The A/CEO of The National Native Title Council (NNTC), Dr Matthew Storey, cautioned stakeholders to consider the Native Title Act reforms in a considered way so as to ensure native title groups are fully able to absorb the impacts of any legislative amendments on their communities.
“Unlike the Minerals Council of Australia, we believe any move to treat some reforms as a priority over others would potentially have the risk of leaving some groups once again frustrated with government processes,” said Dr Storey. “There are many other matters in the reform agenda that are equally important, and the process should be allowed to take its course.”
Similarly, any suggestion to retrospectively validate the granting of mining tenements that have been found invalid due to legislative technicalities should be subject to the processes of the Native Title Act.
“We need to ensure that native title groups are fully aware of the impacts of any proposed reform on their rights and interests,” said Dr Storey. “The NNTC is fully engaged in the reforms and any move to circumvent the current process could have the potential to undermine the native title rights and interests of Traditional Owners across the country.”