Native title is about recognising and protecting Aboriginal people’s country and culture. Under Australian law Native Title Act 1993, Aboriginal people have rights and interests to Country that come from their traditional laws and customs.
Native title rights and interests may include rights to:
- access Country for traditional purposes, like camping or ceremonies
- visit and protect important places and sites
- hunt, fish and gather food or traditional resources like water, wood and ochre
- teach law and custom on Country
Native title cannot take away anyone else’s valid rights, no homes or mining leases will be lost as a result of native title. Where there is a conflict between native title rights and the rights of another person, the rights of the other person will always prevail.
How is native title decided?
Native title is a legal proceeding. Resolving native title is a complex and time-consuming process that involves the recognition of two systems of law;
- The traditional law and custom of Aboriginal people; and
- The Australian common law and statute law.
In order to have native title recognised, the claim group is required to give evidence to show that people have a connection to their land and sea country under the systems of traditional law and custom. ‘Connection’ evidence can include genealogical research, cultural mapping and analysis of laws, customs and language.
What is a native title determination?
A native title determination is a decision by a court that native title does or does not exist in an area. A consent determination can be made if all the parties reach an agreement about native title without going to court.
What is YMAC’s role in native title?
Under the Native Title Act
, YMAC is the Native Title Representative Body for the Yamatji and Pilbara regions. Our native title services for groups incorporate:
- Legal advice and representation
- Anthropological and archaeological research
- Professional support services after native title rights have been determined
- Representation and advice for land use negotiations