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Tuesday, 21 December 1993
Page: 5405

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) (12.58 p.m.) —The only restriction that is imposed by the legislation in this particular subclause, which is incorporated by way of amendment, is upon the sale of the land itself. It would be incompatible with the very concept of native title that land could be sold off for defaults of that kind. It is not true of native title equivalent, which might be given in the context of a pastoral lease conversion exercise, as we said yesterday. The pastoral lease in that situation would certainly be able to be sold and the native title equivalent holders would be left lamenting.

  The remedy for the aggrieved local government authority, or whoever in this situation, would still be, for example, to have a forced sale of stock, farm machinery or other movable assets of that particular kind which were not the land itself but did represent a realisable asset. A sale of stock is the obvious way to get at someone who is defaulting on a debt in this kind of situation. Given the order of magnitude of the debts compared with the likely value of the stock in any pastoral exercise, that is probably a realistically available route to go.