Indigenous Australians: Labor to support native title changes to protect mining deals – by Gareth Hutchens (The Guardian – March 21, 2017)

Labor will support the Turnbull government’s move to amend the Native Title Act following a shock federal court decision striking out a native title deal in Western Australia last month.

It means mining projects – including Adani’s Carmichael coalmine – already in operation under Indigenous land use agreements (ILUAs) may not be affected by the federal court’s ruling.

The news has angered Wangan and Jagalingou traditional owners fighting Adani’s mine. They have accused Labor of “lining up with the government” to wind back their rights.

The federal court last month overturned a legal precedent set in 2010 that formed the basis for ILUAs across Australia between traditional owner groups and mining companies, pastoralists and governments of all levels.

ILUAs allow certain activities to be undertaken on land or waters, such as mining, or provide access to an area, in exchange for compensation to native title groups. Under the 2010 legal precedent, an ILUA does not need to have all claim group representatives on board if the majority of the broader clan or claim group voted in support.

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