Posted: June 6th, 2012
Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) has welcomed today’s announcement by the Commonwealth Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, of a package of reforms and additional funding to improve the efficiency of the native title system.
In particular, YMAC is pleased that the Government has committed to put forward amendments to incorporate criteria for good faith negotiations into the Native Title Act. This is in line with suggested amendments YMAC put to the Government in 2009, following FMG Pilbara Pty Ltd v Cox (2009).
Simon Hawkins, CEO, Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation said, “The High Court’s decision resulted in our push for these ‘good faith’ amendments, to set out clear expectations and certainty for all parties.
Importantly, these changes will require companies to discuss substantive issues within the six-month negotiation period, rather than stalling on preliminary matters such as protocols and timetables. These reforms have been under discussion for several years and we are very pleased to see the Government now moving towards design and implementation.”
The announcements at the National Native Title Conference in Townsville also included:
· Proposed amendments to allow parties to reach agreement over the historical extinguishment of native title over parks and reserves.
· The Government has agreed that financial payments to native title parties as part of agreements won’t attract income tax or Capital Gains Tax. This will guarantee that compensation paid for the impairment or loss of native title rights will be treated like other forms of compensation.
Jenny Macklin, Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs also addressed the conference, announcing a long-awaited review of the roles and functions of Native Title Representative Bodies. YMAC hopes this review demonstrates the extensive work Native Title Representative Bodies are doing to support native title groups as they move into a post-determination environment.