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Labor will open talks with the Turnbull government on changes to native title laws, following a Federal Court ruling.
Paul Osborne

21 Mar 2017 - 4:34 PM  UPDATED 21 Mar 2017 - 4:34 PM

The Labor caucus on Tuesday voted to conditionally support a government bill that aims to reverse the court ruling, known as McGlade, which effectively allows a single claimant to prevent a land use agreement from being registered.

Previously, Indigenous land use agreements could be registered by the Native Title Tribunal so long as they were authorised by a representative group. But the McGlade case changed that to require signatures of all native title claimants.

The mining industry has warned of higher costs for companies and hundreds of leases being thrown into doubt if the court ruling stands.

Indigenous leaders say more consultation is needed.

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Labor will support those parts of the bill that are required to provide certainty by restoring the legal status quo as it was before the McGlade decision, and remove from the bill provisions not strictly necessary to achieve this purpose.

If negotiations with the government fail, then the opposition will move amendments in the Senate.

In the meeting, Indigenous leader and Labor MP Pat Dodson argued the process of seeking a majority of claimants must remain intact.

Eight MPs spoke during the debate, including a number who urged Labor take a "cautious" approach to the changes.

The Labor caucus is expected to support the restoration of a joint standing committee of parliament dealing with native title issues next week.

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