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Urgent amendments required to Native Title Act



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MEDIA RELEASEPeter McGauran MPShadow M in ister fo r Resources and Energy Federal M em ber fo r Gippsland URGENT AMENDMENTS REQUIRED TO NATIVE TITLE ACT

Problems created ,by the Federal Labor Government's Native Title Act continue to threaten investment in Australia's pastoral and resources industries and have prevented any benefits flowing to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. J

Addressing the American Chamber of Commerce in Perth today, Shadow Minister for Resources and Energy, Peter McGauran called for urgent amendments to the legislation to overcome the uncertainty and confusion surrounding the working of the Act.

Mr McGauran said problems with the Native Title Act were most acute in Western Australia, and one of the most significant areas of concern was doubt over the status of pastoral leases.

"Justice French, President of the Native Title Tribunal has estimated it will take a further 2 years to finally resolve the threshold question of whether pastoral leases extinguish native title."

"This problem alone has introduced considerable complexity, uncertainty and delay into applications for mineral exploration and production permits, particularly in Western Australia."

"The resulting decrease in opportunities for mineral exploration forces the mining industry to increasingly explore overseas, with obvious effects on the national economy."

'The Native Title Act has been in operation for over 18 months without a single grant of native title, thus denying Aborigines any of the benefits cynically promised by the Federal Government."

'The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Dodson, said recently that native title claimants are feeling a strong sense of frustration as the prospect of completing successful claims becomes a distant reality."

"Every day that the flaws in this legislation remain uncorrected adds to the injustice felt by Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders and drives away investment by the resources and pastoral industries, Mr McGauran concluded.

For further information, contact Peter McGauran: 06-277 4363 26.07.95

Jim Groves: 06-251 4563 (AH)

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MEDIA RELEASE MEDIA RELEASE Peter McGauran MP Shadow Minister for Resources and Energy

Labor’s Uranium Cost

The total abdication of responsibility for sound policy by the Prime Minister and the Labor Party at the National Conference in Hobart today will cost the nation dearly in the years to come.

The Shadow Minister for Resources and Energy, Peter McGauran, said the failure to abolish the three mines uranium policy will mean a loss of export income of $1b annually by the year 2004, according to a recent report by Access Economics.

"Exports of this order would be five times the present value, and achieved in only a decade."

"With the three mines' policy continuing, Canada's share of the market will likely increase to 40% by 2004, while Australia's share dwindles to under 20%."

"The report concluded that net benefits to Australia would be up to $1.6b by 2010, if restrictions on mining were removed." f

'With today's current account figure of $2.1 b, Australia must use every credible opportunity to boost export income and jobs", Mr McGauran said.

"The likelihood of a further blowout in the current account deficit will put pressure on interest rates, with the possibility of a return to the interest rate crises of the late 1980's."

"Aboriginal communities will also suffer a major setback in their efforts to build economic independence as several potential new mines are stalled."

"The Ranger uranium mine has provided some $260m in the last twelve years in royalties to the traditional landowners."

"The Labor Party's hypocrisy on Aboriginal self-determination has been exposed for all to see."

"Australia's economic future must take precedence over Labor's factional politics and ideological obsessions", Mr McGauran said.

For further information: contact Peter McGauran: 03-417 4319 29-9-1994. or 03-525 9507

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