Friday, 17 February 2017

Without wide consultation with indigenous peoples the Turnbull Government is fast tracking amendments to the C'wealth Native Title Act 1993

Without wide consultation with indigenous peoples the Turnbull Government has tabled a retrospective bill, Native title amendment (indigenous land use agreements) bill 2017, in order to overturn Federal Court of Australia orders handed down in McGlade  v Native Title Registrar [2017] FCAFC 10 and ensure that projects such as foreign multinational Adani Mining Pty Ltd’s Galilee Basin complex comprising six open-cut & five underground coal mines and associated infrastructure can proceed.

As it now stands this bill appears to allow a weakening of the authority of Native Title holders identified and named by the Native Title Tribunal in decisions made under existing provisions in Native Title Act 1993 as well as those who may be named in future decisions.

However, this is a complex issue given the number of existing Indigenous Land Use Agreements which have been entered into across Australia and merits Parliament’s attention – though perhaps not the less than 24 hour express train ride Turnbull gave it in the Lower House.

On 16 February the bill passed the House of Representatives with a majority of 9 MPs and has been referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee which is expected to file a report on 17 March 2017.

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