Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Legal aid for native title respondents.



Download WordDownload Word

image

 

NEWS RELEASE

ATTORNEY- GENERAL

THE HON DARYL WILLIAMS AM QC MP

30 November 1998

493

 

LEGAL AID FOR NATIVE TITLE RESPONDENTS

 

Revised guidelines commence today for legal aid for respondents under the Native Title Amendment Act 1998.

 

Under the guidelines persons responding to native title claims will be eligible for the same financial assistance as claimants thus ensuring a level playing field.

 

The main features of the revised guidelines are as follows:

 

* assistance is available to anyone who is, or int ends to become, involved in an inquiry, mediation or proceeding related to native title;

 

* assistance is available to people negotiating indigenous land use agreements;

 

* incorporated and unincorporated bodies (including local government) and groups of p ersons with similar interests in a matter are eligible for assistance;

 

* respondents can be represented by a peak bodies such as a peak farming or graziers association;

 

* assistance up to 100% of Federal Court costs is available; and

 

* the requirement f or a financial contribution from assisted parties has been removed.

 

A central feature of the guidelines is that of group applications. There are many interests that respond to a native title claim such as pastoral interests, mining interests and fishing i nterests.

 

It is much more efficient to have each separate interest represented as a group rather than having possibly hundreds of respondents.

 

A Legal Aid Consultative Committee for native title matters has also been established to provide a liaison forum concerning legal aid administration.

 

This Committee comprises representatives from the Attorney-General’s Department, the National Native Title Tribunal, the Wik Task Force, the National Farmers Federation, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the Minerals Council of Australia, the Australian Local Government Association, and the Australian Seafood Industry Council.

 

Copies of the revised financial assistance guidelines can be obtaining by phoning the Attorney-General’s Department on (02) 6250 6770

 

Media contact: Nicholas Harford (02) 6277 7300

 

jk