In April 2015 the Australian Law Reform Commission published recommendations for Native Title Act amendments. The ALRC found connection requirements for the recognition and scope of native title rights and interests are complex to navigate and variable in their outcomes. Recent legislative proposals to amend the Native Title Act have drawn attention to a perceived lack of progress with these reforms. This presentation will include an update on the reform process, and the likely next steps. It will then focus in on the recommendations for Native Title Act reform to provide:
- it is not necessary that a society, united by acknowledgment of traditional laws and customs, has continued since sovereignty; and succession of native title rights and interests may be recognised; and
- guidance on when inferences may be drawn in the proof of native title.
The presentation will consider what might be involved to effect these two recommendations, and how recent unsuccessful native title claims may have been decided differently were these reforms implemented. As the two areas of reform are suggested as alternatives to each other, the presentation will conclude by assessing which of these proposals would optimally improve access to justice for native title claimants.