Indigenous land use agreements

The Native Title Act 1993 enables mining or exploration authority applicants and registered and determined native title parties to make Indigenous land use agreements about how land and waters in the agreement area will be used and managed in the future.

Agreements can incorporate many future acts and larger scale operations, rather than just single tenements.

We strongly support agreements as they enable parties to resolve native title requirements through negotiation rather than costly and time-consuming litigation.

Indigenous land use agreements are very flexible and can cover a broad range of considerations. While there are no restrictions, agreements may include:

  • monetary compensation (lump sum, distributed or royalties)
  • employment and training provisions
  • cultural heritage components
  • contracting opportunities
  • environmental preservation and rehabilitation.

The important clauses are those that provide the native title party's consent to possible future acts. These clauses need to be worded carefully to ensure they capture the native title party's consent.

We recommend that all parties seek legal advice regarding proposed agreement terms and conditions.

A registered agreement has the same status as a legal contract. It binds all parties to the agreement terms, including native title parties who may not have been identified when the agreement was made. This provision gives all parties certainty and security.

This guide covers the different types of agreements that might be relevant for your application.