Native Title Reforms: Options Paper

29 November 2017

An options paper has been released for public comment on broad ranging reforms to the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), which can be viewed here.

The options for reform relate to:

  • validating past section 31 native title agreements and changing the requirements concerning applicants being party to and executing these agreements
  • changing the manner in which applicants are authorised and clarifying their functions and duties
  • establishing alternative native title agreement making processes that do not require broader group consultation
  • enabling registered Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) to have minor changes made that do not require re-authorisation and registration
  • making minor changes to native title processes to streamline decision-making and future acts (e.g. removing the State as a compulsory party to agreements, removing the requirement for prescribed bodies corporate (PBCs) to consult with land councils, removing compensation requirements from ILUAs)
  • enabling native title parties to choose decision-making processes rather than being compelled to use traditional decision-making
  • securing regulatory oversight of PBCs by ORIC for compliance with PBC regulations and the management and use of native title compensation monies, including through external trusts
  • establishing dispute resolution processes through the National Native Title Tribunal and limiting the hearing of matters under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth) to the Federal Court of Australia.

Submissions on the options paper are due on 25 January 2018 by emailing them to

Public consultations will also occur through targeted discussions with native title stakeholders and the engagement of an expert advisory panel to formulate amendment proposals.

An exposure draft amendment bill will be released for comment in around March 2018.

If you would like assistance with preparing a submission or advice on the implications of the reforms for your organisation, please contact Maria Lamattina.