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Native title reform for efficiency

Native title reform for efficiency

It could take 30 years to resolve all Native title claims with the current system, the Attorney-General Robert McClelland said Thursday. While introducing the Native Title Amendment Bill 2009…

It could take 30 years to resolve all Native title claims with the current system, the Attorney-General Robert McClelland said Thursday.

While introducing the Native Title Amendment Bill 2009 into Parliament, McClelland said it was imperative that the native title system be reformed to encourage efficiency.

The Bill will give the Federal Government control of the management of the whole process of Native title claims, with the Federal Government claiming this will ensure negotiated settlements are more effectively identified and progressed - by improving the efficiency and timeliness of mediation.

Under the reform, the Court will be given more power to resolve Native title matters when parties are deadlocked or unwilling to see common ground.

McClelland added that for over 15 years, millions of dollars have been wasted on "unproductive and unnecessary litigation." The process has been so inefficient, said McClelland, that current estimates would suggest it could take 30 years to resolve all claims.

"It's a tragedy to see people dying before their peoples' claims are resolved," he said.

The new legislation would also allow the Court to recognise the way Indigenous communities record traditional laws and customs.

- Angela Priestley

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