With the downturn in international commodity markets and a consequent decline in the mining industry, the approach of native title parties and proponents to future act agreement negotiations may need to be revised. The significantly reduced income of mining companies means that native title parties and project proponents will need to carefully assess how native title benefits in future act agreements should best be structured to align with their respective financial goals to inform agreement negotiations.
Once payments have been received by native title parties, additional considerations arise, including how best to direct and use the funds to maximise the benefit to traditional owners affected by the mining activity. Drawing on the theoretical literature about the different methods for structuring the payment of benefits to native title parties under future act agreements, this presentation will analyse the relative strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches in the context of the decline in the mining industry. Similarly, in the context of distribution of benefits, the presentation will provide a brief overview of international approaches to mining payment distributions and apply these approaches to the native title context.