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Native Title in SA
Native Title rights are pre-existing (pre-colonial) rights held by Indigenous peoples and groups as derived from their laws and customs.
The Native Title Act established a legal framework to manage and resolve the diversity in the rights and interests to lands and waters held and/or being claimed by indigenous and settler Australians.
The Act introduced specific mechanisms for Indigenous groups to make application to the Federal Court to have their Native Title rights that arise under their traditional laws and customs recognised through a determination. It also established a means for other parties to become respondents and contest such claims and introduced processes to resolve native title applications through, for example, negotiation and mediation.
In South Australia, perhaps more than any other jurisdiction, there has been a commitment to resolve Native Title through negotiation and consent rather than litigation.
The opportunities provided by the introduction of Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) led to a coordinated, whole of state, inclusive approach to negotiating Native Title. This Statewide process now known as the South Australian Native Title Resolution process (see www.iluasa.com) brings together Native Title groups with other key land and water owners and interests to negotiate Native Title and non-Native Title outcomes.
Achieving equitable and lasting arrangements for the co-existence of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal rights and interests has been the cornerstone of South Australian approaches to resolving Native Title.