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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

COAG Investigation into Indigenous land administration and use

On 11 December 2015, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to implement the recommendations of the Report of the COAG Investigation into Indigenous land administration and use. A copy of the COAG Communique can be viewed on the COAG website.

COAG announced on 10 October 2014 that it would conduct an urgent investigation into Indigenous land administration and use, to enable traditional owners to readily attract private sector investment and finance to develop their own land with new industries and businesses to provide jobs and economic advancement for Indigenous people.

The Investigation provided an opportunity to focus all governments' attention on how Indigenous land administration systems and processes can effectively support Indigenous land owners and native title holders to leverage their land assets for economic development.

The Investigation identified that Indigenous land can and does support economic development.

The Investigation further identified that Indigenous land administration systems are in a period of transition from a focus on recognition of rights to the use of rights for economic development. There is potential to improve the efficiency and flexibility of these systems as they transition. All governments have a role in supporting this transition.

The Report sets out a cohesive policy direction for governments to support Indigenous peoples' use of their rights in land and waters for economic development. The Report identifies five key areas where governments should focus their efforts:

  • gaining efficiencies and improving effectiveness in the process of recognising rights

  • supporting bankable interests in land

  • improving the process for doing business on Indigenous land and land subject to native title

  • investing in the building blocks of land administration, and

  • building capable and accountable land holding and representative bodies.

The Report recommends Commonwealth, state, territory and local governments commit to six key recommendations to take forward this agenda.

The Report was authored by the Senior Officers' Working Group, made up of officials from the Commonwealth, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australian and Victorian governments.

The views and support of Indigenous land owners, native title holders and their representatives were of central importance to the Investigation. An Expert Indigenous Working Group worked closely with the Senior Officers Working Group to develop the Investigation's Report and ensure Indigenous perspectives were prominent.

The Report reflects an extensive targeted consultation process with Indigenous, government and industry stakeholders.

Expert Indigenous Working Group

  • Mr Wayne Bergmann (Chair)

  • Mr Brian Wyatt (Deputy Chair)

  • Dr Valerie Cooms

  • Mr Craig Cromelin

  • Ms Shirley McPherson

  • Mr Maluwap Nona

  • Mr Murrandoo Yanner

  • Mr Djawa Yunupingu

Public Submissions

Thank you to all stakeholders who made a written submission and contributed to the Investigation.

Submissions have been published in full, unless a submission was marked as confidential or an author subsequently requested it not be published.

Personal information, such as phone numbers and email addresses has been redacted from submissions where necessary.

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