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Wednesday, 5 December 2018
Page: 9532

Senator RUSTON (South AustraliaAssistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific) (15:46): I table the explanatory memorandum relating to the bill, and I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—


It is my pleasure to introduce Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment (Land Scheduling) Bill 2018 (Bill) to the chamber.

The Bill demonstrates the Government's commitment to recognising traditional Aboriginal ownership of land and to finalising land claims in the Northern Territory which have remained unresolved for decades.

It delivers on the Government's election commitment to resolve outstanding Aboriginal land claims in the Northern Territory and to work with Indigenous land owners to ensure their land rights deliver the economic opportunities that should come from owning your own land.

This Bill also gives practical effect to our commitment to working in partnership with Indigenous Australians.

The Government is committed to the recognition of Indigenous land through statutory land rights and native title and we are working with traditional owners and land councils to make this happen.

The Government has provided the necessary resources to all stakeholders including an additional $1 million to the Aboriginal Land Commissioner to ensure that the delays experienced under previous Governments no longer hold back this important process.

We believe that these land claims have been unresolved for too long.

That Aboriginal people and communities have waited too long for the recognition of their ownership of land.

And that the Northern Territory people, industries and stakeholders have waited too long for certainty about the management of land across the Territory.

The Bill adds land that was subject to a successful native title application in Central Australia to Schedule 1 of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Land Rights Act) so that the land can be granted as Aboriginal land.

Scheduling of the land is consistent with the terms of the Ammaroo Indigenous Land Use Agreement (Ammaroo ILUA) executed by the relevant parties, including the affected pastoralist, and registered with the National Native Title Tribunal.

This is a good example of what can be achieved when parties take a pragmatic and co-operative approach to resolving native title issues.

A native title determination over former stock routes and stock reserve on Ammaroo Station in Central Australia had the potential to create management challenges for the holder of the Pastoral Lease.

The Bill delivers on an agreement between all parties that allows for the continued operation of the Ammaroo Station, supporting the important pastoral industry in the Northern Territory, and at the same time provides for the recognition of Aboriginal ownership of land for traditional owners.

The native title holders have agreed to surrender any exclusive native title rights in the former stock routes and stock reserve in return for acquiring title under the Land Rights Act to an area of land currently forming part of the Pastoral Lease.

The pastoralist has agreed that an area of land comprising part of the existing Pastoral Lease could be granted as Aboriginal land in return for the opportunity to incorporate the former stock routes and stock reserve as part of the Pastoral Lease, with the assistance of the Northern Territory Government.

The land to be scheduled and granted as Aboriginal land is approximately 3,105 hectares in area and would be incorporated into an adjacent area of land already held by the Aherrenge Aboriginal Land Trust, on which the community of Ampilatwatja is located.

The Government looks forward to seeing the future decisions that traditional owners make about the use of their land, when their recognition of ownership of the land is finalised.

The proposed grant of land is supported by all stakeholders, including the native title parties, the Northern Territory Government, the Central Land Council and other local stakeholders.

The Government acknowledges the work of all stakeholders especially the Central Land Council in delivering this important outcome for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory.

I commend the Bill to the chamber.

Debate adjourned.