Review To Assist Traditional Owner Groups

The Andrews Labor Government is working to improve the process for Traditional Owner groups seeking to negotiate native title claims.

Barrister and member of the Yuin people, Tim Goodwin, has been appointed to review the threshold stage under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010.

The threshold stage requires Traditional Owner groups to demonstrate their traditional and cultural association to country, and their ability to negotiate and enter into agreements under the Act.

The Act allows the Victorian Government and Traditional Owner groups to agree to out-of-court native title settlements, avoiding costly court processes while still achieving a final and comprehensive settlement of the State’s compensation liabilities.

The review, which starts today, will assess the threshold stage process and make findings about:

  • how well it is understood
  • the way it has been used by parties
  • results to date and key causes of delays
  • whether it is suitable for achieving intended outcomes.

As part of the review, Mr Goodwin will interview Traditional Owners and professionals with experience of the threshold process.

Mr Goodwin’s report will be delivered by the end of October, and include recommendations for updating and improving the process.

Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula

“This review is about ensuring the process for seeking to negotiate native title claims is clear and fair for those involved.”

“The threshold stage is pivotal for ensuring that the Government enters into negotiations with the respective Traditional Owners.”

“The review will recommend improvements and streamline the process so Traditional Owners can continue to care for and look after their traditional lands, just like they have done for many thousands of years”.