W&J Traditional Owners Council submission on the Native Title amendment bill

 

7 March 2017

Submission to the Senate Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee re the Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017

“The integrity of our decision making, especially regarding our laws and customs, and our rights to self-determination and to  withhold our consent to the destruction of our country and heritage, are central to our issues with the bill.

The bill would alter the fundamentals of our traditional decision processes. The integrity of Traditional Owner decision making and rights to speak for country must be protected.

Checks and balances are required, as is respect for property rights associated with customary tenure and the right to speak for country. The inalienability of our rights in land must be respected. It is the ground on which we seek to protect our country and heritage from the mass destruction that would ensue from the Carmichael mine.”

To read the submission in full download this document

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The W&J council is profoundly concerned about the rushed introduction of the Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017 (“the bill”) and –

  • the sense of crisis that has been politically generated as a justification for the urgent introduction and passage of the Bill
  • the extremely limited time in which we and other Traditional Owners are given to consider and respond to its proposed measures
  • how the measures contained in the bill would impact our rights directly as Traditional Owners of our lands and waters, and our cultural rights and heritage
  • the consequential uncertainties and injustices for Aboriginal people in similar circumstances across the country, that could flow from this bill being adopted into law

We are deeply concerned about the speed with which these amendments have been pushed forward and passed by the Government through the House of Representatives, with only very limited opportunity to assess them before they are submitted to the Senate for a vote.

We have obtained two pieces of legal advice which are contained herein and form the basis of our submission to the Senate Constitutional and Legal Affairs Committee regarding the bill. Further to these, we note the following …

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