Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Terms of reference for native title law inquiry announced

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP
    Minister for Emergency Management
    Special Minister of State
    Minister for the Public Service and Integrity

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC and Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin today announced the final terms of reference for the Australian Law Reform Commission inquiry into specific areas of native title law.

This follows the release in June of draft terms of reference for public consultation.

“The Native Title Act 1993 has now been in operation for 20 years, so it is timely to take an in-depth look at some key areas of the Act and how well it works in practice,” Mr Dreyfus said.

The Government has asked the Commission to examine two specific areas and consider what changes could be made to improve the operation of Commonwealth native title laws and legal frameworks.

“Ensuring we have an effective and efficient native title system that delivers for Indigenous people is fundamental to closing the gap,” Ms Macklin said.

“This inquiry, together with the review into the roles and functions of native title organisations currently underway by Deloitte Access Economics, will ensure that the native title system continues to meet the needs of indigenous people well into the future.”

The two specific areas to be considered are:

  • Connection requirements, and
  • Authorisation and joinder provisions of the Native Title Act 1993 (these provisions can significantly affect the timely and effective resolution of native title claims).

“Given the complexity of these issues and the potential significant impact of any reforms on the operation of the current native title system, the Australian Law Reform Commission is well placed to explore these issues,” Mr Dreyfus said.

“Stakeholders will have opportunities to put their views forward on these issues as part of the Commission’s inquiry.”

The Attorney-General has also appointed Professor Lee Godden of the University of Melbourne to lead the native title.

“Professor Godden brings comprehensive knowledge and experience that will greatly assist the Commission in its new inquiry,” Mr Dreyfus said.