Native Title Act

Wearing two hats: The conflicting governance roles of native title corporations and community/shire councils in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community governance can be greatly impacted by the nature of the land tenure held or managed by the community. The fragmented system of national and state regimes which provide grants or titles of land to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people has enabled a governance landscape where there are often overlapping rights to land. This creates a situation where relationships within an Indigenous community – and even within a traditional owner group – are competing for power and control.

The right to protect sites: Indigenous heritage management in the era of native title

A large and profitable Indigenous heritage management industry has emerged in the wake of the resources boom of recent decades, with thousands of Indigenous heritage impact assessments conducted every year. Yet few governments have successfully reformed heritage laws to accommodate native title rights, and conflict over site destruction is regularly front page news.

Native Title Anthropology after the Timber Creek Decision

In August 2016, the traditional owners of Timber Creek in the Northern Territory, the Ngaliwurru and Nungali peoples, were awarded over $3.3 million for the loss of their native title rights. $1.3 million of this award was a solatium payment, that is, compensation for hurt arising from damage caused by the loss of connection to the land. Griffiths v Northern Territory of Australia (No 3) [2016] FCA 900 (Timber Creek), which was heard by Justice John Mansfield, is the courts first litigated award of compensation for the loss or impairment of native title rights.