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The Australian National University

Hilary Bek

Document: Discussion Paper

The Torres Strait Treaty between Australia and Papua New Guinea, ratified in 1985, recognised customary, and limited commercial, Indigenous rights in marine resources in Torres Strait. Since the High Court's Mabo vs Queensland decision in June 1992, and the establishment of the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA), effectively from July 1994, the issue of rights in marine resources has become central to the development of a sustainable regional economic base for Indigenous people in Torres Strait.

Document: Discussion Paper

The Native Title Act 1993 specifically recognises Indigenous property rights in Indigenous species; if there is one legislative event that could alter Indigenous utilisation of wildlife in the future it is provisions in this statute. This legal framework means that Indigenous people may in the future hold property or resource rights not just over currently vacant Crown land, but also in national parks or pastoral leasehold land.

Document: Issue Brief

CAEPR has recently made two submissions to an inquiry of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs (HRSCATSIA) into greater autonomy for 'the people of the Torres Strait'. These submissions, which are also available as CAEPR Discussion Papers Nos 121 and 132, outline two approaches to greater autonomy.

A regional approach

The first submission has a strong regional focus and examines both the political and economic dimensions of potential developments.

Document: Issue Brief

Recent agreements

Aboriginal communities are increasingly involved in negotiating mineral development agreements with mining companies and relevant State agencies. Analysis of five recent agreements suggested that agreements are varied in three major ways:

Document: Issue Brief

Most of the public debate about the workability of the Native Title Act 1993 (NTA) for resource developers has focused on mining rather than on the petroleum industry. This is largely because the majority of petroleum industry exploration and production occurs offshore. There are other important differences between mining and the petroleum industry that appear to simplify potential negotiations with native title parties.

Document: Issue Brief

The Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (ALRA) has been operating for 20 years. Its functions are largely financed from mining activity on Aboriginal land; 'mining royalty equivalents' are paid into the Aboriginals Benefit Trust Account (ABTA). The money paid into the ABTA is paid out in three ways:

Document: Issue Brief

Native title

The High Court's Mabo judgment of 1992 recognised native title rights based on the traditions of the Indigenous people of Australia where they have maintained their connection with the land and where title has not been extinguished by acts of government. The resulting Native Title Act 1993 (NTA) provides for:

Document: Research Monograph

This monograph summaries of policy-relevant published research on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander economic development and labour market issues. Topics covered include employment, land tenure, government policies and programs, mining, demographic trends, tourism, and subsistence. The monograph updates Indigenous Australians in the Economy: Abstracts of Research, 1991-92.

Document: Research Monograph

The third in the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research Monograph Series derived from an Australian Anthropological Society workshop, this volume comprises papers presented to the 'Genealogies, kinship, descent and groups: issues and problems in the native title era' workshop held at The Australian National University on 19-20 February 1998. While these papers focus on issues for anthropological research, they will also speak to a wider readership interested in native title claim preparation and mediation.