National Native Title Tribunal
The National Native Title Tribunal is an independent body that assists people to reach timely and effective outcomes for disputes about native title in Australia.
It is a Commonwealth Government agency set up under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cwlth) and is part of the Attorney-General's portfolio. It works closely with Federal Court of Australia (FCA) to help people reach native tile outcomes by agreement. The Court makes determinations on whether native title exists, or not.
Role and functions
The Tribunal’s role is:
- Assists parties to come to agreements over some proposed activities or developments, called future acts, and makes arbitral decisions about these matters.
- Applies the registration test to all new native title claimant applications. All new claims must satisfy this set of conditions to be given certain procedural rights over the area claimed.
- Notifies the public when native title applications have been registered. Notification involves placing advertisements in newspapers as well as sending letters directly to people and organisations with a registered interest in the specific area.
- Maintains three registers which hold detailed information about native title in Australia: the Register of Native Title Claims, the National Native Title Register and the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements.
- Negotiates other types of agreements, such as indigenous land use agreements.
On request, the Tribunal can also provide assistance and information to people involved in the native title process.
The Tribunal has Registries across Australia. The head office, Principal Registry, and the Western Australia Registry are located in Perth. The Central Australian Registry, which covers the Northern Territory and South Australia is located in Adelaide. The Queensland Registry has two offices, located in Brisbane and Cairns. The Victoria and Tasmania Registry is located in Melbourne, and the New South Wales (NSW) and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Registry is located in Sydney.
The President is responsible for managing the Tribunal’s administrative affairs. The Governor-General appoints the President and Members for specific terms of not longer than five years. Members assist the President to develop an overall strategy and direction for the Tribunal. Members are involved in:
- providing assistance and information
- helping people to understand native title and its processes
- indigenous land use agreement (ILUA) negotiations and future act hearings and processes.
The Registrar has specific responsibilities under the Native Title Act 1993 as well having the powers of the Secretary of a department in relation to financial matters and the management of employees.