LAST WEEK Commonwealth, State and Territory Native Title Ministers met for the first time since the Rudd Government came into power.
At a broad level, the ministers agreed that a more flexible, less technical approach to native title is needed across the country and that the current backlog of native title claims is unacceptable.
Specifically, the ministers agreed to establish a joint working group on indigenous land settlement which would be charged with developing policy options for progressing broader and regional native title settlements. The group would comprise officers from all jurisdictions.
They also agreed to work proactively to resolve claims within their own jurisdictions with responsibility for specific targets developed in order to monitor progress.
Also discussed was the potential for states and territories to accept financial assistance from the Commonwealth to help with native title compensation.
The ministers agreed to negotiate in good faith on the precise content of such an offer by the Commonwealth, with the Commonwealth scheduled to provide a draft agreement for signature by the end of the 2008/2009 financial year,