Legal development

Other matters to watch out for in 2024-2025


    Native Title Year in Review 2023-2024

    Our Native Title Year in Review 2023-2024 covers the major legislative, judicial and policy developments over the last 12 months.

    The next 12-18 months will see some significant developments on all three fronts.

    Stop Press: Australian Law Reform Commission to report on the future act regime in the Native Title Act

    In breaking news, on 4 June 2024 the Australian Law Reform Commission was asked to report on the future act regime in the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth).

    The need for reform was flagged in the A Way Forward report in October 2021 (see our Native Title Year in Review 2021-2022 article "Modernisation of cultural heritage protection legislation begins"). However, there was no progress on this front until recently, when the 2024-2025 Federal Budget allocated $500,000 for this review.

    The Terms of Reference ask the Commission to consider some of the following:

    • the current operation of the future acts regime, with the aim of rectifying any inefficacy, inequality or unfairness;
    • options for efficiencies in the future acts regime to reduce the time and cost of compliance for all parties;
    • the rights and obligations in international instruments such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP);
    • options to support native title groups to effectively engage with the future acts regime and to support consensus within groups in relation to proposed future acts;
    • options to support native title groups, project proponents and governments to share in the benefits of development on native title land, and for ensuring native title groups receive commensurate and timely compensation for the diminution of native title rights and interests caused by future acts;
    • options for how the future acts regime can support fair negotiations and encourage proponents and native title groups to work collaboratively in relation to future acts;
    • the different levels of procedural rights of native title groups in relation to different types of future acts and whether these are appropriately aligned with the impacts on native title rights and interests; and
    • how the rights in the future acts regime compare with other land rights regimes.

    We will monitor the progress of the review and provide more information in further publications.

    Other legislative and policy developments

    The next 12 months may see:

    • potential progress on Federal cultural heritage law reform (but query what will be released publicly before the next election); and
    • further reforms of the consultation requirements for offshore projects.

    Native title decisions

    There are several decisions to watch out for in 2024-2025:

    Want to know more?

    Author: Leonie Flynn, Expertise Counsel.

    The information provided is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all developments in the law and practice, or to cover all aspects of those referred to.
    Readers should take legal advice before applying it to specific issues or transactions.


    Stay ahead with our business insights, updates and podcasts

    Sign-up to select your areas of interest