Central Land Council Annual Report 2016-2017



Output Group 6 • Native title

OUTPUT GROUP 6 • native title

The Central Land Council aims to provide Aboriginal landowners with information, advice and support to enable them to manage their land in a sustainable and productive way.

Output 6 Native title

Native title

Native title is the legal term used by the Australian High Court to describe the rights and interests that Aboriginal people have over their lands since long before European settlement of Australia. These rights and interests are common law indigenous property rights and were recognised by the High Court in the Mabo judgment of June 1992, and were legislated in 1993. The subsequent High Court’s Wik judgement of December 1996 further determined that native title could co-exist with other rights held under a pastoral lease.

While native title recognises that indigenous people have traditional rights to speak for country, to protect sites and to be consulted regarding developments on their land, it does not give indigenous people ownership of land as the Land Rights Act does.

The CLC’s native title program

In 1994 the CLC became a recognised native title representative body for Central Australia under s.203 of the Native Title Act 1993. In that capacity, the CLC has statutory functions to facilitate and assist native title holders to make native title applications (NTA), respond to proposed future Acts and negotiate agreements, resolve disputes between groups, and assist prescribed bodies corporate (PBC) to manage and protect native title rights and interests. In 2016, the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs granted the CLC re-recognition as a native title representative body for a maximum of two years to June 2018.

During 2016–17, the CLC continued to certify NTAs for determination and applications for registration for indigenous land use agreements (ILUAs) in a timely manner. Native title determination and ILUA applications are presented to the council or the CLC executive before going to the National Native Title Tribunal for registration.

The CLC has a multidisciplinary team of 20 native title–funded positions and engaged 17 consultants on native title matters.

Dorothy Ross at the Aileron and Nolan Bore native title consent determinations.

Dorothy Ross at the Aileron and Nolan Bore native title consent determinations.

Justice Griffith with Eric Penangke, Dorothy Ross and Doris Napangardi at the Aileron and Nolan Bore native title consent determination in April 2017.

Justice Griffith with Eric Penangke, Dorothy Ross and Doris Napangardi at the Aileron and Nolan Bore native title consent determination in April 2017.

National Native Title Council

The CLC has been a member of the National Native Title Council since its inception in 2005 and contributed to the council’s submissions, and discussions and representations to government on matters of national importance. The CLC attended consultative fora on amendments to the Native Title Act and the tribunal’s PBC support forum.

Native title consent determinations

Nolan Bore and Aileron

On 6 April 2017, the Federal Court sat at Pretty Camp Dam on Aileron Station, approximately 125 kilometres north of Alice Springs. At the sitting Justice Griffiths handed down a determination by consent of non-exclusive native title of 4,210 square kilometres comprising all of Aileron Station plus the Nolan Bore mineral lease which covers the northwestern portion of the station and southwestern portion of Pine Hill Station. The determination recognised the rights and interests of the Central and Eastern Anmatyerr and northern Arrernte native title holders – a total of seven separate landholding groups – to access, hunt, gather and fish on these lands and waters, to use their resources, and to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies in the area. The native title holders’ rights will co-exist with the rights of the pastoral leaseholders who will continue to operate Aileron Station.

The original NTA for the Nolan Bore mineral lease was filed with the Federal Court in December 2007, and the application for Aileron Station was filed in March 2014. The CLC lodged the applications because of possible future acts resulting from mining exploration licence applications that raised concerns over the protection of sites and areas of cultural significance to the Alhankerr, Atwel/Alkwepetye, Ilkewarn, Kwaty, Tywerl, Mpweringke and Ntyerlkem/Urapentye landholding groups on Aileron Station and the Nolan Bore mineral lease. The native title holders instructed the CLC to lodge NTAs, as they were anxious to protect their cultural areas and have a say over exploration on their traditional country.

The Irretyepwenty Ywentent Pwert Aboriginal Corporation will hold the native title rights and interests for Aileron Station, and the Kwaty Aboriginal Corporation will hold the native title rights and interests for the Nolan Bore mineral lease; both corporations registered as native title body corporates on 17 March 2017.

Mount Riddock

On 7 April 2017, Justice Griffiths handed down a determination by consent at a special sitting of the Federal Court at Harts Range Racecourse. The determination area comprised the whole of Mount Riddock Station, approximately 2,700 square kilometres, and recognised the native title rights and interests of the Eastern Arrernte native title holders to access, hunt, gather and fish on the land and waters, to use its resources, and to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies in the determination area.

The court’s determination recognised the Akerte, Atwele, Irrelerre, Ulpmerre and Warrtharre landholding groups’ non-exclusive native title rights and interests, which will co-exist with the rights of the pastoral leaseholder.

The Tywele Aboriginal Corporation will hold the native title rights and interests for the area; the corporation registered as a native title body corporate on 17 May 2017.

Eileen Hoosan and Justice Reeves at Victory Downs.

Eileen Hoosan and Justice Reeves at Victory Downs.

Yilpi Lewis, Keiran Roberts, Kathy Maringka, Renita Stanley, Eileen Hoosan, Amos Frank, Tjulapi (Alison) Carroll and (back) Robert Doolan, David Doolan and Carl Roberts celebrate at Victory Downs in May 2017.

Yilpi Lewis, Keiran Roberts, Kathy Maringka, Renita Stanley, Eileen Hoosan, Amos Frank, Tjulapi (Alison) Carroll and (back) Robert Doolan, David Doolan and Carl Roberts celebrate at Victory Downs in May 2017.

Victory Downs, Mount Cavenagh, Umbeara and Mulga Park

On 4 May 2017, the Federal Court sat at Victory Downs Station, where Justice Reeves handed down a non-exclusive native title consent determination over Victory Downs, Mount Cavenagh, Umbeara and Mulga Park stations. The determination area, comprising approximately 12,500 square kilometres, recognises the native title rights and interests of the Yankunytjatjara and Matutjara speakers.

The determination recognised the native title holders’ rights and interests to access, hunt, gather and fish on the land and waters, to use its resources, and to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies in the determination area. The native title rights will co-exist with the rights of the pastoral leaseholders.

The NTA was filed in 2015 as the result of mining exploration licence applications and activities on and near the claim area which raised concerns about the protection of significant places in the area. The claim is the first NTA lodged in the NT’s south and is the second largest area in the CLC region to receive native title recognition.

The Yankunytjara Matutjara Aboriginal Corporation will hold the native title rights and interests for the area; the corporation registered as a native title body corporate on 18 May 2017.

Justice Griffith hands the Mount Riddock native title consent determination to traditional owners Frederick Mulladad and Stanislau ‘Shorty’ Mulladad in April 2017.

Justice Griffith hands the Mount Riddock native title consent determination to traditional owners Frederick Mulladad and Stanislau ‘Shorty’ Mulladad in April 2017.

Compensation applications

Where possible the CLC seeks to deal with compensation matters by negotiation. When deemed appropriate and instructed by native title holders, the CLC seeks to secure compensation for acts resulting in the extinguishment or impairment of native title rights and interests. The CLC lodged no new native title compensation applications.

Claimant applications

The CLC pursues native title determinations that will achieve recognition and protection of native title rights and deliver outcomes that the native title holders seek. At 30 June 2017 it had five active native title claimant applications registered with the tribunal. It undertook 36 meetings and consultations relating to native title applications and made significant progress in anthropological research, preparation, and delivery of consent determination reports.

The CLC completed nine native title holder identifications in preparation for meetings where the native title holders considered exploration licence applications and exploration permit applications, and other native title activities. In gave advice and logistical assistance at meetings that assisted the reporting of the validity of native title holder instructions.

Peta Braedon, MK Turner and Josie Douglas attended the Mount Riddock native title consent determination in April 2017.

Peta Braedon, MK Turner and Josie Douglas attended the Mount Riddock native title consent determination in April 2017.

Table 20. Claimant application progress

Anthropological reports completed

Research or assistance

Anthropological research commenced or progressed

• Tennant Creek Station

• Jinka/Jervois Station

• Maryvale Station

• Phillip Creek Station

• Pine Hill Station (west)

• Andado/New Crown Station

• Maryvale Station

• Tennant Creek Station

• Phillip Creek Station

• Pine Hill (west) Station

• Simpson Desert

• Anningie Station

• Karinga Lakes (Curtin Springs, Lyndervale and Erldunda)

• Ambalindum/The Garden Station

• Mount Skinner/Woodgreen Station

Table 21. New applications to the NNTT, 2016–17

Application

Date filed

Date registered with NNTT

Pine Hill (west) Station (NTD44/2016)

31 August 2016

2 June 2017

Henbury Station (NTD47/2016)

6 September 2016

9 December 2016

Wave Hill Station (NTD62/2016)

25 November 2016

2 March 2017

Limbunya Station (NTD1/2017)

19 January 2017

4 May 2017

New applications

Applications lodged with the National Native Title Tribunal are listed in Table 21.

Finalised applications

Applications finalised by the National Native Title Tribunal are listed in Table 22.

Table 22. Applications finalised by the NNTT, 2016–17

Application

Date determination handed down by NNTT

Aileron (Nolan Bore) (NTD20/2007) and Aileron (whole of lease) (NTD8/2014)

5 April 2017

Mount Riddock (NTD6/2013)

6 April 2017

Mount Cavenagh/Victory Downs (NTD20/2015)

4 May 2017

Current applications

The anthropological reports and material in respect of Tennant Creek Station, Jinka/Jervois Station, Maryvale Station, Phillip Creek Station and Pine Hill (west) Station were finalised and lodged with the NT Government. Anthropological research commenced or progressed on Simpson Desert, Anningie Station, Karinga Lakes (Curtin Springs, Lyndervale and Erldunda), Ambalindum/The Garden Station and Mount Skinner/Woodgreen Station.

The CLC received provisional consent for an NTA over Rainbow Valley National Park and tenure history from the NT Government, with consent to file the NTA granted in May 2017.

Table 23 summarises the current applications lodged with the NNTT.

New Crown/Andado (NTD20/2014)

To progress native title claims in its southern region, the CLC has documented expressions of interest from the area’s traditional owners since 2007. In 2008 it commissioned a scoping study to assess the needs of, factors affecting, and viability of potential claims in that region and received the consultant’s report in 2009. The report identified traditional owners’ concerns over site protection, impacts of exploration and mining, and the perception that recognition of native title over pastoral leases improves access to country. Having considered the recommendations of the study, the CLC has progressed two claims in its southern region: a combined NTA over New Crown and Andado stations and a combined NTA over Mount Cavenagh and Victory Downs stations. The claim area borders South Australia, and claimants are widely dispersed in the cross-border region. Extensive field research commenced in 2010–11. The NTA was filed on 24 June 2014.

The CLC amended the NTA following a decision not to pursue exclusive possession (s.47B) because of issues within the claim area. The NT Government requested further information, which the CLC sought from experts and is currently reviewing.

Justice Reeves, Reggie Kenny, Margaret (Kenny) Orr, Mary Le Rossignol, Julia Kenny, Peter Kenny and Dennis Kenny at Victory Downs Station.

Justice Reeves, Reggie Kenny, Margaret (Kenny) Orr, Mary Le Rossignol, Julia Kenny, Peter Kenny and Dennis Kenny at Victory Downs Station.

Table 23. Applications lodged with the NNTT, 2016–17

Application

Date filed

Date registered with NNTT

Issues

New Crown/Andado (NTD20/2014)

24 June 2014

Under review (see below for more information)

Phillip Creek (NTD50/2014)

28 November 2014

23 February 2015

A determination by consent expected on 3 August 2017 (see below for more information)

Maryvale (NTD35/2015)

24 June 2015

9 September 2015

NTA was amended due to an error in the description of the claim area. Following further research and amendments, the application was re-authorised in March 2017.

Henbury (NTD47/2016)

6 September 2016

9 December 2016

Pine Hill (west) (NTD44/2016)

31 August 2016

2 June 2017

A delay in the registration process due to an error in the description of the claim area.

Wave Hill (NTD62/2016)

25 November 2016

2 March 2017

Limbunya (NTD1/2017)

19 January 2017

4 May 2017

Phillip Creek (NTD50/2014)

The CLC filed an application on 28 November 2014 and registered it with the tribunal on 23 February 2015. It completed a summary anthropological report and served it on respondents, with the NT Government requesting further information. The application required amendment because of the death of a named applicant.

The Federal Court is expected to hand down a determination by consent on 3 August 2017.

Future acts

Mining future acts are the largest driver of the CLC’s native title work program. The number of exploration tenements notified under s.29 of the Native Title Act has fluctuated considerably over recent years, and the CLC needs instructions from native title holders to respond to these notifications in a timely manner.

Administration of future acts, as defined by the Native Title Act, is ongoing and a high priority for the CLC. During this period, all reasonable steps were undertaken to notify native title holders and claimants on future acts affecting their native title rights and interests. The CLC monitors the media daily and maintains a register of applications. It informs all applicants about the native title process and its preference for a negotiated agreement.

Mining and exploration future acts

All applications for exploration licences within the NT include a statement from the NT Government that the grant attracts the ‘expedited procedures’ as laid out in the legislation. This determines a strict time limit set by the Native Title Act. The CLC responded to 64 notifications under s.29 of the Act of which 43 were exploration licence applications and 21 were mineral authority applications. It assessed each notification for its potential impact on the exercise of native title rights and interests.

There were 28 future act mining and exploration related field trips, meetings and consultations with affected native title holders. In other instances, existing instructions adequately dealt with the application. Contact with the applicant is required at some stage of all notifications; however, an ongoing difficulty is determining whether an application is a genuine exploration proposal or the development of saleable property.

Mining and exploration agreements

Table 24. Native title exploration and mining matters and decisions in respect of the allocation of compensation to native title holders flowing from agreements, 2016–17

Exploration agreements

0

Deeds of assumption

1

Distribution of compensation monies

10

Miscellaneous

1

Total

12

Non-mining future acts

The CLC undertook 15 field trips, consultations, instruction meetings, and activities related to non-mining future acts.

It received notification and commenced consultations on a major project relating to the construction, operation, and maintenance of a pipeline to transport gas to eastern Australia. The proposed route includes land over which native title applications are lodged or research undertaken, vacant crown land, Aboriginal freehold land and land held for private interests. The CLC consulted with native title holders and traditional owners and represented their views and concerns about the proposal. It negotiated an ILUA that protects native title holder rights and interests, provides compensation and enables the construction, operation, and maintenance of the pipeline.

As part of anthropological fieldwork to support the native title application for Anningie Station, women and children dig white ochre at a quarry at Kaljiparnta in July 2016.

As part of anthropological fieldwork to support the native title application for Anningie Station, women and children dig white ochre at a quarry at Kaljiparnta in July 2016.

Indigenous land use agreements

The CLC has implemented a clear strategy to secure beneficial outcomes for native title holders through negotiated ILUAs and other agreements, including good faith agreements under s.31 of the Native Title Act. The CLC currently has 79 ILUAs registered with the tribunal.

It finalised and registered two ILUAs, and entered into negotiations in relation to a further three ILUAs which will be registered in the next reporting period.

Post-determination assistance

Table 25. Assistance delivered to Aboriginal corporations

Aboriginal corporation

Type of assistance from the CLC

Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation (Alice Springs PBC)

Participated in discussions and meetings with the corporation, including the administration of a $50,000 grant from PM&C under the basic PBC support program for operational expenses.

Ilperrelhelam Aboriginal Corporation (Lake Nash and Georgina Downs Station)

Assisted to hold a general meeting, and provided information and advice on a proposal from the NT Government to establish a bore field and construct a power line to service the Alpurrurulam community and the Lake Nash homestead.

Presented information on a service agreement outlining an arrangement between the CLC and the corporation at a directors’ meeting. The directors agreed to the service agreement.

Gurindji Aboriginal Corporation (Kalkaringi township)

Administered a grant of $50,000 from PM&C to the corporation under the basic PBC support program for operational expenses.

Kaytetye Alyawarr Awenyerraperte Ingkerr-wenh Aboriginal Corporation (Sandover)

Facilitated a liaison meeting between affected native title holders, corporation members, and company staff, at which an update on exploration licences was received and plans for proposed future works presented.

Assisted with the corporation’s AGM and with lodgement of the general report. At the AGM, presented information on a service agreement between the CLC and the corporation. The members agreed to the service agreement.

Mitata Aboriginal Corporation (Kurundi)

Assisted to hold the corporation’s AGM and lodge its general report. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the AGM was postponed.

Iytwelepwenty Aboriginal Corporation (Davenport Range National Park)

Assisted to hold the corporation’s AGM and lodge its general report. Due to unforeseen circumstances the AGM was postponed.

Mpwerempwer Aboriginal Corporation (Singleton)

Consulted on an NT Government proposal to carry out soil testing. Site protection instructions were received and the CLC provided instructions to the government.

Ngalyia Aboriginal Corporation (Mount Doreen)

Conducted several consultations on the construction and installation of an optic fibre cable network through Mount Doreen Station. The CLC obtained instructions, provided a work area clearance, and assisted native title holders monitor the installation.

Assisted to hold the corporation’s AGM. Due to unforeseen circumstances the AGM was postponed.

Presented information on a service agreement between the CLC and the corporation at a directors’ meeting. The directors agreed to the service agreement.

Kaytetye Tywerate Arenge Aboriginal Corporation (Neutral Junction)

Assisted to hold the corporation’s AGM and presented information on a service agreement between the CLC and the corporation. The members agreed to the service agreement.

Eynewantheyne Aboriginal Corporation, (Neutral Junction/Stirling)

Updated affected native title holders on exploration licences and informed them about plans for proposed future works.

Assisted at a directors’ meeting where the CLC presented information on a service agreement between the CLC and the corporation. The directors agreed to the service agrement.

Ilkewartn Ywel Aboriginal Corporation (Pine Hill East)

Assisted at the corporation’s AGM and presented information on a service agreement between the CLC and the corporation. The members agreed to the service agreement.

Akwerrperl Aboriginal Corporation (Bushy Park)

Assisted with the corporation’s AGM and presented information on a service agreement between the CLC and the corporation. The members agreed to the service agreement.

Irretyepwenty Ywentent Pwert Aboriginal Corporation (Aileron)

Assisted at the corporation’s AGM and presented information on a service agreement between the CLC and the corporation. The members agreed to the service agreement.

Kwaty Aboriginal Corporation (Nolan Bore/Aileron)

Assisted at a directors’ meeting and presented information on a service agreement between the CLC and the corporation. The directors agreed to the service agreement.

Mount Denison Aboriginal Corporation (Mount Denison)

Helped hold corporation’s AGM and lodge its general report. The scheduled AGM was postponed due to unforeseen circumstances.

Responded to a request from members to assist at a directors’ meeting. At the meeting, it presented information on a service agreement between the CLC and the corporation. The directors agreed to the service agreement.

Alherramp Illewerr Mamp Arrangkey Tywerl Aboriginal Corporation (Napperby)

Assisted to hold the corporation’s AGM and presented information on a service agreement between the CLC and the corporation. The members agreed to the service agreement.

Yankunytjara Matutjara Aboriginal Corporation (Victory Downs, Mount Cavenagh, Umbeara, Mulga Park)

Assisted to hold the corporation’s AGM and a directors’ meeting. At the meetings, it presented information on a service agreement between the CLC and the corporation. The directors agreed to the service agreement.

Yankanjini Aboriginal Corporation (Newhaven)

Assisted to hold the corporation’s AGM and lodge its general report. The scheduled AGM was postponed several times due to unforeseen circumstances.

Assisted with the consultation and issuing of a sacred site clearance certificate for the construction of a fence line, and to negotiate an ILUA with the leaseholder to incorporate current and future works.

Ooratippra Aboriginal Corporation (Ooratippra)

Consulted and negotiated amendments to the sublease over Ooratippra Station.

Assisted to hold the corporation’s AGM and lodge its general report. At the AGM it presented information on a service agreement between the CLC and the corporation. The directors agreed to the service agreement.

Dispute resolution

There have been no major disputes relating to overlapping native title claims in the CLC region. In anticipation of future disputes, the CLC gave eight staff the opportunity to develop negotiation and mediation skills.

Alternative procedure agreements

The CLC did not enter into alternative procedure agreements during this period.

Body corporate agreements

The CLC did not enter into body corporate agreements.

Back to top