Wednesday, 21 March 2018
Queensland: Native Title
That the Senate calls on the Queensland Government to publicly rule out extinguishing the native title of the Wangan and Jagalingou people before investigating the circumstances in which the Adani Indigenous Land Use Agreement was obtained without clear and unambiguous Traditional Owner consent, and before the current Federal Court case examining its validity and any appeals are exhausted.
The government does not support this motion as we do not support actions that question the rights of native title holders to make decisions about their own land. The Wangan and Jagalingou native title group authorised an agreement with Adani in April 2016, by 294 votes to one, which was registered in December 2017.
The government does not support any calls to oppose the agreement made by the traditional owners and Adani. The government supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who want to pursue economic development and jobs. We welcome the opportunities for employment and business growth that developments like Adani offer.
We do not support this motion, because several of the matters referred to are currently before the Federal Court and it would be inappropriate to seek to interfere in judicial processes.
Labor has long been a strong supporter of native title and Indigenous land rights and has worked for many decades to protect and strengthen these rights for Indigenous people around Australia. After the historic decision of the High Court in Mabo, it was Labor that introduced and legislated the Native Title Act in 1993, and we did that against strident and often hysterical opposition from the Liberal and National parties.
The Native Title Act aims to achieve a balance of certainty for existing landholders and to establish a process for the legal system for native title claimants to achieve recognition and ownership of their ancestral lands. It is our strong belief that this act and the development of further legislative amendments that affect the act need to be carried out in a consultative and respectful manner. Indigenous people need to provide their free, prior and informed consent to legislation that affects their interests, most especially on the issue of native title. (Time expired).