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Working to achieve Sustainable Aboriginal Nations

WARNING

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images or names of Indigenous persons who may be deceased.

Overview

SANTS provides legal representation and guidance, anthropological research and community liaison to support native title applications, negotiations and determinations. SANTS also provides services to Aboriginal Nations to enhance their capacity to achieve their aspirations. This includes natural and cultural resource management, community and organisational development, governance training and economic development services 

The functions and powers of SANTS are set out in Division 3, section 203B of the Native Title Act as follows:

the facilitation and assistance functions referred to in section 203BB;

  1. the certification functions referred to in section 203BE;
  2. the dispute resolution functions referred to in section 203BF;
  3. the notification functions referred to in section 203BG;
  4. the agreement making function referred to in section 203BH;
  5. the internal review functions referred to in section 203BI;
  6. the functions referred to in section 203BJ and such other functions as are conferred on representative bodies by this Act.
  7.  The Native Title Act (203 B (4)) also provides for SANTS to set priorities from time to time in relation to performing our functions and allocating resources to perform functions efficiently. In all cases, SANTS must give priority to the protection of the interests of native title holders.

Our Services

 

Anthropological Services
SANTS provides anthropology services to native title groups using social and qualitative methods. SANTS can assist groups by gathering, interpreting and reviewing evidence to address section (s) 223 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (NTA). SANTS can provide genealogies, research and anthropology reports to support a native title claim. For more information please call SANTS.
Legal Services
The SANTS legal team is made up of highly experienced lawyers dedicated to delivering native title outcomes to the Aboriginal Community of South Australia. Our lawyers bring vast prior experience in the areas of commercial litigation, administrative law and public service, international law and foreign aid, criminal law, and insolvency, commercial and corporate law. SANTS puts emphasis on negotiations but will proceed to litigation for our clients if so instructed should parties not be able to negotiate agreement. We have a strong track record of successful litigation in the Environment Resources and Development Court (Mining matters) and the Supreme Court of South Australia (including Judicial Review proceedings). We have also intervened in High Court matters of importance to traditional fishing rights and native title questions of extinguishment.
Managing native title requires that Aboriginal Nations continue to negotiate with other parties, make decisions in particular ways and satisfy existing agreement obligations and other legislative requirements. SANTS offers services to Aboriginal Nations on native title matters which include:
• Legal advice and representation.
• Legal education/training on native title matters.
• Negotiations, agreement making and agreement implementation.
• Filing and prosecution of compensation claims.
• Making native title decisions.
• Structuring and establishing native title and related entities including PBCs, trusts and business arms.
• Providing strategic assistance to the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement in relation to native title defences (s211 of the NTA).
So far, there has only been two litigated native title determinations in South Australia (De Rose Hill, 2005 – with link) (Barngarla – Croft decision 2015-17 with links). Both determinations resolved that native title was recognised and protected. Other recent litigation (Lake Torrens Overlap proceeding with links) involved the dismissal of three separate native title claims but these dismissals are subject to current appeals to Full Court of Federal Court to be heard week of 27 February 2017. It is noteworthy that no determination was made to say that native title does not exist in the relevant areas under claim. As at March 2017, there have been 27 determinations made and 15 native title claims registered in South Australia. The SANTS legal team remains committed to resolving all native title across the state and supporting groups once they achieve native title.
Post Native Title Services
SANTS offers the following range of post-determination services to support Aboriginal Nations manage and protect native title and identify and pursue opportunities for social, cultural and economic development. Depending on the nature of services required, some services are provided on a fee for service basis.
Corporate Administration
The level of resources PBCs varies, and some are not able to meet the administrative needs of the corporation. SANTS offers financial, human resource and administrative services including:
• Executive management services such as:
– meeting coordination
– preparation meeting papers and minutes
– Board and community communications
– records management
– compliance (e.g., ORIC reporting, membership registers)
– general administration
• Financial management services including accounts payable, general book-keeping and accounting.
• Human Resource management including recruitment, contracts and policy/compliance.
Corporate Governance
Governance of PBCs is complicated with unique requirements under the Corporations (Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cth) and the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth). These services support Aboriginal Nations to understand the governance framework and develop internal tools and practices to govern effectively. Services include:
• Corporate governance training.
• Corporate policy development.
• Corporate leadership and strategy development.
• Advice on legislative requirements including reporting, decision-making and rule-book.
Community Development
Native title can provide a foundation to support and drive positive change. SANTS services support Aboriginal Nations identify and develop community-based initiatives and include:
• Corporate and community planning and implementation.
• Grant writing.
• Marketing and communications.
• Project development, coordination and management (including in cultural heritage and natural resource management).
• Partnering, networking and stakeholder relations.
• Organisational development.
• Economic and enterprise development.
• Benefit management.
Communications Services
SANTS offers communications services to the Aboriginal community of South Australia by ways of print media, radio broadcast, social media, writing and editing services. SANTS produces a quarterly newspaper, The Aboriginal Way (link to publications) (circulation 10,000). It is distributed to Aboriginal communities across Australia, schools, government bodies, Aboriginal organisations, native title holders and individuals interested in native title and general Aboriginal affairs. SANTS offers this publication as a tool to promote significant news and highlight the views of Aboriginal people across the state. If you are wanting to promote an event, share a story or have your say, contact the communications team at SANTS.
SANTS also produces an access radio program at Radio Adelaide (link to our podcast page). The radio show, Aboriginal Message, is aired weekly on Tuesdays at 230pm and is distributed through the

 

SANTS acknowledges that the land on which our office is based is the traditional lands for the Kaurna people and we respect their spiritual and cultural relationship with their country.
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