Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Additional $50 million for Native Title System

Joint Media Release with:

  • Robert McClelland MP, Attorney-General

The Rudd Government will provide additional funding to support the native title system so that it can help close the gap between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians.

This year’s Budget will provide an additional $50.1 million over four years to build a more efficient native title system that focuses on achieving resolution through agreement-making rather than costly and protracted litigation.

Improving the native title process removes barriers to investment and infrastructure on Indigenous land, and provides the basis for economic and commercial opportunities.

The additional funding includes $45.8 million to improve the capacity of Native Title Representative Bodies (NTRBs) to represent native title claimants and holders.

With improved resourcing, NTRBs will be better equipped to negotiate agreements which ensure sustainable long term economic and social benefits for Indigenous Australians.

The funding will also improve their capacity to meet the needs of native title claimant groups and will improve the rate of resolution of claims.

A further $4.3 million will be allocated to improving claims resolution by working with State and Territory Governments to develop new approaches to the settlement of claims through negotiated agreements.

The Government is working to ensure that the native title system supports a more flexible, less legalistic approach. This includes amendments to the Native Title Act to move away from the traditional adversarial approach in favour of negotiated agreements that provide a range of benefits to traditional owners.

Faster resolution of native title claims will provide certainty to all stakeholders and will help create sustainable, long-term outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

The allocation of additional funding follows the recommendations of a review of funding for the native title system in 2008 which found that the system required additional funding to function effectively.