Native Title Payments Working Group meets in Canberra
The Australian Government today hosted the first meeting of the Native Title Payments Working Group at Parliament House in Canberra.
Native title is critical to economic development. Properly structured property rights to land are a key component in expanding commercial and economic opportunities.
The Working Group, which is made up of experts from the Indigenous community, mining, academia and the legal profession, has been established to advise Government on how to make better use of native title payments under mining and infrastructure agreements.
The Working Group has been asked to develop suggestions to ensure that the benefits accruing to Indigenous interests under native title agreements contribute to addressing the economic and social disadvantage facing the Indigenous community and are delivered to current and future generations.
The Working Group will provide input into the development of a government discussion paper planned for public circulation and comment in September.
It is important to ensure that traditional owners and Indigenous communities derive long-term gains from the current resources boom and other economic developments occurring on Indigenous land.
All parties to the native title process have a constructive role to play to ensure this happens.
Working group on native title payments: terms of reference
To develop tangible suggestions for ensuring that the benefits accruing to Indigenous interests under native title agreements contribute to addressing the economic and social disadvantage facing the Indigenous community and are delivered to current and future generations.
In particular, the group should consider:
- the type of benefits to be provided
- the manner in which benefits should be provided
- the manner in which benefits should be administered, and
- the potential for use of template agreements and specified principles to guide the making and implementation of agreements.
The Working Group will meet in July and August 2008. Its advice will feed into the development of a Government discussion paper on this issue, expected to be circulated in September 2008.
Members of the Working Group
- Gina Castelain, Wik Projects Ltd
- Chris Cottier, BHP Billiton
- James Fitzgerald, Chalk & Fitzgerald Lawyers
- Bill Hart, Rio Tinto
- Philip Hunter, HWL Ebsworth Lawyers
- Glen Kelly, South West Land and Sea Council
- Marcia Langton, Centre for Health and Society, School of Population Health, University of Melbourne
- David Ross, Central Land Council
- Ian Williams, Mining Industry Consultant