland. The State Government and the Wangkangurru/ Yarluyandi people also signed a Settlement Indigenous Land Use Agreement and Parks Indigenous Land Use Agreement.

Government of South Australia, South Australia (3 October 2014)

27 September

Illegal traders of dugong, turtle meat targeted with $5m poaching crackdown - Aust.
Traditional owners have shown their support for the Federal Government’s $5 million dugong and turtle protection plan. The plan involves the Australian Federal Police, Customs and Border Protection and the Australian Crime Commission. The Government are warning people involved in the illegal trade of turtle and dugong meat that they will be caught.
ABC News, Australia (27 September 2014)

23 September

Native Title flare up as gas firm Buru Energy gets in first - WA
The Yawuru people may have been granted their native title rights three weeks ago, but because Buru Energy’s exploration permits have been granted for their fracking program on the Yawuru land, the Yawuru has no legal basis to veto the activities.
The Australian, Australia (23 September 2014)

17 September

Land Councils meet to decide if there is Country to house a nuclear waste dump - NT
The Government has given the Northern and Central Land Council’s until 30 September to put forward an uncontested site for a nuclear waste dump. If they cannot, the Federal Industry Minister will open the facility up for tender to the rest of the country.
National Indigenous Times, p 3, Australia (17 September 2014)
The Koori Mail, p 3, Australia (24 September 2014)

3 September

20-year native title battle ends with economic triumph - WA
20 years ago the Yawuru people formally began the process to regain rights to their traditional lands in the Broome region. At a ceremony attended by 300 people, the process ended with the unveiling of an agreement between the Yawuru and the Indigenous Land Corporation to transfer to Yawuru ownership land title to more than 276,000ha, comprising Roebuck Plains Station, the Roebuck Export Depot special lease and freehold title to the OTC Dampier block.
The Australian, Australia, (3 September 2014)
The Koori Mail, p 29, Australia (10 September 2014)

25 June

Kooma People native title recognition
The Kooma People's Native Title rights and interests over approximately 2940 square kilometres of land near Bollon have been approved by the Federal Court of Australia. This brings the total number of native title determinations made in Queensland to 104 – 91 of which have been resolved by consent.
Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Brisbane QLD (25 June 2014)

20 June

Kulkalgal People’s native title recognition
The Kulkalgal People's Native Title rights and interests over approximately 16ha of Torres Strait land, covering Zuizin Island (also known as Halfway Island) have been approved by the Federal Court of Australia. This brings the total number of native title determinations made in Queensland to 102 – 89 of which have been resolved by consent.
Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Brisbane QLD (20 June 2014)

20 June

Northern Cape York Peoples’ native title recognition
The Northern Cape York People's Native Title rights and interests over approximately 390,000ha of land on Cape York have been approved by the Federal Court of Australia. This brings the total number of native title determinations made in Queensland to 103 – 90 of which have been resolved by consent.
Department of Natural Resources and Mines, Brisbane QLD (20 June 2014)

20 June

Gooniyandi People’s native title recognition
The Gooniyandi People's Native Title rights and interests over approximately 11,000 square kilometres of land and water in central Kimberley have been approved by the Federal Court of Australia. The determination culminates 15years of negotiations with about half the claim being held as exclusive rights.
ABC News, Kimberley WA (20 June 2014)

4 June

Native Title holders entering commercial property market
The Yawuru people have entered the commercial property market n Broome. The sale of a dozen lots granted in the native title agreement covering Broome township is hoped to generate income of a number of Yawuru projects. 
ABC Indigenous Online, Broome WA (4 June 2014)

4 June 

Report released detailing greater funding needs of RNTBC
Deloitte Access Economics released a report detailing the need for additional funds to support native title organisations. Targeted funding could assist Registered Native Title Body Corporates (RNTBC) meet statutory requirements.
The Koori Mail, National (4 June 2014) Print Edition

29 May

Long wait over for Nyikina Mangala native title bid
After years of waiting, the Kimberley's Nyikina Mangala traditional owners are gathering to have their native title claim recognised. Federal Court Judge John Gilmour is expected to make the determination today at an oncountry hearing on the Fitzroy River. The area of land extends from the King Sound, through the Fitzroy Valley, to Noonkanbah and the Great Sandy Desert.
ABC Online Indigenous News, Perth WA (29 May 2014)

28 May

Indigenous group fears CSG impact on Mount Mulligan water
Traditional owners are holding a public information meeting in Mareeba this morning to discuss a coal seam gas (CSG) exploration permit granted over land nearby at at Mount Mulligan. The chairman of the Western Yalangi Aboriginal Corporation, Alwyn Lyall, says WAbased company Mantle Mining will have to negotiate with traditional owners to secure an access agreement. Mr Lyall says he is worried about the potential for
CSG extraction to contaminate water sources.
ABC Online Indigenous News, Sydney, NSW (28 May 2014)

16 May

Budget 2014: $534 million cut to Indigenous programs
Over the next five years $534 million will be cut from Indigenous programs administered by the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Health portfolios.
The budget papers show the savings will be made by replacing more than 150 programs, grants and activities with five broadbased programs under the Government's new Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
ABC News, Canberra ACT (16 May 2014)

15 May

Queensland Government goes back to drawing board on draft Cape York Plan
The Queensland Government has abandoned maps outlining land use areas in the draft Cape York Plan. Infrastructure Minister Jeff Seeney says the plan, which seeks to manage competing economic, environmental and cultural interests, will now go back to the drawing board. He says for now,  protections under Wild Rivers legislation and the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve will remain in place but any future land regulation decisions will be made at a community level on a yearly basis. Mr Seeney says the changes were prompted by community feedback on the draft plan, with more than 6,000 submissions raising concerns the maps were unsuitable.
ABC Online Indigenous News, Brisbane QLD (15 May 2014)

30 April

New native title claims to exploit loophole
A loophole has been exploited to effectively reverse the extinguishment of native title for land bought by the Indigenous Land Corporation.   This is despite the federally funded corporation being established to buy land for Indigenous groups that cannot receive it under the Native Title Act. The Australian understands that several groups are considering what other native title claims can be made over land bought by the corporation.  A test case launched by the Adnyamathanha people of South Australia has resulted in the Federal Court ruling their extinguished native title rights to 25 parcels of land in the Flinders Ranges can be “disregarded”.
The Australian, Sydney NSW (30 April 2014)

24 April

Native title agreement signed for Pilbara deep water port
The Ngarluma traditional owners have signed a native title agreement for a deep water port in the Pilbara region.  The agreement covers more than 4000 hectares of land for the Anketell Port and associated industrial area approximately 30 kilometres north-east of Karratha.   The agreement will see the Traditional Owners receive a settlement package of $20 million over nine years. 
ABC Indigenous News, Perth WA (24 April 2014)
The West Australian, Perth WA (25 April 2014)

24 April

Stingray Creek Bridge: Native Title land claim investigation underway
Additional investigations by the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council will be required for the new Stingray Creek bridge. The council is awaiting a ministerial determination on a Native Title land claim associated with the land on the western side.
Camden Haven Courier, Port Macquarie NSW (24 April 2014)

17 April

Traditional Owners sign Red Hill Iron Ore native title deal
Red Hill Iron Ore have signed a native title agreement with the Traditional Owners in the Pilbara region.  The Kurama and Marthudunera people will receive financial benefits, including compensation for the clearance of native vegetation, and provisions for protecting the group’s heritage for the life of the project.
ABC Indigenous News, Perth WA (17 April 2014)

8 April

Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation chief steps down in mining royalty rift
WA mining royalties deal worth millions of dollars has seen the CEO of the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation stand down to help resolve the dispute with another Indigenous organisation.  The Wirlu-murra native title group broke away from Yindjibarndi in 2011 to begin separate negotiations with Fortescue Metals Group over royalties from the multi-billion-dollar Solomon Hub iron ore project near Tom Price.
ABC Indigenous News, Perth WA (8 April 2014)

7 April

Dunghutti Aboriginals recognized by Native Title Act on this day in 1997
The Atlanta Daily has reported that the Dunghutti Aboriginal People were the first Aboriginal group in Australia to lay claim to lands on this day in 1997.  There are eight tribal groups that reside in the Macleay Valley region.   Ms. Mary Lou Buck was the first to file for a claim to lands and protection under the law. 
Atlanta Daily World, Atlanta USA (7 April 2014)


26 March

Draft Cape York Plan
Traditional Owner groups on Cape York are concerned there has been a lack of consultation for the Draft Cape York Plan by the Queensland Government.  The draft Cape York Regional Plan lacks protection for cultural and environmental heritage and was written without sufficient consultation. The Queensland Government has said they are prepared to take as long as is necessary to get the plan right and reassures communities on the Cape that all their submissions and comments will be considered in finalisation of the plan.
Koori Mail (Lismore NSW, 26 March 2014)

18 March

Qld clan celebrate native title ruling
The Gudjala People were officially handed native title over 20,000 square kilometres of land near Charters Towers, inland from Townsville.   Native title will allow the Gudjala people to enter into formal negotiations with landowners over future land use and allow them greater access to the land to hunt, fish, camp and carry out ceremonies.  It will also mean they have more say over how the land is protected.
Koori Mail(Lismore NSW, 26 March 2014)

7 March

Special Federal Court sitting gives seven clans native title rights in the Barkly Tablelands
Seven clans were granted native title over 37,000sq km of grazing plains on the Barkly Tablelands.  The determinations recognised title for the groups: Gulunurra (Anderson), Purrukwarra, Karrkarrkuwaja (Kalkalkuwaja), Jukatayi Palyarinji, Walanja, Kurtinja, Kuakiji/Lukkurnu, Kunapa, Jalajirrpa, Mangurinji, Kujuluwa, (Y)ijiparta, Gurungu/Kulumintini and Warranungku. As well as according cultural recognition and ensuring traditional hunting and sacred site protection, native title holders will have the opportunity to participate in future mining negotiations.
Herald Sun News (Melbourne VIC, 7 March 2014)

5 March

Consent Determination for Dieri #2 Native Title Claim
The Dieri Aboriginal people held a ceremony in Port Augusta to celebrate the consent determination of the Dieri number two Native Title Claim.
The Transcontinental (Port Augusta SA, 5 March 2014)

1 March

Yuwibara Native Title Application being considered by the Court
The Federal Court is considering if the Yuwibara People hold the Native Title of more than 6000sq km of land encompassing Mackay.  Under the Native Title Act 1993, there can only be one determination of native title for a particular area. Anyone who wishes to become a party to the claim has until June to write to the Federal Court Registrar. Ballina Shire Advocate (Ballina NSW, 1 March 2014)


27 February

The Dieri people native title rights have been recognised in a consent determination
The Dieri people’s native title rights were recognised at ceremony in Port Augusta. The ceremony was attended by Dieri elders, Dieri people, the Dieri Aboriginal Corporation Director, and the SA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Ian Hunter. The Dieri people’s native title rights were recognised by the Federal court in a consent determination.
The Transcontinental(Port Augusta SA, 27 February 2014)

26 February

Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation enters agreement with Cleanway for new multi-million dollar Pilbara waste and recycling management facility
Cleanaway has partnered with Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation to build a $17.5 million waste management facility in the Pilbara region to service the growing waste and recycling needs of the resource industry. Cleanaway General Manager Gavin Denness said its strong relationship with the Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation enabled Cleanaway to build the much needed facility on indigenous land. The site will be built on Ngarluma country on Warlu Way, Karratha. The agreement will assist the Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation to achieve economic and employment realisations through the land lease and a guarantee of four employment opportunities for the Ngarluma people.
Ferret(Chatswood NSW, 26 February 2014)

26 February

Esperance Nyungar People have their native title rights recognised by the Federal Court
The Esperance Nyungar people are indigenous to the Goldfields and Esperance regions of WA. The federal court will formally acknowledge their native title over 29,000skm of land around Esperance on 14 March. This consent determination was an 18 year process.
Goldfields Land and Sea Council(Kalgoorlie WA, 26 February 2014)

25 February

Bar Barrum people win native title recognition over military land near Herberton
The Bar Barrum people claimed native title over land near Herberton that was set aside by the Commonwealth for military use under the National Security Act of 1947. The North Queensland Land Council (NQLC) took the matter to the Federal Court on behalf of the traditional owners and the Federal Court ruled in favour of the Bar Barum people. NQLC spokesman Martin Dore says the ruling is significant as there were in excess of 13,500 similar land orders made by the Commonwealth, and widespread extinguishments would have resulted had the ruling extinguished native title.
ABC: Indigenous(Sydney NSW, 25 February 2014)
Green Career (North Brighton Vic, 27 February 2014)

15 February

The Djarindjin Aboriginal Community seeks to enter a ILUA to create enforceable bylaws for the Djarindjin community
The Djarindjin Aboriginal community lies on reserve land held by the Aboriginal Lands Trust. There is no lease agreement between the ALT and the Djarindjin community, and the land has the legal status of a large private property. As a result, the police cannot enforce the bylaws created by the Djarindjin  community, and the  Djarindjin Aboriginal Corporation CEO Gus Tampalini reports that there is no alcohol control in the area. Attempts to bring law enforcement into the community have been hampered by clashes between state and federal laws, and the Djarindjin Aboriginal Corporation seeks to enter into ILUA with the WA government and related corporations.
ABC: Kimberley(Broome WA, 18 February 2014)

12 February

The Far West Coast Aboriginal Corporation held its first meeting
The Far West Coast Aboriginal Corporation held its first meeting. Representatives from each of the native title claimants attended the first meeting.  Its formation is the result of the Far West Native Title Claim settlement that was determined at Lake Pidinga on December 5 2013. The corporation expects to hold more meetings before its annual general meeting in November.
West Coast Sentinel(Ceduna SA, 12 February 2014)


26 January

Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation withdraws objection to the Balla Balla vanadium titanium magnetite project
The Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation withdrew their final objection over Rutila Resources miscellaneous license tenement application over the Balla Balla vanadium titanium magnetite project and export facility on the Pilbara coast. This objection will allow the Rutila Resources miscellaneous license tenement application being granted.
The West Australian Regional(Pilbara WA, 26 January 2014)

22 January

Official ceremony for the recognition of Girramay people’s native title rights
The Federal Court recognized the native title rights of the Girramay people in 2009. The Girramay Aboriginal People Corporation will hold a ceremony acknowledging the hand over the land south of Cairns, in and around Cardwell.
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 22 January 2014)

13 January

ORIC and NQLC release an Information Sheet for PBCs
The Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) and the North Queensland Land Council (NQLC) published an Information Sheet mainly for prescribed bodies corporate (PBCs and RNTBCs) about the interaction between the Native Title Act 1993 (Cwlth) and the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act).
ORIC Publications, (Canberra ACT, 13 January 2014)

10 January

Grant of extended time to appeal a permit for petroleum exploration in Derby Block overturned
The Nyikina and Mangala traditional owners were granted an extension of time by the NNTT to appeal against the decision granting a permit to Oil Basins for petroleum exploration in the Derby Block of WA.  The Derby Block comprises an area of approximately 5,063 square kilometres in the onshore Canning Basin. Oil Basins appealed this decision in the Federal Court. The Federal Court in Perth overturned the NNTT decision. Oil Basins is now waiting on the Western Australia Minister for Mines and Petroleum to issue the permit.
Proactive Investors Australia (Sydney NSW, 10 January 2014)

10 January

Kalkadoon people celebrate anniversary of their native title recognition
The Kalkadoon People celebrated the anniversary of the Federal Court orders recognizing their native title rights over 40,000 square kilometres of land and waters in the Mount Isa region of North West Queensland.
The North West Star (Mount Isa Qld, 10 January 2014)

1 January

Buru Energy employee becomes head of a Yawuru Native Title Organisation
Neil McKenzie has become the head of the Yawuru Native Title Organisation. He had previously been employed as Buru’s traditional owner liaison manager for 2 years.  The Yawuru Native Title Organisation previously opposed Buru’s plan to frack in the Kimberley.
The Australian (Sydney NSW, 2 January 2014)


Native Title in the News 2013

20 December

Closure of the Century Zinc mine expected in 2015
The Century Zinc mine near Mount Isa is projected to have extinguished its recoverable ore in mid-2015. A Native title agreement was reached between the mine owners and the native title holders, which secured employment for approximately 200 workers. The company is encouraging workers to redeploy to other projects.
The Courier Mail (Brisbane Qld, 20 December 2013)

19 December

Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC reach native title agreement with Rutila Resources Ltd
A native title agreement was reached between the Ngarluma Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC and Rutila Resources Ltd. The native title agreement is in regards to the Balla Balla VTi Magnetite Project and Export Facility. The Ngarluma People are the recognized native title holders over the land and waters within the Balla Balla project area.
Finance News Network (Sydney NSW, 19 December 2013)

4 December

Native title rights of the Wirangu, Kokatha, Mirning and Anangu peoples recognized in SA
The native title rights of the Wirangu, Kokatha, Mirning and Anangu people were recognized at a Federal Court hearing held at Lake Pidinga. The native title rights cover an area of nearly 76,000 square kilometres from the Western Australian border, to Tarcoola in the north and Streaky Bay in the south. The area includes several Aboriginal Lands Trust holdings such as Yalata and Koonibba communities where exclusive native title rights will be recognized. This is the culmination of 17 years legal process through the federal court.
West Coast Sentinel (Ceduna SA, 4 December 2013)
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 4 December 2013)
ABC News(West Coast SA, 4 December 2013)

2 December

Bandjalang People celebrate native title recognition
The Bandjalang People have formally been recognized as native title holders over a 2,750 square kilometre area. The area spans Evans Head, north-west to Casino, inland to Busby Flats and south to Junction Hill near Grafton. The Federal Court confirmed a consent determination that recognized the customary rights of the Bandjalang people, and the protection of sacred sites such as the Goanna Headland. The claim has been running for 17 years.
National Indigenous Times (Malua Bay NSW, 2 December 2013)
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 2 December 2013)
The Northern Star (Northern Rivers NSW, 2 December 2013)
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 2 December 2013)
ABC: Indigenous(Sydney NSW, December 2013)


27 November

National Parks handed back to traditional owners
Seven national parks in Queensland’s Cape York Peninsula have been handed back to traditional owners following 21 years of negotiations. The 354,800 hectare area covers Cape Melville, Jack River and Flinders Group National Parks. The National Parks will now enter a joint management operation agreement between the traditional owners and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services.
Herald Sun(Melbourne Vic., 27 November 2013)
Brisbane Times (Brisbane Qld., 27 November 2013)
Cairns Post (Cairns Qld., 28 November 2013)
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 28 November 2013)
Newsport (Port Douglas Qld., 28 November 2013)

25 November

Native title in north Queensland
The Ewamian Peoples have been recognised as native title holders over lands in north Queensland. The two determinations cover more than 29,000 square kilometres of land south-west of Cairns. The determination comes 20 years after the claim was first lodged with the Federal Court.
9 News National(Sydney NSW, 25 November 2013)
The Stringer (Fremantle WA, 26 November 2013)

13 November

Mamu celebrate native title win
The Mamu people have formally been recognised as native title holders over lands in northern Queensland. The Federal Court Determination comes after the claim was first lodged in 2001. Mamu elder, Victor Maund, said securing native title rights had been a long journey. ‘It's taken us all this time to get here,’ Mr Maund said.
The Cairns Post (Cairns Qld., 1 November 2013)
The Stringer (Fremantle WA, 2 November 2013)
National Indigenous Times (Malua Bay NSW, 13 November 2013), 6

7 November

Fishing rights upheld in High Court
The High Court has ruled that a father and son were entitled to fish for abalone under the Native Title Act (Cth). The Narrunga men, Owen and Daniel Karpany from South Australia’s York Peninsula had been charged with having undersized greenlip abalone. The ruling overturns an earlier court ruling which found that the men’s native title rights had been extinguished by the Fisheries Act (1971).
ABC News Indigenous (Sydney NSW, 7 November 2013)
Herald Sun (Melbourne Vic., 7 November 2013)
The Australian (Canberra ACT, 7 November 2013)
SBS News (Sydney NSW, 7 November 2013)
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 7 November 2013)
National Indigenous Times (Malua Bay NSW, 13 November 2013), 7
Koori Mail (Lismore NSW, 20 November 2013), 3

6 November

Controversy over sand mining lease extension
Legal representatives for the Quandamooka people have indicated they may seek court action over a move by the State Government to extend sand mining leases until 2035. Queensland South Native Title Services Principal Legal Officer Tim Wishart states that ‘It is our view that the passage of the Bill and the grant of any renewal of the mining leases based on the exercise of a power created by the Bill would breach the Orders of Justice Dowsett and the ILUA.’
Koori Mail (Lismore NSW, 6 November 2013), 3
Bayside Bulletin (Cleveland Qld., 14 November 2013)
Koori Mail (Lismore NSW, 20 November 2013), 8

4 November

Moratorium expected on traditional fishing
The Federal Government is set to announce a moratorium on traditional fishing practices over parts of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef. Tourism operators and conservationists have expressed concern over the practices permitted under the Native Title Act (Cth).
The Australian (Canberra ACT, 4 November 2013)


30 October

Reinstatement of respondent funding
Pastoralists have welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to reinstate the Native Title Respondent Funding Scheme. The Scheme helps fund the legal and financial needs of landholders responding to native title claims. The Scheme was scrapped under the former Federal Government.

ABC Rural (Sydney NSW, 30 October 2013)

29 October

Land use deal takes effect
A native title deal in central western Victoria has now come into effect. The Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) between the Dja Dja Wurrung native title group and the Victorian Government was signed in March but has now been officially approved by the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT). The ILUA gives the Dja Dja Wurrung hunting, fishing and gathering rights and also makes way for joint management of six national parks and reserves in the region.

ABC News (Sydney NSW, 29 October 2013)

Bendigo Advertiser (Bendigo Vic., 31 October 2013)

18 October

Sand mining lease extended amid controversy
The Queensland Government has insisted that proposed changes to the North Stradbroke Island Sustainability Act do not breach native title agreements with the Quandamooka people on North Stradbroke Island. The agreements will allow mining on the island to continue after 2019. Quandamooka Yulluburrabee Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Cameron Costello contests the Governments claim that existing Land Use Agreements do not have to be altered.

Bayside Bulletin (Cleveland Qld, 18 October 2013)
SBS News (Sydney NSW, 30 October 2013)
The Guardian Australia (Sydney NSW, 30 October 2013)
Courier Mail (Brisbane Qld, 30 October 2013)

Ninemsn (Sydney NSW, 30 October 2013)

15 October

Native title claim lodged
A native title claim has been registered over lands and waters from Newcastle to Sydney’s northern beaches. The claim groups include the Awabakal and Guringai people of Newcastle and the Central Coast. A spokesperson from the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) says that areas currently under other Aboriginal groups’ jurisdictions will be exempt from the claim. Public notification and submissions close in January 2014.

ABC News (Sydney NSW, 15 October 2013)

Newcastle Herald (Newcastle NSW, 10 October 2013), 17

 

1 October

Native title compensation deal remains confidential
The Yunkuntyjatjara people in South Australia have been awarded the first consent determination in a compensation claim, but the terms of the agreement remain confidential. The compensation concerns damages to sites of cultural significance prior to native title being granted. Chief Executive of South Australian Native Title Services (SANTS), Keith Thomas, says it is an historic achievement after such a long struggle.

SBS News (Sydney NSW, 1 October 2013)
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 2 October 2013)
The Lawyer(London UK, 7 October 2013)


24 September

Land returned to traditional owners
730,000 hectares of the Wik and Wik Way people’s traditional lands in north-Queensland’s western Cape York region have been handed back. The deed formally recognises the Wik and Wik Way people as the owners of the land at Arakun.
Herald Sun (Melbourne Vic., 24 September 2013)
The Australian (Canberra ACT, 25 September 2013), 2
Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong NSW, 25 September 2013), 12
Barrier Daily Truth (Broken Hill NSW, 25 September 2013), 7
Townsville Bulletin (Townsville Qld., 25 September 2013), 26
Queensland Country Life (Brisbane Qld., 26 September 2013), 14
North West Star (Mount Isa Qld., 26 September 2013), 5

Western Yalanji celebrate recognition
The Warrungu people have been recognised as native title holders over lands south of Cairns, north-Queensland. The determination covers approximately 192,000 hectares of land around Cardwell and Mount Garnet. The determination will allow the Warrungu people to formally assist in the protection and preservation of lands and waters, including the protection of culturally significant sites.
The Western Yalanji people have been recognised as native title holders over lands in Laura and north-west of Mount Carbine, north of Cairns. The Western Yalanji determination comes after more than ten years of negotiations.
Herald Sun (Melbourne Vic., 24 September 2013)
Cairns Post (Cairns Qld., 25 September 2013), 9

23 September

Native title recognised
The Warrungu people have been recognised as native title holders over lands south of Cairns, north-Queensland. The determination covers approximately 192,000 hectares of land around Cardwell and Mount Garnet. The determination will allow the Warrungu people to formally assist in the protection and preservation of lands and waters, including the protection of culturally significant sites.

Yahoo 7 News (Sydney NSW, 23 September 2013)
Ninemsn (Sydney NSW, 23 September 2013)

12 September

Federal Government urged to adopt future fund
The Minerals Council of Australia has urged the incoming Federal Government and Prime Minister Tony Abbott to adopt a new tax-free community fund to help pull Indigenous Australians out of poverty. The move will also be aimed to increase economic opportunities for native title holders. The future fund was announced by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, but has not yet been backed by the Liberal Party.
The Australia (Canberra ACT, 12 September 2013)

11 September

PM for Indigenous Affairs
The incoming Liberal Government is preparing to overhaul Indigenous Affairs throughout the country with many national departments to fall under Prime Minister and Cabinet. Following the federal election, Prime Minister Tony Abbott appointed Warren Mundine as head of the newly formed Indigenous Advisory Committee.
Koori Mail (Lismore NSW, 11 September 2013), 1

5 September

Future of native title
After 20 years of operation, the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) will conduct a review into the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth). The ALRC is tasked to provide recommendations for law reform following consultations with stakeholders. The inquiry will be led by Professor Lee Godden from the University of Melbourne.
The Age (Melbourne Vic., 5 September 2013)

4 September

Agreement reached on Gladstone Port
Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC) and the regions native title holders, the Port Curtis Coral Coast committee, have reached an agreement on the further development of Gladstone Port. Under the deal, native title holders will receive 2 cents per tonne on all trade through the port in return for the GPC to bypass individual native title negotiations on current and future developments. The specifics of this agreement remain confidential.The Observer (Gladstone Qld., 3 September 2013)


12 August

Native title holders sign joint venture with Morris Corp. - WA
Native title holders and Morris Corporation have signed a five year joint venture with Fortescue Metals Group expected to be worth $500 million. It is expected that the joint venture will result in 500 new jobs, with at least 100 Aboriginal people employed throughout parts of Western Australia.
Courier Mail (online 12 August 2013)


7 August 2013

Torres Strait fishing rights secured in High Court - QLD
The full bench of the High Court ruled in favor of a group of Torres Strait Islander native title holders. The Court held that the native title right to fish for commercial purposes was not extinguished by commercial fishing laws. Michael Gardner from the Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) says that he does not expect the ruling to have any adverse consequences on the industry.
ABC News (online 7 August 2013)
Yahoo 7 (online 7 August 2013)
ABC News (online 8 August 2013)
Cairns.com (online 8 August 2013)

6 August

Antakirinja Matu-Yunkunytjatjara native title recognised - SA
The Antakirinja Matu-Yunkunytjatjara (AMY) people have had their native title rights and interests recognised in South Australia. The agreement covers the Breakaways Conservation Park, west of Coober Pedy. South Australia Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Minister Ian Hunter said, ‘one of the key benefits is that we will get the benefits of local knowledge’.
ABC News (online 6 August 2013)

3 August

Government supports native title reforms - AUS
The former Federal Government expressed its support for reforms to the native title system, which include plans to develop a tax-free future fund to assist Indigenous community development throughout the country. The plans have gained the backing from key business sectors, including the mining industry. The reforms are based on a working group’s recommendations that considered how future generations of native title holders will benefit from the development of their land.
The Australian (online 3 August 2013)
SBS News (online 3 August 2013)

2 August

Company prosecuted for desecrating sacred site - NT
Mining company OM Manganese was convicted of desecrating a sacred site at the Bootu Creek manganese mining operation north of Tennant Creek. Magistrate Sue Oliver found that OM Manganese had made a decision to favour ‘business and profit’ over its obligations to protect the sacred site, fining the company $150,000. CEO of OM Holdings, the parent company of OM Managnese, Peter Toth said after the hearing, ‘We sincerely regret the damage and the hurt caused and I unreservedly apologise to the site's custodians and traditional owners’.  The case represents the first time a charge of desecration has been contested and won in Australia.
The Australian (online 2 August 2013)
Northern Territory News (online 2 August 2013)
9 News (online 2 August 2013)
BBC News (online 2 August 2013)
SBS News (online 2 August 2013)
ABC News (online 5 August 2013)

1 August

Yindjibarndi and Rio Tinto sign agreement - WA
Rio Tinto has signed an Indigenous land use agreement with Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation for exploration and mining rights in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. Rio Tinto’s CEO said that the deal was of ‘great significance’, as it would generate financial benefits for the traditional owners to support cultural, community and commercial development.
National Mining Chronicle (Perth WA, 1 August 2013) 78


26 June

Native title tax law amendments pass the parliament
The Parliament has passed amendments to give certainty around the tax liabilities for native title agreements. The Tax Laws Amendment (2012 Measures No. 6) Bill 2012 was passed by the Senate last night and delivers on a Gillard Government commitment to ensure certain payments and benefits arising from native title agreements will not be subject to income tax and that certain capital gains from native title rights are not taxable. These changes were announced last year to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Mabo decision. “These changes are part of the Government’s broader native title reform package to ensure native title benefits are sustainable for future generations of traditional owners and improve agreement-making,” said Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC. “These new laws respond to stakeholder calls for reform and will help Indigenous Australians to unlock the economic potential of their native title,” Minister Macklin said. Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury said the changes complement the Government’s broader not-for-profit reform agenda, which will reduce red tape and enhance trust and confidence in the not-for-profit sector. The amendments will apply retrospectively from 1 July 2008.
Joint media release (online 26 June 2013)
Tracker (online 26 June 2013)

20 June

Traditional Owners to challenge Canning Basin agreement - WA
KRED Enterprises, which represents three traditional ownership groups in the Kimberly region, has stated their intention to challenge a new statute that recognises an agreement for shale gas exploration in the Canning Basin. The agreement was signed by the Government of Western Australia and joint venture development partners, Buru Energy and Mitsubishi Corporation. KRED Chief Executive Officer Wayne Bergmann stated his concern that the Bill ‘has major effects on the procedural rights afforded to the traditional owners under the Native Title Act.’
Herald Sun (Melbourne Vic, 20 June 2013)
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 21 June 2013)

Gooniyandi native title recognised - WA
The Gooniyandi native title group celebrated during a ceremony to mark the Federal Court’s decision to recognise their claim over lands in the central Kimberly region, 15 years after the original claim was lodged. Gooniyandi member Russell ‘Rusko’ Smith stated at the ceremony, ‘I’m real happy, not only me but the elders, the TOs [traditional owners] and all of them for getting our land back.’
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 20 June 2013)

19 June

National Native Title Conference - AUS
The National Native Title Conference was held in Alice Springs from 3–5 June 2013, with hundreds of delegates from around the country in attendance. The 2014 National Native Title Conference will be held in Coffs Harbour in northern New South Wales.
Koori Mail (Lismore NSW, 19 June 2013) 42

Hand back of lands in Cape York - QLD
The Queensland State Government has handed back a freehold title deed over a 240,000 hectare area of western Cape York to Kowanyama traditional owners to be held in trust by the Prescribed Body Corporate. The handover, which did not include the township of Kowanyama, was described by traditional owner Monty Gilbert as being of ‘special significance for the people of Kowanyama’.
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 19 June 2013)
Western Cape Bulletin (Weipa QLD, 19 June 2013) 3

Rio Tinto sign ILUA with Yindjibarndi - WA
Rio Tinto has signed an Indigenous land use agreement (ILUA) with the Yindjibarndi people. The deal will allow Rio Tinto to commence Iron Ore mining at the Soloman Hub operations site. The deal was struck after negotiations with Fortescue Metals Group broke down.
Herald Sun (Melbourne Vic, 19 June 2013)
The Australia (Canberra ACT, 20 June 2013) 18
The West Australia (Perth WA, 20 June 2013)
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 20 June 2013)
Pilbara Echo (Karratha WA, 20 June 2013)
Mining Weekly (Perth WA, 20 June 2013)
North West Telegraph (South Hedland WA, 26 June 2013) 21

5 June

Minister insists traditional owners will be consulted in World Heritage nominations - QLD
Former Minister for Environment Tony Burke MP insists that traditional owners will be consulted in any push to recognise areas in Cape York that are eligible for world heritage listing. The comments were made following concerns raised by Nationals Senator Ron Boswell that the Federal Government was not engaging tradition owners over the application.
National Indigenous Times (Malua Bay NSW, 5 June 2013) 8


16 May

Eastern Kuku Yalanji declare IPA
Eastern Kuku Yalanji has been declared an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) in a ceremony held at Cape Tribulation in north Queensland. Following the native title determination in 2007 and negotiation of 17 different Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs), the IPA represents a significant step towards to ultimate goal of traditional owners managing and maintaining their own country.
Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette (Port Douglas Qld, 16 May 2013)

15 May

Joint Management custodians meet at Cape Byron
Traditional custodians working with New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) on joint management projects have met in Cape Byron. The meeting was hosted for the first time by the Bandjalung people, who in 2000 negotiated an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) for the joint management of the Arakwal National Park in Northern NSW.
The Northern Star (Lismore NSW, 15 May 2013)

13 May

Gomeroi native title claimants seek advice over CSG exploration
Gomeroi native title claimants have met in Tamworth to discuss coal seam gas (CSG) exploration. The claimants are seeking legal advice on avenues to stop exploration and further mining over their ancestral land. A broad range of farmers, residents and conservationists have expressed their support for the native title group.
SBS News (Sydney NSW, 13 May 2013)
Australian Mining (Sydney NSW, 14 May 2013)
Moree Champion (Moree NSW, 22 May 2013)
Indy Media (Sydney NSW, 23 May 2013)

7 May

Arabana people raise concerns over health of Kati Thanda
Representatives of the Arabana people in South Australia have expressed concerns over the health of Kati Thanda (previously Lake Eyre). South Australia Water Minister Ian Hunter says that proposals by the Queensland Government threaten the water quality and quantity flowing into Lake Eyre. Chairman of the Arabana Aboriginal Corporation, Aaron Stuart, says that the lake is significant to Arabana people and needs protection.
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 7 May 2013)

1 May

WA Government to acquire land at James Price Point
The Government of Western Australia has suggested that it will continue to acquire land at James Price Point, north of Broome. The announcement comes following Woodside Petroleum announcing that it plans to abandon construction of an onshore Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) processing plant. The acquisition is estimated to deliver $30 million to traditional owners in the region.
Yahoo 7 News (Sydney NSW, 1 May 2013)


12 April

Woodside shelve gas hub project - WA

Woodside Petroleum announced that they will not proceed with the controversial gas hub project at James Price Point. The announcement came as native title holders were considering their position on the agreement signed with Woodside concerning the development.  Woodside Petroleum have ruled out making additional payments to traditional owners who signed a social benefits package for the now shelved gas hub project.  Woodside Chief Executive Peter Coleman said that the agreement was based upon the successful investment decision at James Price Point.
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 12 April 2013)
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 12 April 2013)
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 12 April 2013)
The Weekend Australian (Canberra ACT, 13 April 2013) 1
The Australia (Canberra ACT, 15 April 2013) 1
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 15 April 2013)
National Indigenous Times (Malua Bay NSW, 17 April 2013) 1
Koori Mail (Lismore NSW, 14 April 2013) 7
Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney NSW, April 24 2013)

10 April

Alice Springs to host native title conference - AUS

This year’s National Native Title Conference will recognise the 20th Anniversary of the Native Title Act. The Conference will be held in Alice Springs from 3–5 June 2013. Visit website
The Koori Mail (Lismore NSW, 10 April 2013) 10

2 April

Dja Dja Warrung and state government reach native title settlement - VIC

The Victorian state government and the Dja Dja Warrung people reached a settlement formally recognising Dja Dja Warrung as traditional owners over lands in central Victoria. Graham Atkinson, Chair of the Dja Dja Warrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation, said the deal provided certainty and the opportunity to determine their sustainable future.
The Northern Times (Kerang VIC, 2 April 2013)
National Indigenous Times (Malua Bay NSW, 10 April 2013) 14

1 April

Concerns expressed over cost of native title negotiations - AUS

The Western Australia (WA) government has warned that the cost of complying with Aboriginal heritage obligations has surged from 1 to 10 per cent of exploration spending in the state, backing similar warnings by miners that they are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for a ‘significant industry’ of anthropologists, archeologists and native title representatives.

The Association of Mining and Exploration Companies has also expressed concerns that only 10-15 per cent of costs associated with heritage surveys are being received by traditional owners. But the National Native Title Council – the peak body for Native Title Representative Bodies (NTRBs) – has disputed this figure saying there was a recent example in the state indicating that more than 60 per cent of funds end up with traditional owners.

Costly delays have been cited as a source of the problem with about 450 native title claims still outstanding, about half of which have been in the system for more than a decade. The WA government has also warned that the main recipients of Commonwealth funding to assist native title claimants – NTRBs – have become reliant on raising money from managing Aboriginal heritage surveys and negotiating over proposed mines, and this was in conflict with their primary task of finalising claims before the Federal Court.

The Australian (Canberra ACT, 1 April 2013) 1
The Australian (Canberra ACT, 12 April 2013) 8

25 March

Yidinji granted native title - QLD

The Yidinji native title group has been recognised as native title holders over lands in the Atherton Tablelands. The claim follows an earlier claim which was partially recognised last December.
The Herald Sun (Melbourne VIC, 25 March 2013)
Perth Now (Perth WA, 25 March 2013)
The Cairns Post (Cairns QLD, 27 March 2013), 9

18 March

Working group assesses tax treatment of native title payments - AUS

Following the passage of the Tax Laws Amendment Bill (2012), a treasury-led working group will examine the treatment of native title payments. The working group will specifically look to develop pathways to ensure the payments are for the benefit of future generations. Brian Wyatt, Chief Executive of the National Native Title Council (NNTC) welcomed the legislation and insists that appropriate tax treatment of benefits will enable native title groups to engage in business and community development projects that will benefit not only Indigenous people, but the broader community.
The Australian (Canberra ACT, 18 March 2013)
Koori Mail (Lismore NSW, 27 March 2013), 13
National Indigenous Times (Malua Bay NSW, 27 March 2013), 15

13 March

Dja Dja Warrung granted native title - VIC

The Dja Dja Warrung people have signed a native title deal with the Victorian government over land in central and western Victoria. The agreement includes the districts of Bendigo, Maryborough, Daylesford and Charlton. The Dja Dja Warrung Aboriginal Corporation, which has led negotiations with the state government, convened a meeting with traditional claimants before approving the deal.
National Indigenous Times (Malua Bay NSW, 13 March 2013), 15
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 15 March 2013)
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 28 March 2013)
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 28 March 2013)
Bendigo Advertiser (Bendigo VIC, 29 March 2013), 5

Native title bodies align to improve development - AUS

The Kimberly Regional Economic Development (KRED) and the Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) of the Martu native title holders, Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation (WDLAC), have formed an alliance to promote Aboriginal business development across the north-west of Australia. KRED Chief Executive Officer Wayne Bergmann asserts that as the two corporations operate in the same cultural region and share many cultural practices, it make sense for them to align their economic objectives to reflect this relationship.
National Indigenous Times (Malua Bay NSW, 13 March 2013), 15

8 March

Raelene Webb QC named new President of NNTT - AUS

Raelene Webb QC, was announced as the new President of the NNTT, replacing Graeme Neate. Previously Ms Webb was president of the Northern Territory Bar Association and Vice-President of the Australian Bar Association. Ms Webb will be permanently based in Perth.
The Australian (Canberra ACT, 8 March 2013), 25
The Sunday Territorian (Darwin NT, 10 March 2013), 4
Koori Mail (Lismore NSW, 13 March 2013), 19
Koori Mail (Lismore NSW, 20 March 2013), 15

6 March

Native title mediation to go through Federal Court - AUS

The powers to mediate native title claims have been transferred from the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) to the Federal Court. The Courts and Tribunals Amendmant (Adminstartion) Act 20122012 which gives effect to these changes was passed through both Houses of Parliament on 28 February 2013.
National Indigenous Times (Malua Bay NSW, 6 March 2013), 9


25 February

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating backs Native title amendments - AUS

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating has publicly backed the proposed native title amendments in a speech to the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC). The gathering was held on North Stradbroke Island nearly 2 years after QYAC won a 16-year battle to have their native title rights recognised. Keating stated that the current native title arrangements had become too cumbersome, too expensive and too legal before going on to encourage the community to make the most of the determination.
The Australian (Canberra, ACT, 25 February 2013), 7
The Courier Mail (Brisbane, QLD, 25 February 2013), 11
The Bayside Bulletin (Cleveland, QLD, 25 February 2013)
National Indigenous Times (Malua Bay, NSW, 27 February 2013), 1

15 February

Torres Strait Islanders await outcome of High Court hearing on commercial fishing rights - QLD

The High Court of Australia has reserved its decision on whether Torres Strait Islanders still hold the native title right to fish for commercial purposes or whether this was extinguished by fisheries legislation. Chairman of the Torres Strait Regional Authority Joseph Elu is hoping that the case will provide the foundation for Torres Strait Islanders to benefit from the $34 million seafood market.
The Cairns Post (Cairns, QLD, 15 February 2013), 2

14 February

The Federal Court rules in favour of Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation - WA

The Federal Court has ruled that the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) is the only group legally permitted to represent native title holders in the ongoing Pilbara mining dispute with Fortescue Metals Group (FMG). Previously, FMG had entered in to negotiations for the Solomon Hub iron ore mine with the Wirlu-Murra Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (WMYAC), a breakaway Yindjibarndi group. FMG Chief Executive Nev Power said that the decision would not affect its current or future operations and that it had always been FMG’s intention to come to an agreement with all Yindjibarndi people. Shortly after the Federal Court decision, FMG announced that a $200 million mining services joint venture at its Solomon Project would be awarded to the benefit of WMYAC and Eastern Guruma.
The Australian (Canberra, ACT, 14 February 2013), 23
ABC Premium News (Sydney, NSW, 14 February 2013)
The Koori Mail (Lismore, NSW, 27 February), 12
National Indigenous Times (Malua Bay, NSW, 27 February 2013), 11

11 February

Uncertainty surrounding land tenure in Northern Australia - AUS

The Northern Territory government has declared that easing land-use restrictions in Northern Australia to promote diversification in agriculture would require changes to the Native Title Act. In response, the Northern Land Council has indicated that any leases should be negotiated under the current governing arrangements and that any proposed changes would be contested.
The Australian (Canberra, ACT, 11 February 2013), 4

6 February

Federal Opposition to vote against native title amendments - AUS

Federal Opposition legal affairs spokesperson Senator George Brandis indicated that the Coalition party would vote against the native title amendments proposed by the Federal Government. Senator Brandis has said that the amendments are unnecessary and that the current governing arrangements strike the right balance.
The Australian (Canberra, ACT, 6 February 2013), 6.


31 January

Landmark High Court hearing on native title sea rights - TSI

On 12 February 2013, the High Court will hear an appeal from the Torres Strait Regional Sea Claims Group over a Federal Court decision that native title does not extend to commercial fishing rights as they were extinguished by state fisheries.
The Cairns Post (Cairns, QLD, 31 January 2013), 10.

30 January

Traditional owners have called on the UN to intervene in Woodside’s Browse gas project

Goolarabooloo people, traditional owners in the Kimberley region, have sent an urgent appeal to the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The appeal outlines that their rights under Articles 15 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are being violated by the government of Western Australia and resource companies. The group has claimed that the state government’s bid to compulsorily acquire land is in contravention of the right to free, prior and informed consent.
AAP General News Wire (Sydney, NSW, 30 January 2013).

29 January

Cape York to be nominated as UNESCO World Heritage site - QLD

The Federal Government hopes to nominate Cape York for UNESCO World Heritage status. The nomination can only be submitted with the consent of traditional owners, giving them the ultimate right to allow this nomination.
The Conversation (29 January 2013).

16 January

Federal Government seeks feedback on the native title process - Federal

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs has called for submissions to be made about the Native Title Amendment Bill 2012. The amendment clarifies the meaning of negotiating in ‘good faith’, enables parties to agree to set aside the historical extinguishment of native title in parks and reserves, and streamlines ILUA processes. Submissions close on the 31 January 2013.
Koori Mail (Lismore, NSW, 16 January 2013), 18.

Elders from Murray Island seek legal advice on how to reverse a QLD Indigenous land transfer - TSI

The Meriam Elders Group of Murray Island will travel to Brisbane to seek advice on how to reverse a recent Indigenous land transfer by the Queensland government. This transfer was made possible through a deed granted to Mer Gedkam Le, the RNTBC for the Meriam people which holds and manages the native title rights determined in the Mabo decision. The Elders Group is strongly opposed to the transfer of the Mer, Dauer and Waier Islands to the Mer Gedkam Le.
Koori Mail (Lismore, NSW, 16 January 2013), 7.

5 January

New jobs created in WA mining sector for native title holders - WA

Since 2010, Fortescue has created almost $600 million in contracts and joint ventures as part of the ‘Billion Opportunities’ venture to Aboriginal businesses in the Pilbara region. There are currently seven land access agreements that provide business prospects for local Aboriginal people. This provides opportunities for native title groups to actively practice ownership and work on traditional lands. As stated by Prof. Marcia Langton, there is now an emerging new Aboriginal middle class created by the employment opportunities afforded by the mining sector.
Weekend Australian (Canberra, ACT, 5 January 2013), 27.


2012

19 December

Lake Eyre renamed Kati Thunda - SA

Lake Eyre in South Australia has been officially renamed Kati Thunda, the traditional Arabana name for the Lake. The Chair of Arabana Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC Aaron Stuart said the recognition is a great leap forward for Australia.
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 19 December, 2012)
PM – ABC (Sydney NSW, 19 December 2012)
The Australian (Canberra ACT, 20 December 2012) 8
The Age (Melbourne VIC, 20 December 2012) 6

Indjalandji-Dhidhanu native title determination - QLD

The Federal Court has recognised the native title rights of the Indjalandji-Dhidhanu people in north-west Queensland. The area covers over 19,000 square kilometres from the west of Mount Isa to the Northern Territory border, including the township of Camooweal. The determination ends a 13 year battle by the Indjalandji-Dhidhanu peoples to have their native title rights recognised.
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 19 December 2012)
The Australian (Canberra ACT, 19 December 2012) 2

14 December

Yidinji native title determination - QLD

The Federal Court convened in Atherton in North Queensland to grant native title to the Yidinji people in the tableland region south-west of Cairns in an area that includes Danbulla National park. A protest against the hand back was convened outside the court house while the hand back took place.
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 14 December, 2012)
The Cairns post (Cairns QLD, 15 December 2012) 31

Mer Deed of Grant - QLD

On 14 December 2012, the Queensland Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Glen Elmes, presented a deed of grant to Mer Gedkem Le, the prescribed body corporate representing the Meriam people. The deed of grant formally transfers Meriam lands, including the Mer township, to the RNTBC to hold in trust for the Meriam people.
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 14 December 2012)
Weekend Australian (Canberra ACT, 15 December 2012) 1

13 December

Bunuba native title determination - QLD

The Bunuba people have been granted native title to 6,500 square kilometres of land and water on and around Fitzroy Island. Six of the original eight claimants have passed away since the claim was first made in 1996. This determination recognises the Bunuba people’s non-exclusive rights to hunt, fish and access lands and waters.
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 13 December 2012)
The Australian (Canberra ACT, 13 December 2012) 5

10 December

Tagalaka native title determination - QLD

The Tagalaka people have been granted native title over 30,000 square kilometres around the Croydon area of north-west Queensland. The Federal Court recognised non-exclusive rights over public land, building further on the Indigenous land use agreement developed in partnership with the Tagalaka people and the local council in 2008.
AAP Bulletin Wire (Sydney NSW, 10 December 2012)
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 10 December 2012)
The Cairns Post (Cairns QLD, 11 December 2012) 5
The North-West Star (Mount Isa QLD, 11 December 2012) 18

8 December

NSWALC apply for coal seam gas exploration license - NSW

The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has applied for mining rights to 321,300 square kilometres throughout parts of NSW to explore for coal seam gas. This has sparked concerns in local communities regarding the effects on land value, farmland and water quality. The Githabul people who were awarded native title in 2007 say that their land would be significantly affected by such exploration. Local Aboriginal communities are angered by the lack of community consultation.
The Canberra Times (Canberra ACT, 08 December 2012) 3
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 14 December 2012)
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 15 December 2012)
The Northern Star (Lismore NSW, 18 December 2012)

5 December

Kowanyama native title determination - QLD

On 5 December 2012 the Kowanyama people were granted native title over 16,000 square kilometres of land in the Cape York Peninsula. This determination recognises non-exclusive rights to hunt, fish and engage in ceremonial activities and burials on this land, as well as exclusive rights to the Kowanyama township.
AAP News Wire (Sydney NSW, 05 December 2012)
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 05 December)
The Cairns Post (Cairns QLD, 06 December 2012) 19
The New Zealand Herald (Auckland NZ, 06 December 2012) 37

Land tenure reform in QLD - QLD

Rural lobby group AgForce has backed a parliamentary committee report recommending land tenure reform in Queensland. AgForce spokeswoman Lauren Hewitt has said that the recommendations have the potential to provide more security to landholders without infringing on native title rights.
ABC News (Sydney NSW, 5 December 2012)


28 November

Native title respondent funding - AU

Federal Government funding for native title respondents, including pastoralists, to access legal services will come to an end in December 2012. The Pastoralists and Graziers Association and AgForce have described the move as an ‘attack on agriculture’, saying that many pastoralists will be unable to pay for representation and will have to represent themselves, putting the court under increased pressure. A spokesman for federal Attorney-General Nicola Roxon says the government believes funding should not be provided to commercially viable entities now that the native title process is well established.
ABC News (online, 28 November 2012)
The Australian (online, 28 November 2012)
ABC News (online, 29 November 2012)

22 November

Family Court decision - QLD

A traditional owner from an island in the Torres Strait has obtained injunctive orders from the Family Court to evict her former partner from her property, which is subject to native title flowing from a Federal Court decision in 2000. Her life interest in the property was taken into account in assessing the parties’ assets. The Family Court decision held that the de facto wife had native title to the lot under question and although unable to sell that interest, she could derive an income from leasing the property.
The Australian (online, 22 November 2012)

21 November

Jinibara native title determination - QLD

The Jinibara people of south-east Queensland have received recognition of their native title rights over 700 square kilometres of land that stretches from the Sunshine Coast to the Brisbane River. This determination has been 14 years in the making and is the first native title determination on the mainland of southeast Queensland.
The Australian (online, 20 November 2012)
Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore QLD, 21 November 2012) 4

8 November

Native title claim over Cubbie Station - SA

Aboriginal groups are hoping the Kuma people’s native title claim over Cubbie Station will ensure the water is returned to the Murray-Darling Basin. Peter Chapman from Dirranbandi in Queensland plans to travel the length of the river system to raise opposition to the sale of the station and its huge water allocation to a foreign-led consortium.
Murray Valley Standard (Murray Bridge SA, 8 November 2012) 4

7 November

Landmark native title case - WA

The Ngarla people have had their native title rights recognised after a five year dispute with miners in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The case involved mining leases in the area of Mount Goldsworthy where Western Australia’s first major iron ore mining operations started in the 1960s. The Ngarla people were granted native title in 2007 but questions remained whether mining leases extinguished their native title rights. The full Federal Court has now ruled that mining leases do not wholly extinguish native title. Although the mining lease prevails whilst in place, native title may revive when the mining lease ceases.
ABC News (online, 6 November 2012)
The Australian (online, 6 November 2012)
WA Today (online, 6 November 2012)
Northern Territory News (Darwin, 7 November 2012) 16
The West Australian (online, 7 November 2012)
ABC News (online, 7 November 2012


12 October

Wik and Wik Way native title determination - QLD

The Wik and Wik Way peoples have received recognition of their native title rights to 19,672 square kilometres of land south of Weipa. This native title case was the longest running of its kind in Queensland. The decision was made following negotiations between the claimants, the State, mining companies and pastoralists. The decision follows four partial determinations made in 2000, 2004 and 2009. Cairns Post (Cairns QLD, 12 October 2012), 7.
Cooktown Local News (Cooktown QLD, 18 October 2012), 10.
National Indigenous Times (Malua Bay NSW, 17 October 2012), 6.
Koori Mail (Lismore NSW, 17 October 2012), 4.
The Australian (online, 11 October 2012).
The Australian (online, 11 October 2012).
ABC News Online (online, 12 October 2012).
The Australian (online, 12 October 2012).

10 October

Jangga native title determination - QLD

The Jangga people of North Queensland have received recognition of their native title rights over 11,500 square kilometres of land of the Mount Coolon region.
Townsville Bulletin (Townsville QLD, 10 October 2012), 16.
Daily Mercury (Mackay QLD, 10 October 2012), 4.
National Indigenous Times (Malua Bay NSW, 17 October 2012), 6.
Koori Mail (Lismore NSW, 17 October 2012), 15.
ABC News (online, 10 October 2012).

5 October

Torres Strait Sea Claim Group - TSI

The High Court has granted the Torres Strait Island Sea Claim Group special leave to appeal a decision of the Full Court. Since 2001, the group has been fighting for recognition of their native title rights to take aquatic resources for commercial purpose. The group won on this ground in the Federal Court in 2010, but lost on appeal before the Full Court on 15 March 2012.
ABC News (online, 5 October 2012).

3 October

Native title legislative reforms - AUS

The Federal Government has sought feedback on proposed legislative amendments it says are designed to improve the operation of the native title system. Under changes the federal government announced in June, “good-faith negotiation” will be legislated, Indigenous Land Use Agreements will become more flexible, and land covered by native title will no longer be subject to income and capital gains taxes. Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTAR) said the changes ‘fail to address the major underlying inequities in the native title system’. The government is aiming to introduce the bill to parliament by the end of the year.
Koori Mail (Lismore NSW, 3 October 2012), 11.

1 October

Glen Helen - NT

The Imperlkgne, Urlatherrke, Pmerketerenye, Yaperlpe, Lthalaltweme and Merina landholding groups have had their native title rights recognised over the land at Glen Helen. Glen Helen will continue to be run as a pastoral station and native title rights will co-exist with the pastoral lease.
ABC News (1 October 2012)

Bill to ratify agreement between the Western Australian Government and Kimberley Traditional Owners - WA

On 20 September 2012, the Western Australian Premier introduced a Bill to ratify the agreement between the State government and Kimberley Land Council, on behalf of the Goolarabooloo Jabirr Jabirr joint native title claim group. The agreement commits the State not to allow any further liquefied natural gas development along thousands of kilometres of the Kimberley coastline, unless traditional owners provide their informed consent. LNG processing will be allowed at James Price Point, but the Bill prevents industrial development, such as fertiliser factories. The life of the LNG port at James Price Point will be limited to 100 years, after which time the land will be returned to traditional owners. Some have suggested that mining companies like Woodside were disappointed with the Government’s earlier compulsory acquisition threats and Chevron recently pulled out of the project.
The Australian (Australia, 1 October 2012), 12;
Broome Advertiser (Broome, 30 August 2012), 7;
Business News (Perth, 21 September 2012), 23;
National Indigenous Times (NSW, 26 September 2012), 6;
National Indigenous Times (NSW, 12 September 2012), 5;
National Indigenous Times (NSW, 5 September 2012), 17;
West Australian (Perth, 21 September 2012), 4.


23 September

Mandingalbay Yidinji-Gunggandji native title determination - QLD

The Mandingalbay Yidinji- Gunggandji peoples’ native title rights have been recognised over 82 square kilometres of land near Cairns. Three Indigenous Land Use Agreements were negotiated with the State Government.
Sun Herald (Sydney, 23 September 2012), 18;
Weekend Post (Cairns, 22 September 2012), 6.

17 September

WA Heritage Laws - WA

The Chairman of the National Native Title Council, Nolan Hunter, has labelled Western Australia’s Heritage Protection laws pointless, after Fortescue Metals Group admitted disturbing three Aboriginal heritage sites with heavy earthmoving equipment, destroying two sites. The Department of Indigenous Affairs received legal advice that FMG could not be successfully prosecuted, because it was not in the public interest.
ABC News (17 September 2012).

8 September

South Australian Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Amendment Bill - SA

South Australian Mining Minister Tom Koutsantonis has introduced legislation designed to retrospectively secure petroleum production licences held by companies Santos, Delhi Petroleum and Origin Energy Resources. South Australian Native Title Services Chief Executive Officer, Keith Thomas, says that the Bill removes the right of native title holders to negotiate and is a ‘back door’ to circumvent action by the Yandruwandha and Yawarrawarrka native title claimants. The Bill has been criticised due to lack of consultation with native title claimants and representative bodies. Local Arabunna Native Title Chairperson, Aaron Stuart, has labelled it ‘administrative racism.’
Weekend Australian (Australia, 8 September 2012), 8;
National Indigenous Times (NSW, 12 September 2012), 3;
National Indigenous Times (30 September 2012);
Port Augusta Transcontinental (Port Augusta, 12 September 2012), 4.

5 September

Pitta Pitta Native Title Determination - QLD

In a special sitting in Boulia on 28 August, the Federal Court of Australia approved a native title consent determination, giving the Pitta Pitta people non-exclusive rights over 30,000 square kilometres of land in western Queensland. The consent determination was reached with 4 local shire councils, 15 pastoralists, Ergon Energy and 2 mining companies. The determination marked the end of a 13 year struggle for native title recognition.
Koori Mail (Lismore, 5 September), 31;
North West Star (Mount Isa, 28 August 2012), 3.

Right to negotiate on behalf of the Yindjibarndi people - WA

The Federal Court has ruled that mediation should continue between two Aboriginal groups both claiming a right to negotiate on behalf of the Yindjibarndi people The Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation was previously the principal negotiator in native title dealings, but a splinter group, the Wirlu-Murra Aboriginal Corporation, is seeking to be recognised as the authorised body. The Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation has challenged its authorisation process.
Pilbara News (Pilbara, 5 September 2012), 3:
National Indigenous Times (NSW, 12 September 2012), 16;
National Indigenous Times (NSW, 5 September 2012), 8.


30 August

2012 Indigenous Governance Awards - AU

The Yawoorroong Miriuwung Gajerrong Yirrgeb Noong Dawang Aboriginal Corporation has been nominated as a finalist for the 2012 Indigenous Governance Awards. The organisation receives and manages benefits under the Ord Final Agreement to the Miriuwung and Gajerrong peoples in the East Kimberley. The winner will be announced in Melbourne in October 2012.
Broome Advertiser (Broome, 30 August 2012), 5.

29 August

Land, water and heritage management at Goyuru, Antwerp, Dimboola and Roses Gap - VIC

The Barengi Gadjin Land Council will restore land awarded under a Native Title determination with the help of a $117,000 Indigenous Land Corporation grant. The newly appointed land, water and heritage manager, Michael Stewart, will work with rangers and traditional owners Michael Douglas and Brett Harrison to maintain land at Guyuru, Antwerp, Dimboola, Roses Gap, Ebenezer Mission and Werrimull.
Wimmera Mail Times (Horsham, 29 August 2012), 6.

22 August

Lake Nash and Georgina Downs pastoral leases - NT

The Federal Court has recognised the native title rights and interests of the Ilperrelhelam, Malarrarr, Nwerrarr, Meyt, Itnwerrengayt and Ampwertety landholding groups over the Lake Nash and Georgina Downs pastoral leases. Lake Nash and Georgina Downs are run as pastoral stations and the claimants’ native title rights will coexist with the rights of the pastoral leaseholders to graze cattle.
Koori Mail (Lismore, 22 August 2012), 34.

Solomon Project - WA

A stand-off between the mining company Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) and the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) over the Solomon iron ore project in the Pilbara region continues. YAC chief executive officer Michael Woodley issued a media statement to potential investors, lenders and joint venture partners, warning that FMG has not received the informed consent of the Yindjibarndi people for the project. In July, the Federal Court declared that a determination of native title in favour of the Yindjibarndi people could expose FMG to liability to pay compensation for any impairment of native title rights.
Koori Mail (Lismore, 22 August 2012), 15.

Widji native title claim - WA

The Widji native title claim over land in Coolgardie, Kambalda, Widjimooltha and Kalgoorlie-Boulder has been dismissed, on the basis that it was unlikely to be resolved in the near future. The Goldfields Land and Sea Council (GLSC) told the court that not all of the people who qualified were listed in the claimant group.
Koori Mail (Lismore, 22 August 2012), 33.

Managed by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)
AIATSIS acknowledges the funding support of the Native Title Branch of
the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C).