Private Indigenous land use agreements
There are 3 types of agreements:
- body corporate agreements (where there is a registered native title holder for the area)
- area agreements (where there is no determined holder, but there are claimants)
- alternative procedure agreement (for large-scale areas).
Before starting negotiations, parties should:
- check whether they've identified everyone who must be a party to the agreement
- understand the requirements for registering an agreement
- check whether parties have realistic expectations of what they can achieve through the agreement
- determine a realistic time frame for negotiating the agreement.
As the applicant, you're responsible for addressing the advertising requirements and organising negotiation meetings for an agreement process.
You can commence negotiations at any time; you don't need to initiate the process through us.
The Queensland Government is not a party to the agreement and has no involvement with the negotiation process. However, you must update us on the progress of your agreement negotiations every month.
There is no time limit on agreement negotiations and no process available to finalise the agreement. Therefore, there is no guaranteed outcome. If parties cannot reach an agreement, they may undertake further negotiations, use the right-to-negotiate process or abandon the authority application altogether.
You may seek assistance from the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) to reach an agreement, but its role in the agreement process is discretionary rather than mandatory.
The time frame for creating an agreement depends on how engaged and committed all parties are. For most private agreements, it takes 12–18 months to lodge an agreement with the NNTT and a further 6 months to register it.
As there is no opportunity to refer the matter to the NNTT, some agreement applicants initiate a right-to-negotiate process while aiming to achieve an agreement as the final outcome for negotiations. Read about the right-to-negotiate process.
Registering an agreement
Once native title parties authorise an agreement and all parties sign it, you can lodge it with the NNTT for registration.
Registration may take up to 6 months, including a 3-month notification period. After you register the agreement, you may proceed with the agreed future acts.
A registered agreement has the same status as a legal contract. It binds all native title parties to the agreement terms, including those who may not have been identified when the agreement was made.