Native title

Native title is the recognition by Australian law that provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with rights and interests to their traditional lands according to their traditional lore and customs.

The Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) recognises that in certain cases there was and is a continued beneficial legal interest in land held by traditional owners which survived the acquisition of land by the Crown at the time of sovereignty. Native title can co-exist with non-Aboriginal proprietary rights.

Native title rights and interests differ from Aboriginal land rights in that the source of land rights is a grant of title from government. The source of native title rights and interests is the system of traditional lore and customs of the native title holders themselves.

The Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) can be found on the Federal Register of Legislation website. 

The role of local government

Local councils must follow processes outlined in the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth).  Local councils manage large areas of Crown land and carry out activities where Native Title exists or may continue to exist. Clarence Valley Council makes sure that traditional owner native title rights and interests are addressed through planning and decision-making processes.

Council engages with all of the different Aboriginal groups with interests in land within its boundary.