AIATSIS has been integrally involved in debates over reform to the Native Title Act since its inception. Through events such as the annual National Native Title Conference, AIATSIS has promoted informed discussion and debate on the Act and its ability to fulfil the objectives set out in the preamble, to recognise and protect the rights of Indigenous peoples to their traditional lands. We remain fundamentally committed to improving legal process and policy in order to ensure better and more sustainable land justice outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
In summary, it is our position that while the amendments proposed in the Bill may help improve some areas of native title law and practice, they still do not go far enough in addressing existing inequalities between native title groups and other parties. In particular, further measures should be taken to give greater weight to the free, prior and informed consent of native title parties negotiating in ‘good faith’ towards future act and other agreements.