The National Native Title Council (NNTC) welcomes today’s announcement by the Australian Government for further reforms to the native title system to ensure economic benefits flow to Traditional Owners and their communities.
In particular, the NNTC is pleased to see the Labor Government endorsing the establishment of a new kind of not-for-profit body called an Indigenous Economic Development Corporation (ICDC).
“The NNTC together with the Minerals Council of Australia have both advocated strongly over a number of years to develop a vehicle for the appropriate treatment of benefits gained through the negotiation of agreements with the extractive industry,” said Brian Wyatt, CEO of the National Native Title Council.
“The recommendations of the Working Group on Taxation of Native Title and Traditional Owner Benefits and Governance are a welcome development in closing the gap between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Communities.
“The NNTC believes that an ICDC will ensure there is a mechanism to deliver real economic development opportunities for Traditional Owners, in particular sustainable benefits that will be enjoyed by generations into the future.
“An ICDC will certainly facilitate greater socio-economic activity for native title groups as well as assist in closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities,” said Mr Wyatt.
The NNTC also welcomes the recommendation by the Working Group to regulate private agents that are involved in the negotiation of native title agreements.
“The NNTC has been working with the Federal Government to develop some kind of regulatory mechanism that will ensure private agents are subjected to the same rules as Native Title Representative Bodies and Native Title Service Providers, being the organisations that were established under the Native Title Act to represent the interests of native title groups.
“The NNTC believes this along with the other recommendations will ensure that agreements negotiated with the extractive industry will be done in a transparent manner and be negotiated with the best possible interests of Traditional Owners and their communities in mind.
“The NNTC applauds the support of the Working Group’s recommendations and looks forward to working with the Government to explore the benefits and opportunities in introducing an Indigenous Community Development Corporation entity over the coming months,” said Mr Wyatt.
The NNTC is the peak body for native title representative bodies and service providers.