views | Scope
of the issues | Queensland government &
native title |
On-line research |
The Native Title and
Protected Areas project acknowledges and accommodates indigenous
peoples' views. The project is committed to gaining a proper
appreciation of the indigenous perspective on matters pertaining
to protected areas, environmental management, native title and other
indigenous rights and interests. Interests includes cultural, social
The project is also
a sign of the commitment many ENGOs have to working cooperatively
amongst themselves and with native title representative bodies,
aboriginal agencies and traditional owners to resolve these important
and complex matters.
The project is seeking
to deal with several factors:
~ the changes to environmental
practices flowing from the statutory recognition of native title
and from the legal principles and interpretations found in the native
title rulings of the High Court and the Federal Court
~ the traditional law
of the first peoples of Australia and its application to environmental
~ the need to understand
the contemporary perspective of indigenous people as they seek to
resolve a range of issues confronting them.
Many difficulties have
arisen from the impacts on aboriginal land and people as a result
of the arrival and expansion of the non-aboriginal population. These
impacts have also taken a massive toll on the Australian environment.
of the issues
Research by the project
identified issues as falling within the following six main policy
Native title and
other indigenous rights
- the Protection of Biological Diversity and Natural and Cultural
Tenure of national
parks and other protected areas
in protected areas
for resolution of rights and management issues
management – legislative, institutional and community
These six main areas
scope of the issues to be covered
in a comprehensive ENGO position on native title and protected areas.
The first two areas deal with "first principles". The
next two areas deal with the major implications of native title
rights and indigenous interests for protected area tenure and management.
The last two areas deal with the reform agenda necessary to a response
to native title and protected areas issues - a response consistent
with a policy of developing cooperation.
government and native title
The Queensland Government
under Premier Beattie has a policy of negotiation over litigation
in resolving the complex array of issues associated with native
title. The Premier and Cabinet set up
Title Services to develop the Government's negotiated responses
to native title matters. Building
file) is a document outlining the major native title issues
in Queensland and setting out the protocols of negotiation between
the Government and the Queensland Indigenous Working Group.
The Government's main
stated policy aim is to resolve native title issues through negotiation
with indigenous representatives, rather than by opposing them in
the courts - 'negotiate, don't litigate'..
A review of legislation
relating to the tenure and management for existing and future protected
areas, including National Parks, has been proceeding since the early
days of the Beattie Government.
Three-quarters of the
existing protected area estate in Queensland is subject to native
title. Indigenous traditional owners may claim the right to a partnership
with the Government in the management of protected areas. Consequently,
a more conciliatory and cooperation-based outcome, rather then a
unilateral exercise of power by the State, is required. This is
the ‘historical compromise’ of native title that is at the basis
of what is now often called 'joint management'.
A further dimension
to the native title and protected area debate involves new National
Parks or other protected areas over public lands. The issues of
continuing dispossession and cultural impact are brought to the
forefront. Progress on new protected areas may stall, or be unduly
prolonged, because tenure and management issues remain unresolved
and unsupported by legislation. State
reform is required.
The Beattie Government
set out to develop a State-wide consistent policy framework in which
a complex set of indigenous rights and environment protection matters
could be worked out through negotiation. This is an important initiative
that has not been attempted elsewhere in Australia. The Government
remains tentative on these issues and it is still unclear whether
it's stated policy of negotiation and building reconciliation can
be achieved. Clearly this approach requires a significant degree
of cooperation and community support. Alternatively, matters will
be tested through the courts before further development.
The project has submitted
to the Minister for the Environment an assessment
of the legal principles and issues between the State and traditional
owners as they relate to protected areas.
There are extensive
research resources available on-line covering topics considered
in this policy project. Topics include native title, indigenous
rights and interests, cultural heritage, conservation, environmental
management and protected areas, Government agencies, indigenous
and community groups. For a brief review of, and a complete list
of links to, a range of sites go to this site's on-line
research resources. This web site
aims to supplement these available research resources. You can submit
links to other sites for inclusion on this site by e-mailing the