A future act is a proposed activity that will affect native title rights and interests. “Future acts” include activities affecting native title rights and interests such as mining and exploration, fishing, tourism, other developments, and some legislative changes. Western Australia’s resource boom has resulted in high volumes of future act work on Yamatji and Marlpa Country.
Registered native title claimants and registered native title bodies corporate (RNTBCs, also referred to as Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBCs)) have several rights under the Native Title Act 1993 (NTA) often referred to as “procedural rights”. These procedural rights include the right to be notified and consulted about development decisions on Country. Generally, native title parties have the “right to negotiate” in relation to the proposed grant of mining leases.
YMAC’s Legal Unit provides legal representation and other professional services to assist native title groups with their future act negotiations.
Expedited Procedure Objections and Inquiries
The “expedited procedure” or “fast track” procedure applies if the grant of the future act is not likely to:
(a) interfere directly with the carrying on of the community and social activities of the Native Title Party;
(b) interfere with areas or sites of particular significance to the Native Title Party; or
(c) involve major disturbance to any land or waters concerned.
The State of Western Australia generally asserts that the “expedited procedure” should apply to all exploration and prospecting licence applications. In these circumstances, the exploration or prospecting licence may be granted without triggering the right to negotiate process unless a native title party lodges an objection within 4 months of the notification day.
Native Title Parties are required to provide evidence to the NNTT, the State, and Proponent in support of the objection (these are called “evidence and statement of contentions”) in accordance with the timeframes set by the NNTT (these are called “Directions”).
Native Title Parties may also resolve their objections by reaching heritage and land access agreements that adequately protect Country and promote culturally appropriate land access and use.
If you have a future act enquiry or would like more information, please contact us.