New President for National Native Title Tribunal

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC today announced the appointment of Ms Raelene Webb QC as President of the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT).

Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC today announced the appointment of Ms Raelene Webb QC as President of the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT).

“I congratulate Ms Webb QC on her appointment to the NNTT and look forward to her further contribution to the native title system,” Mr Dreyfus said. Ms Webb QC, an eminent native title barrister, has practised law from Darwin since 1992. She will be appointed for a five year term from 1 April 2013, based in Western Australia.

She will lead a tribunal with responsibility for carrying out a wide range of functions under the Native Title Act 1993, including assisting parties to negotiate agreements, making arbitral decisions and registering native title claims.

Ms Webb QC was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2004. She has appeared in significant native title matters as Counsel for various governments and for native title applicants. She was Associate to His Honour Justice Kearney, a Judge of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, and Crown Counsel for the Northern Territory before joining the private bar in 1999. Ms Webb QC is Vice President of the Australian Bar Association for 2013, and the immediate past President of the Northern Territory Bar Association.

The Attorney-General paid tribute to outgoing President Mr Graeme Neate, a member of the Tribunal since 1995 and President since 1999.

“I thank Mr Neate for almost two decades of excellent service to the Australian people in this role, and for his commitment to achieving native title outcomes,” Mr Dreyfus said. Mr Neate was based at the Queensland registry of the NNTT, where newly appointed member Valerie Cooms commenced on 4 February 2013.

The appointment of Ms Webb QC follows a commitment by Government to streamline, strengthen and revitalise key institutions in the native title system.

“The NNTT is now performing more arbitration and mediation of future acts. Future acts are activities or developments that may affect native title, such as the granting of mining leases,” Mr Dreyfus said. Mr Dreyfus said Western Australia was the ideal state to base the Tribunal’s President.

“As 97% of future act activity occurs in WA, the Government commenced an appointments process for a President who would be based in that state,” he said. Biographical information on Ms Webb QC is attached.


Raelene Webb QC is an experienced barrister and immediate past President of the Northern Territory Bar Association. A public law specialist, she established Magayamirr Chambers in Darwin in 2011, practising in appellate advocacy, native title, administrative law and constitutional law.

Ms Webb QC was made Queen’s Counsel in 2004, and has appeared in the High Court of Australia as Counsel for the Commonwealth, for the State of Queensland and for the Northern Territory, including on significant native title matters. She has appeared in numerous native title appeals before the Full Court of the Federal Court as counsel for various governments as well as for native title applicants. Ms Webb QC has been Associate to the Honourable Sir William Kearney CBE (then Justice of the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory) and Crown Counsel for the Northern Territory. Ms Webb QC sits on the Community Living Areas Tribunal and the Northern Territory Police Disciplinary Appeals Board. She is Vice President of the Australian Bar Association for 2013.

Ms Webb QC holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours (Physics) from the University of Adelaide, and taught science and mathematics in Darwin between 1971 and 1974, and from 1976. From 1986 she completed a Bachelor of Laws externally with the University of Queensland while living in Darwin. She was admitted to the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory and the High Court of Australia in 1992.