In May 2015, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda and the then Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson co-convened an Indigenous Leaders Roundtable on economic development and property rights on Yawuru country in Broome, Western Australia (Broome Roundtable).
The purpose of the Broome Roundtable was to identify options to address challenges to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples creating economic development opportunities on the Indigenous Estate, particularly due to barriers that prevent the leveraging of the rights and interests (including communal, inalienable rights under native title and through state/territory land rights schemes).
Broome Roundtable outcomes
Participants at the Broome Roundtable called for dialogue about five sets of issues to better enable economic development within the Indigenous Estate:
- Fungibility and native title – enabling communities to build on their underlying communal title to create opportunities for economic development.
- Business development support and succession planning – ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have the governance, risk management skills and capacity to successfully engage in business and manage their estates.
- Financing economic development within the Indigenous estate – developing financial products, such as bonds, to underwrite economic development through engaging the financial services sector and organisations including the Indigenous Land Corporation and Indigenous Business Australia.
- Compensation – rectifying the existing unfair processes of compensation for extinguishment of native title and considering how addressing unfinished business could leverage economic development opportunities.
- Promoting Indigenous peoples right to development – promoting opportunities for development on Indigenous land including identifying options to provide greater access to resources on the Indigenous Estate.
Participants at the Broome Roundtable called for the Commission to lead and facilitate an on-going dialogue on these issues.
Download the Communique from the Broome Roundtable at:
Aims and objectives
Building on the outcomes of the Broome Roundtable, the Indigenous Property Rights Project seeks to facilitate a national dialogue between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and government/s about ways to leverage the economic potential of the Indigenous Estate. It provides a forum for Indigenous peoples to develop and lead policy and propose legislative reforms in the areas of native title, land and water rights, and environment and cultural rights.
The Project aims to:
- understand the opportunities and challenges for economic development of the Indigenous Estate, building on the work of other Indigenous property rights related processes
- facilitate dialogue that considers development of legislative and policy reform affecting the Indigenous Estate, led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- facilitate engagement between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, government/s, industry and other stakeholders that recognises development on Indigenous land and waters will only be successful and sustainable where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are provided with the opportunity to:
- be partners in development
- give their free, prior and informed consent
- benefit economically and socially from the development.
The Commission is convening Roundtables to facilitate a new dialogue between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the government about Indigenous property rights and economic development.
The Schedule of Roundtables are:
- 31 March 2016: The Indigenous Estate – the commercial and social potential of rights and interests in lands and waters, Canberra.
- 17-18 May 2016: Indigenous Banking and Finance Forum, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland.
- 1-3 June 2016: Workshop on Tenure, Business and Benefit Sharing – held as part of the AIATSIS National Native Title Conference in Darwin, Northern Territory.
- 29 July – 1 August 2016: Land, Business and Governance – held as part of the Garma Festival in Gulkula, Northern Territory.
It is proposed that further Roundtables will take place in 2017.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner reports annually on the operation of the Native Title Act and the effect of the Act on the exercise and enjoyment of human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Social Justice and Native Title Report 2016 will publish the outcomes of the Project and recommendations for future policy and legislative reform.