Native Title threatens cattle land development: NFF

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is supporting Northern Territory cattle producers as they “manage ongoing uncertainty surrounding Native Title,” according to a media release by the federation acting nation-wide.

 

“Producers are fearful of the consequences should the NT Government push ahead with a proposal to extend the timelines of the non-pastoral use permit process, under the NT Pastoral Land Act,” says the release.

 

Non-pastoral use of the cattle leases can include tourism and horticulture.

 

NFF CEO Tony Mahar (pictured) is quoted as saying recent court decisions and proposals for legislative change “has cast a shadow over the understanding reached as a consequence of the Native Title Act 1993.

 

“Provisions under this legislation were to design a conciliation process which would finally be resolved, as necessary, by the courts.

 

“Now, 20 years later, farmers are still working to resolve uncertainty on a number of tenures. Just this week a claim lodged in 2015 has commenced community consultation in the First Peoples of the Millewa-Mallee Claim” in Victoria, Mr Mahar is quoted.

 

“Meddling with the approval timelines will further undermine investment certainty in NT’s most successful industry, serving to suffocate investment projects in red tape.

 

“We need a timely and pragmatic process that delivers certainty for farmers and investors and which very importantly, acknowledges and respects the connection of traditional owners to the land.

 

“Native Titles issues are extremely complex and sensitive and it’s important that the NT Government supports processes that ensure each party’s interests are heard and valued.”

 

Earlier this year the High Court handed down the Timber Creek judgement, which articulated a mechanism for valuing land subject to compensation for breaches of Native Title, says the release.

 

“Then Prime Minister Keating was clear in 1993 that such compensation would be the burden of the state and the Commonwealth would help where appropriate.

 

“What seems to be occurring is that some jurisdictions have been quietly transferring this obligation, through lease terms, to private individuals.

 

“The Timber Creek judgement is being seen as the basis for also testing existing Native Title agreements with threats to revisit the terms of the Gove bauxite mine seemingly the starting point.

 

“In these complex and difficult times it is becoming clear that resources allocated for addressing Native Title claims are also helping advise claimants on other options for pursuing claims,” says the release.

 

“This type of support needs to be recognised as inequitable and similar resources should be made available to those engaging in legislative reform such as the NFF.

 

“We must safeguard against returning to the uncertainty of the early nineties.”

 

 

 

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  1. Ranger
    Posted September 17, 2019 at 10:58 am

    The story heading should be: “Cattle land development is a mono-industry, reliant on huge amounts of water per beast, introduced noxious weeds for feed, land locks massive portions of country for the economic benefit of a few, eliminates potential for other industry development, ruins plants and species biodiversity, increases drought conditions, destroys country” etc etc…

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