Native Title groups ‘inadequately funded’

Interview by George Vivian for Ngaarda Media

Ngalia man and National Native Title Council chair Kado Muir says lack of funding is forcing Aboriginal people to effectively give up their land.

“They’re actually forcing us as Native Title holders to go out and talk to these people who are trying to take our land and effectively are forcing us to sell our land to those parties. In exchange to participate in this process which is supposed to deliver natural justice.”

Mr Muir is calling for Federal and State Governments to fund native title groups so they can meet their obligations.

He said Native Title Groups often lost cases to prospectors and others in the Native Title Tribunal, because they did not have the resources to get their paperwork in on time.

“The Future Act process is the transaction of taking land away from Native Title holders and giving it to third parties,” he said.

“ Native Title bodies – land councils and the Native Title services – they actually don’t get funded to engage in that process.”

CEO and Gundjitmara Djabwurrung man Jamie Lowe said 60 per cent of PBCs had no adequate funding.

“They need to run the organisation so that takes people, that takes bodies to be able to do,” he said.

“Then there is just bringing the people together, talking about their Native Title rights and responsibilities, decision making on country which they need to make under the Act, responding to the Future Acts under mining agreements et cetera. It is an incredibly honourous task.”

Mr Lowe said they were still in the research stage of the campaign and would be lobbying Governments in coming months.

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