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Has the project area got a Native Title claim or determination over it?

Australia-wide

Currently, Native Title - a legal recognition of First Nations rights over an area - covers nearly half of Australia’s land mass (as of 2023). A further 12% of land is being assessed for Native Title.

When a Native Title determination specifies ‘exclusive’ rights, it means the First Nations group has exclusive ownership and control over the area in question, excluding all others, including government authorities and non-Indigenous individuals or entities.

'Non-exclusive' Native Title grants First Nations groups shared rights and interests in land without exclusive control. It can grant Native Title holders the right to local cultural practices, such as the right to live in the area, hunt, fish, gather food or teach law and custom on country.

If there is a registered native title claim over land, it is necessary to follow the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) processes, whether or not native title is ultimately found to exist.

The National Native Title Tribunal has developed Native Title Vision - a free online interactive map showing Native Title Determinations, Determined Outcomes, Indigenous Land Use Agreements, Applications (RNTC and Schedule), Section 31 Agreements, and Representative Aboriginal/Torres Strait Island Body (RATSIB) Areas. 

Let me explore the map

 

States and Territories

Northern Territory

Approximately 50% of the terrestrial area and 85% of the Northern Territory's coastline (as of 2023) is Aboriginal freehold land held under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth) (Land Rights Act).

There have also been a number of determinations of native title, and native title rights and interests exist over an additional 25% of the Northern Territory. A further 3.9% of the Northern Territory is covered by registered native title claims.

Land rights and native title rights and interests could extend over 80% of the Northern Territory when the claims process is completed.

See the NT map

 

Queensland

Native title has been determined to exist across approximately one third of Queensland (as of 2023), and around 6.23 million hectares is owned by First Nations groups as freehold Aboriginal land or freehold Torres Strait Islander land under the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 (Qld) and the Torres Strait Islander Land Act 1991 (Qld).

A further 45 native title determination applications remain pending over substantial areas of Queensland.

See the Qld map

 

South Australia

Native title has been determined to exist in 55.8% of land in South Australia (as of 2023), while a further 22.6% is subject to one of the statutory land rights regimes or through land buybacks facilitated by the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation (ILSC).

The Aboriginal Lands Trust (ALT) presently holds title to 65 properties, covering more than 500,000 hectares of land in South Australia. The land estate consists of freehold land, transferred Crown land, and properties which have been donated, purchased or otherwise acquired.

See the SA map

 

Victoria 

The total Aboriginal land estate in Victoria (as of 2023) is approximately 18,759 km2.

Most land where rights and interests have been acknowledged via Native Title Agreements or Recognition and Settlement Agreements under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic) (TOS Act) have pre-existing management regimes, such as National Parks, State Reserves and/or land use limited by cultural heritage regulations such as that acquired under the various Aboriginal Land Acts.

There is limited land held by First Nations in Victoria that can be developed for commercial purposes.

See the map

 

New South Wales

Since the enactment of the state-level Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW) (ALRA) in New South Wales in 1983 (as of 2023), NSW Aboriginal Land Councils (ALCs) have lodged 53,800 land claims. Of these, some 38,200 land claims (equivalent to 70% of land claims lodged over the last 40 years) await determination by the relevant NSW Government department (as of 2022).

In terms of land recovery, a fraction of 1% of NSW has been repossessed by local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs). Local Aboriginal Land Councils land includes land claims, former missions and reserves along with privately purchased and bequeathed properties. The estate is mostly held in freehold title and some is of high social, cultural, conservation, economic and biodiversity significance. As much as 80% of the Aboriginal Land Council estate is zoned conservation.

The ALRA enables land to be transferred back to member-based local Aboriginal Land Councils as freehold land.

See the NSW map

 

Western Australia

Native title over most of Western Australia has been resolved (as of 2023).

There have been 135 determinations that native title exists in Western Australia, covering in excess of 1.828 million square kilometres or over 70% of the Stateʼs area.

Exclusive native title has been recognised over more than 1 million square kilometres (over 40% of the State).

See the WA map

 

 

Further information