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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Mabo Day: how far have we come?

Mabo Day: how far have we come?

Indigenous Affairs
Monday, 03 June 2019

National Indigenous Australians Agency

Native Title image showing 460 determinations made, 223 pending.

Mabo Day recognises the courageous efforts of Eddie Koiki Mabo to have terra nullis overturned in the high court and allow for Native Tile determinations in Australia.

Since this day in 1992, there have been 469 native title determinations made with a further 223 still moving through the system. There are now more native title determinations than claims.

Thirty-seven per cent of all land in Australia now has a recognised native title interest in it. This figure will grow to about 60 per cent once all claims are finalised.

The native title system is complex and continues to change and mature over time, especially as more claims are finalised. Each native title group has their own unique challenges and opportunities.

The National Indigenous Australians Agency plays a critical role in supporting Indigenous service providers and communities to recognise the rights and interests Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have with their land and waters. A key focus for Government is to make sure the system is working well.

Where native title claims are successful, communities often benefit in a number of ways. It allows traditional owners, their families and communities to use the land in ways that recognise traditional law and customs. This may include activities like fishing, hunting, conducting traditional ceremonies and gathering food and bush medicines. It can also include protection of sacred sites, and even business and investment opportunities.

You can read more about the NIAA’s work on Native Title in the Indigenous Land section of our website.