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Senate warning on Qld native title laws.

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Media Statement


Senator John Woodley

Australian Democrats

Indigenous Affairs Spokesperson





Senate warning on QLD native title laws

The Democrats have warned the Queensland Premier and the Opposition Leader that unfair native title legis lation is unlikely to pass the Senate.

Democrats' Indigenous Affairs Spokesperson, John Woodley, said: "The Democrats will go through the proposed native title legislation tabled in state parliament today line by line.

"On our initial reading, it appears that Premier Beattie has genuinely sought to strike a compromise.

"However, the legislation significantly waters down the Right to Negotiate.

"The Democrats are concerned that the Queensland Government seeks to exclude all mining exploration projects from Right to Negotiate provisions.

"Half of all mining activity in Queensland falls into the exploration category and the Right to Negotiate currently applies so native title holders are losing out there.

"Give and take is needed in the area of native title.

"But the Democrats want to make sure all the give is not on the Aboriginal side.

"Much depends on the new state native title tribunal and I'm seeking more detail on that."

Senator Woodley issued a strong warning to Opposition Leader Rob Borbidge not to bother tabling unfair native title legislation that had no chance of getting federal approval.

"Mr Borbidge will do Queensland a disservice by tabling legislation that has Buckley's chance of getting through the Senate."

Senator Woodley called on Queensland Independents Peter Wellington and Liz Cunningham to be mindful of the Senate when voting on the state native title legislation.

"It will do Queensland no good if native title legislation is passed in state parliament only to be thrown out by the Senate or indeed the courts."

Senator Woodley said Independent Brian Harradine, whose Wik deal with John Howard created the opportunity for native title to be handled by the states, had recently indicated that he wouldn't support unfair state native title regimes.