House debates

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment Bill 2006

Consideration of Senate Message

1:46 pm

Photo of Mal BroughMal Brough (Longman, Liberal Party, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the honourable members for their genuine beliefs and thoughts on this issue. I understand where they are coming from and where they believe the system is at.

I want to clarify that this legislation was brought up with and provided to the Northern Land Council in October 2005. It is not new; it has not been sprung on anyone. I do not want anyone to think that for a moment. I understand the views of members opposite. The current bill provides for the disposal of land to the intertidal zone and to the beds and banks of the rivers. We are literally talking about—as members would know but many in the gallery might not—a mud flat between high- and low-water mark. We are talking about that bit of land. It is about having a line in the sand so that people know what is in and what is out and where they have connection.

Claims covering the banks of rivers that are not contiguous with Aboriginal land are being disposed of. We believe that those claims which cover narrow strips of land are inappropriate to grant because of the issue of tidal water marks. For what it is worth, I might add that this legislation is in line with the proposal put by the ALP’s Northern Territory government. Whilst I understand the reasoning behind your position on this and your belief—


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