Native title and Aboriginal cultural sensitivity

Native title is the recognition of rights and interests over land or waters where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups have historic connections via practicing traditional laws and customs, prior to the British settlement of Australia in 1788.

Native title can only be claimed over Crown Land which means that for most farmers, Native Title will have little to no effect on their properties and farming operations.  However, Native Title can have an impact on farmers who operate under Crown Land Licences of Crown Land Leases.

However, In contrast to Native title, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander areas of cultural heritage sensitivity can be protected on Private Property via the use of a Cultural Heritage Management Plan. These plans seek to protect matters of aboriginal cultural heritage significance where ‘high impact activity’ is planned over the area of significance. Examples of a high impact activity are as follows (but not limited to):

  • Construction of certain dwellings;
  • Subdivisions (including consolidation of titles);
  • Certain earthworks;
  • Constructions of roads;
  • Constriction of certain infrastructure (eg drains, dams etc).

Such plans are usually required before a council (or other authority such as the EPA) will issue a permit for the high impact activity.

How can Coulter Legal help?

Our Agribusiness and Property teams have significant experience in advising clients on Native title related issues and can assist farmers with any Native title related enquiries.  Our team has further experience in advising clients on Cultural Heritage Management Plans and assisting clients with obtaining same when applying for various permits and works authorities.

Get in touch with us today

If your require any further information please contact our Agri Business team

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or call us on 03 5273 5273