The Commonwealth Attorney-General has signaled the need for developing innovative policy options for progressing broader and/or regional land settlements that complement the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) and the work of the Federal Court of Australia. It established a Joint Working Group on Indigenous Land Settlements to report at the 2009 Native Title Minister’s Meeting. This project aimed to address the objectives of:
- developing principles or best practice models to support flexible non-technical approaches to settling native title claims;
- developing appropriate minimum threshold for proof of connection in broader/alternative land settlements;
- developing understanding of the notion of ‘right people for country’ for broader/alternative land settlements;
- analysing the frameworks developed in Victoria and other state government policies;
- examining the implementation of broader land settlements such as Yalanji and Gunditjmara and sharing lessons learned about ways to ensure the delivery of practical, sustainable benefits through native title settlements;
- developing initiatives to overcome impediments to the resolution of native title matters, including the resolution of overlapping claims; and
- analysing native title compensation issues within the context of broader land settlements.
The project was intended to involve a series of workshops and conference sessions, beginning with an examination of appropriate connection approaches for southern Australia.
The project involved the production of an annotated bibliography of existing research materials concerning broader/regional agreements and agreement-making.