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Thursday, 28 October 2010
Page: 1021

Senator McLUCAS (Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers) (11:43 AM) —In constructing public housing and infrastructure on Indigenous land it can be unclear whether there will be any impact on native title and whether compliance with the future acts regime is required. In many cases these dealings may not affect native title and therefore would not be future acts. However, state and territory governments have to undertake substantial and expensive due diligence to confirm this. To provide certainty and to reduce complexity, project components regularly comply with the future acts regime as a precautionary measure. This can mean delay in deciding how to progress a project and the adoption of cumbersome and lengthy procedures in an abundance of caution.

The government has consistently received advice from state governments that native title is likely to delay their ability to provide housing and infrastructure for Indigenous communities in a timely manner. Their experience has shown that delays in negotiating ILUAs can hold up delivery of public housing and infrastructure. Consequently, native title could be a barrier to meeting targets under the COAG National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing. There has been greater success putting in place secure tenure arrangements in communities on Indigenous-held land not subject to these uncertainties. I will come back to you on whether the Commonwealth engaged in discussions with Indigenous communities directly, outside of the negotiations that were happening between the state and those Indigenous communities.