The Victorian Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (the Act) provides for an out-of-court settlement of native title. The Act allows the Victorian Government to recognise traditional owners and certain rights in Crown land. In return for entering into a settlement, traditional owners must agree to withdraw any native title claim, pursuant to the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) and not to make any future native title claims.
Under the Act, a settlement package can include:
- a Recognition and Settlement Agreement to recognise a traditional owner group and certain traditional owner rights over Crown land
- a Land Agreement which provides for grants of land in freehold title for cultural or economic purposes, or as Aboriginal title to be jointly managed in partnership with the state
- a Land Use Activity Agreement which allows traditional owners to comment on or consent to certain activities on public land
- a Funding Agreement to enable traditional owner corporations to manage their obligations and undertake economic development activities
- a Natural Resource Agreement to recognise traditional owners' rights to take and use specific natural resources and provide input into the management of land and natural resources.
Under the Act, the Victorian Government decides whether to enter into a settlement with a particular group. The group must meet the definition of 'traditional owner group' under the Act.
Under s78(2) of the Act, the Minister for Treaty and First Peoples approves payments into the Victorian Traditional Owners Trust
Aboriginal community views
Consultation with community and business
To inform the steering committee’s report, briefings and consultations were undertaken with a wide range of peak industry stakeholders. These included the Victorian Division of the Minerals Council of Australia, the Victorian Farmers Federation, Tourism Victoria, Victorian Association of Forest Industries and Seafood Industry Victoria. Other stakeholders consulted were the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and the Victorian National Parks Association. All of these groups expressed strong support for the steering committee’s recommendations for an alternative, quicker and fairer way to resolve native title in Victoria.
Peak industry groups have been consulted in the subsequent development of key policies that underpin the Act. One of these policies is the Land Use Activity Regime Policy, which is the state’s alternative to the future acts regime outlined in the Native Title Act and affects those wanting to undertake activities on Crown land.
Impacts on business