Capacity building and approaches to disputes

Project status: 

This project builds on the work of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), especially its Indigenous Facilitation and Mediation project (IFaMP) (2003–2006) as well as other research in the Native Title Research Unit.

It aims to inform the native title sector about innovative approaches to capacity building in decision-making and dispute management in the Right People for Country project in Victoria. AIATSIS advises the project and is collaborating with Right People for Country, the Department of Justice, Native Title Services Victoria, and two Victorian traditional owners on a publication which analyses issues raised by recent pilots and their evaluation. As part of this project, comments have also been provided to the Central Land Council on their draft dispute management policy.

Impact statement

The Right People for Country project is unique in Australia and there is a significant demand for information about it as well as for general information about ways of addressing boundary and group composition land disputes.

Project team 

  • Sally Smith (Right People for Country)
  • Tony Kelly (Native Title Services Victoria)
  • Anoushka Lenffer (Department of Justice, Victoria)
  • Mick Harding (Taungurung Elder, Traditional Owner, Victoria)
  • Rodney Carter (Dja Dja Wurrung Elder, Traditional Owner, Victoria)
  • Jayne Weepers (Central Land Council)
Key finding/s: 

Highlights of this project have been:

  • A number of facilitated workshops.
  • The publication of the Australian Indigenous Law Review article with a number of co-authors, including staff from Right People for Country, the Department of Justice in Victoria, Native Title Services Victoria and traditional owners. This was a major achievement in AIATSIS’s facilitation through Ms Bauman in assisting the co-authors, often seen to be located in opposing camps, in ‘getting on the same page’ including a workshop in Melbourne.
  • Capacity building training in decision-making on behalf of AIATSIS with PBCs in Cairns, Perth and Broome (not scheduled in project plan).
  • The establishment of close partnerships between the research partners, authors and their various supporting organisations as result of the writing and publication process.
  • Collaborative publication Bauman, T, Smith, S, Lenffer, A, Kelly, T, Carter, R & Harding, M 2015, ‘Traditional owner agreement-making in Victoria: the Right People for Country Program’, Australian Indigenous Law Review, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 78–98, chosen as feature article for the AILR edition.


department of premier and cabinet Victoria
Native title services Victoria
Last reviewed: 2 May 2016