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Landholders uneasy on Native Title changes

6 June 2012

Farmers have reacted with caution to today’s public announcement by the federal Attorney General Nicola Roxon regarding changes to native title legislation.

In a speech delivered in Townsville, Minister Roxon announced a suite of changes to the legislation including reform for indigenous Land Use Agreements, hardwiring criteria for what constitutes good faith negotiations and setting aside historical extinguishment in relation to parks and reserves where agreed between claimants and governments.

“Farmers have worked hard over many years to develop trust and cooperation in relation to the native title process and have always negotiated with claimants in good faith,” National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) Vice President Duncan Fraser said.

“To ensure this goodwill is maintained, it is essential that we are afforded the same level of respect and trust by the Government in further developing and implementing any changes.

“We are unsure as to how the announced changes will improve a process that we believe is working well, highlighted by the number of recent cases settled or close to settlement. Today, we are seeking guarantees from Government that the setting aside of historical extinguishment does not extend to pastoral leases.

“At this stage, it is impossible to respond in any further detail to today's announcement and we call on the Attorney General to provide an immediate and full briefing to the NFF,” Mr Fraser said.

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