The 2018 National Native Title Conference, held 5-7 June in Broome WA, is the first time it has been held in the far north west of Western Australia. This year’s theme, ‘Many Laws: One Land’, acknowledges that at any one place in Australia, different systems of Indigenous and non-Indigenous laws exist and interact.
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) CEO Craig Ritchie said the theme marks 25 years since the passing of the Native Title Act 1993.
“The Act accepted and confirmed the fundamental propositions of the Mabo (No. 2) decision, namely the rejection of the myth that Australia was terra nullius and the recognition of native title rights based on the traditions of the Indigenous people of Australia,” said Mr Ritchie.
“That same year, the AIATSIS Native Title Research Unit was established. It has been actively working for 25 years towards greater recognition and enjoyment of the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with a focus on maximising the recognition of native title through improving knowledge exchange, informing practice and actively engaging in law and policy reform.
“Heading into its nineteenth year, this conference is now the largest Indigenous policy conference in Australia, with over 850 delegates travelling from all parts of Australia as representatives of First Nations, as practitioners, judges, mediators, government and academics, to discuss pertinent issues in the sector.”
The conference also coincides with the Kimberley Land Council’s fortieth anniversary. The KLC was formed in 1978 at Noonkanbah, the site of one of the most significant land rights disputes in Australia’s history.
KLC Acting CEO Tyronne Garstone said the Kimberley Land Council is proud to be bringing the National Native Title Conference to Broome in its fortieth anniversary year.
“Our organisation was formed in 1978 to stand up for the rights of Aboriginal people. Today, 40 years later, Kimberley Aboriginal people still stand together as one mob, with one voice, and we are pleased to say that the Kimberley is now 80 per cent native title determined,” Mr Garstone said.
“We are excited to show all of the conference delegates the Kimberley’s strong Aboriginal culture, heritage and history, and showcase all that Broome and the wider Kimberley region has to offer.”
The conference is hosted by the Yawuru people on their traditional lands in Broome.
CEO of Yawuru Corporate Group Peter Yu said this conference is a major event and it brings people together for dialogue on vital issues affecting native title holders all over the country.
“As traditional owners, native title is key to the maintenance of our culture, land and community, but it’s also important for Australian development,” Mr Yu said.
“Native title holders empower their people and this conference will be a showcase for Broome and the Kimberley’s traditional owners and their activities, ambitions and cultural strength.”
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