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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 10349

TO PARTICIPANTS AT THE LONGREACH MEETING

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 17/05/1997

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 10349

Fax from 17/ 05/ 97 16: 09 Pg:
MAY 17 ' 97 10: 05 P. 7
PRIME MINISTER CANBERRA
To participants at the Longreach meeting
Following the Hgh Court' s decision in the Wik case, the Federal
Government has worked in liaison with State and Terrtory Governmnents
and other interest groups, including the NEF, to put together a legislativ
response to the difficulties created by that decision. A copy of the key
elements of our plan is attached.
The Coal ition Government is committed to providing certainty for primary
producers. The following elements of the Government's package should
be noted:
9 Farmers and graziers will have the right to carry on all primary
production activities without needing to deal with native title
claimants. Indigenous people will not have any right to negotiate in
relation to prunary production activities and decisions pursuant to, or
incidental to, primary production-
In relation to pastoral leases which confer exclusive possession, and in
relation to agricultural leases where exclusive possession must have
been intended because of the-nature of the use, there will be
confirmation of full extinguishment of native title.
* Access rights to pastoral leases for indigenous people who have not
had their native title claims determined will only be available where
they can demonstrate that they have current physical access
arrangements with the pastoralist. le. we will respect the existing
relationships whiuch have been established between pastoralists and
indigenous people.

Fax from 17/ 65/ 97 18: 89 Pg: 2
MAY 17 ' 97 10: 06 P. 8
2
Where native title is proven to exist on pastoral leases, States and
Territories will be able to compulsorily acquire these rights under their
general compulsory acquisition legislation, and pay compensation to
determined native title holders.
The Federal Government will provide 75% of any compensation in
respect of the acquisition of any native title rights. The States and
Territories will provide the balance of 25%. This will apply in respect
of compensation for past and future actions. Pastoralists will not have
to pay any compensation.
Legal aid will be more readily available for pastoralist respondents to
native title claims.
The proper management and control of water by Federal, State and
local goverments for the benefit of all Australians will be put beyond
doubt. There will be a sunset clause legislated after which no new clains can
be made under the Commonwealth's Native Title Act.
The Government will undertake a comprehensive programme to develop
and implement its approach, and will work towards the passage of
legislation through the Parliament as quickly as possible.
The Government's proposals will provide the certainty to pastoralists with
regard to primary production which is absolutely necessary in the national
interest. Yours sincerely
Howard) Tim Fischer MP

Fax f mm
MAY 17 ' 97 10: 06
KEY LEGISLATIVE ELEMENTS OF THE PACKAGE
1. Validaton of
acts/ grants between
1/ 11/ 94 and 23112196
2. Confirmation of
extinguishment of
native title on
6exclusive' tenures
1 3. Provision of
government services
4. Native title and
pastoral leases Legislative action will be taken to ensure that the validity of any acts
or grants made in relation to non-vacant crown land in the period
between passage of the Native Title Act and the Wik decision is put
beyond doubt,
States and Terrtories would be able to confirm that ' exclusive'
tenures such as freehold, residential, commercial and public works
in existence on or before 1 January 1994 extinguish native ble.
Agricultural leases would also be covered to the extent that it can
reasonably be said that by reason of the grant or the nature of the
permitted use of the land, exclusive possession must have been
intended. Any current or former pastoral lease conferring exclusive
possession would also be included.
Impediments to the provision of government services in relation to
land on which native titde may exist would be removed.-
As provided in the Wik decision, native title rights over current or
former pastoral leases and any agricultural leases not covered
under 2 above would be permanently extinguished to the extent that
those rights are inconsistent with those of the pastoralist
All activities pursuant to, or incidental to, ' primary production" would
be allowed on pastoral leases ( ie the right to negotiate in relation to
such activities would be completely removed), including farmstay
tourism, even if native title exists, provided the dominant purpose of
the use of the land is primary production. However, future
government action such as the upgrading of title to perpetual or
' exclusive' leases or freehold, would necessitate the acquisitor; of
any native title rights proven to exist and the application of the
regime described in 7 below ( except where this is unnecessary
because the pastoralist has an existing legally enforceable right to
upgrade). Where registered claimants can demonstrate that they currently
have physical access to pastoral lease land, their continued access
wRi be legislatively confirmed until the native title claim Is
determined. This would not affect existing access rights established
by state or territory legislation.
For mining on vacant crown land there would be a higher
registration test for claimants seeking the right to negotiate, no
negotiations on exploraton, and only one right to negotiate per
project As currently provided in the NTA, states and territories
IThis will be based on the defnition in the Income Tax .4ssessment Act 1936, a copy of which is atached.
15/ 05/ 97; 15: 31
6. Future mining activity Faxfro'i17/ 85/ 97 16: 09 PS: 3

17 ' 97 10: 07
7. Future government
and commercial
development On vacant crown land outside towns and cities there would be a
higher registration test to access the right to negotiate, but the
right to -negotiate would be removed in relation to the acquisition
of native title rights for third parties for the purpose of
government-type infrastructure. As currently provided in the
NTA, states and territories would be able to put in place
alternative regimes with similar right to negotiate provisions.
For compulsory acquisition of native title rights on other ' nonexclusive'
tenures such as current or former pastoral leasehold
land and national parks, the right to negotiate would continue to
apply in a state or territory unless and until that state or territory
provided a statutory regime acceptable to the Commonwealth
which included procedural rights at least equivalent to other
parties with an interest in the land the holder of the pastoral
lease) and compensation which can take account of the nature of
co-existing native title rights ( where they are proven to exist).
* The right to negotiate would be removed in relation to the
acquisition of land for third parties-in towns and cities, although
native title holders would gain the same procedural and
compensation rights as other landholders.
* Future actions for the management of any existing national park
or forest reserve would be allowed.
* A regime to authorise activities such as the taking of timber or
gravel on pastoral leases, would be provided.
The ability of governments to regulate and manage surface and
subsurface water, off-shore resources and airspace, and the rights
of those with Interests under any such regulatory or management
regime would be put beyond doubt
In relation to new and existing native title claims, there would be a
higher registration test to access the right to negotiate,
amendments to speed up handling of claims, and measures to
encourage the States to manage claims within their own systems.
A sunset clause within which new claims would have to be made
would be introduced.
resources and airspace
9. Management of claims
Fax from: MAY 17/ 05/ 97 10: 89 Pg: 4
2
would be able to put in place alternative regimes with similar right
to negotiate provisions.
For mining on other ' non-exclusive' tenures such as current or
former pastoral leasehold land and national parks, the right to
negotiate would continue to apply in a state or teritory unless
and until that state or territory provided a statutory regime
acceptable to the Commonwealth which included procedural
rights at least equivalent to other parties with an interest in the
land the holder of the pastoral lease) and compensation
which can take account of the nature of co-existing native title
rights ( where they are proven to exist).

Fax from MAY 17 ' 97 10: 07
' I~ 17/ 05/ 97 10: 09 Pg:
P. 11
Measures would be introduced to facilitate the negotiation of
voluntary but binding agreements as an alternative to more formal
native Wite machinery.
Agreements

Fax from 17/ 085/ 97 18: 09 Pg: 6
MAY 17 ' 97 10: 07 P. 12
4
DEFINITION OF ' PRIMARY PRODUCTION'
Income TaxAssessment Act 1936-section 6:
' primary production' means production resulting directly from
the cultivation of land;
the maintenance of animals or poultry for the purpose of selling
them or their bodily produce, including natural increase;
fishing-operations;
forest operations; or
horticulture;
and includes the manufacture of dairy produce by the person who
produced the raw material used in that manufacture.

Transcript 10349