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Native Title veterans stick with Tribunal

Native Title veterans stick with Tribunal

The National Native Title Tribunal has welcomed the reappointment of John Catlin as a full-time member and the new appointment of Neville MacPherson on a part-time basis.Catlin’s reappointment…

The National Native Title Tribunal has welcomed the reappointment of John Catlin as a full-time member and the new appointment of Neville MacPherson on a part-time basis.

Catlin’s reappointment for a further five years begins in October, although he has been a full-time member of the Tribunal since 2003. Catlin has served as a high-level officer in a number of government agencies in the past, with responsibility for native title and indigenous land issues, including leading native title policy and negotiations for the Western Australian and Victorian state governments. As the principal advisor on indigenous affairs for Xstrata (formerly Mount Isa Mines) in 2002-03, Catlin gained direct exposure to the Queensland resource industry.

MacPherson’s appointment for five more years begins this month. He has also been a full-time member of the Tribunal since 2003. From 1982 until retirement in 2003, MacPherson worked for the Shell Group in Australia and the UK. From 1993, he was chiefly responsible for native title matters affecting Shell’s operations, which required him to promote, implement and actively participate in alternative dispute resolution activities.

In the 1970s, MacPherson was involved in the first land claim hearing before the Northern Territory Aboriginal Land Commissioner (the McArthur River land claim), and also participated in the negotiation of an agreement with the traditional owners for the development of the Jabiluka mine.

“Both [Catlin] and [MacPherson] bring the benefit of a broad range of skills and experience to the Tribunal and I look forward to their contributions as members of that organisation,” Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said.

The Tribunal plays an integral role in resolving native title issues, as well as educating the Australian community on those issues. Ruddock recently announced details of the government’s reforms to improve the resolution of native title claims, which followed the Native Title Claims Resolution Review. The reforms seek to give the Tribunal additional powers to more effectively mediate native title matters.

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