On 15 February 2017, the Native Title Amendment (Indigenous
Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017 was tabled in the House of
The bill was introduced to address the decision of the Federal
Court in McGlade v Native Title Registrar  FCFCA 10
handed down on 2 February 2017 (
see previous alert). This decision created uncertainty around
the validity of the registration of Indigenous Land Use Agreements
(ILUAs) that had not been signed by all of the
registered native title claimants for the relevant native title
claim group. That uncertainty raised security of title concerns for
grants of mining and other tenure consented to in the ILUAs.
The bill was urgently introduced to cure that security of title
If passed, the effect of the Bill will be to:
amend the Native Title Act to provide that any ILUA entered
into after the commencement of the Bill must be executed by
those persons nominated by the native title claim group;
if no persons have been nominated by the native title claim
group, by a majority of the persons who comprise the registered
native title claimant.
validate ILUAs registered before 2 February 2017, being the
date of the McGlade Decision, where they would otherwise
be invalid due to the fact that not all of the persons comprising
the registered native title claimant signed that agreement;
validate applications for registration of an ILUA made before 2
February 2017, where they would otherwise be invalid due to the
fact that not all of the persons comprising the registered native
title claimant signed the agreement; and
validate the registration of the indigenous land use agreements
that were the subject of the McGlade Decision.
The bill was referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional
Affairs Legislation Committee on 16 February 2017 with that
committee due to report on 17 March 2017.
We anticipate that, given the uncertainty arising from the
McGlade decision, and the support of all stakeholders for
resolving that uncertainty as a matter of urgency, it is likely
that a majority of the cross bench in the Senate will support the
Protecting indigenous art is a complex issue, and the first step should be to understand what we really want to protect.
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