In this submission to the Attorney-General, AIATSIS comments on the exposure draft: Proposed amendments to the Native Title Act 1993. The exposure draft of the proposed amendments was made available for public comment on 21 September 2012.
In brief, the proposed amendments are designed to:
- clarify the meaning of 'good faith' and associated amendments to the 'right to negotiate' provisions
- enable parties to agree to disregard historical extinguishment of native title in areas such as parks and reserves
- streamline Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) processes.
In summary, we offer qualified support for the changes proposed related to ‘good faith’ negotiations and historical extinguishment, but argue that the reforms do not go far enough towards rectifying inequities inherent in the existing legislation. We make a number of recommendations to addressing these.
In relation to the streamlining of ILUA processes, we indicate our support of the proposed changes and recommend some refinements to the exposure draft as it currently stands. The most significant of these is a proposal to retain the three month period for objections or new claim applications,
rather than reducing it to one month.