AIATSIS' response to the Australian Law Reform Commission's (ALRC) review into the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) seeks to promote a principled approach to reform. We have sought to highlight the primary underlying principle that Indigenous peoples have a right to own and inherit their traditional territories; to make decisions about, and benefit from, their traditional territories and resources; as well as to maintain their culture.
The importance of the recognition and protection of native title to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader Australian community cannot be overstated. We appreciate that the ALRC’s review of the NTA, and any government response to subsequent recommendations, is intended to enhance the opportunity for addressing and reducing barriers to the recognition of native title while providing greater certainty in the way native title interacts with other interests in land and waters. It is this interaction that provides the opportunity for sustainable long-term benefits.
Broader issues of intergenerational land justice exist outside the current native title framework and AIATSIS seeks to promote recommendations from this Review that lead to a redesigned legislative scheme, expanded to accommodate and ameliorate some of the existing situations of injustice.