Reforms create a more efficient Native Title system

The operation of Australia's native title system will be more cost-effective and efficient under legislative reforms that take effect from this week.

The operation of Australia's native title system will be more cost-effective and efficient under legislative reforms that take effect from this week.

"These changes will enable the National Native Title Tribunal and Federal Court of Australia to work more closely to speed up native title claims and reduce costs," said Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus.

"By reducing duplication and improving administration, these reforms will generate $19 million in savings over the next four years.

"Our 2009 reforms gave the Federal Court a central role in managing mediation, stimulating a four-fold increase in the number of consent determinations which rose from just 9 in 2009-10 to 34 in 2011-12. This latest legislation will reduce the backlog of claims."

The reforms under the Provisions of the Courts and Tribunals Legislation Amendment (Administration) Act 2012 include:

  • transferring responsibility and resourcing for native title claims mediation from the National Native Title Tribunal to the Federal Court
  • Federal Court and Tribunal sharing staff across human resources, finances and information technology areas, and where possible, working from the same buildings and sharing the same facilities
  • merging of the backend corporate services of both agencies
  • Tribunal financial and staffing services to be provided through the Federal Court administration
  • sharing of the legal obligations for financial and annual reporting

"These changes will help both agencies better perform their complementary and interdependent functions, and fulfill their compliance obligations under law," said Mr Dreyfus.