• Protestors gather at the Brisbane office of Attorney-General George Brandis to call for greater consultation on native title changes. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
There are calls for Attorney-General George Brandis to abandon his Native Title Bill, after a national survey found half of Indigenous Australians hadn't even heard of it.
By
Ella Archibald-Binge

12 Jun 2017 - 3:15 PM  UPDATED 12 Jun 2017 - 3:15 PM

Commissioned by the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network, the survey polled 404 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from urban, regional and remote communities. 

It found that: 

  • Half of interviewees hadn't heard of proposed changes to the Native Title Act
  • 9 out of 10 believe there should be more consultation
  • 84% are concerned the government is rushing the amendments
  • 72% believe the Native Title Act requires nationwide consultation and review

Seed National Co-Director, Larissa Baldwin, says the results indicate the bill, set to be tabled tomorrow, should be scrapped. 

"It’s pretty clear that there has been no consultation with grass roots Traditional Owners," she told NITV News.

"What’s available now to community members is legal writing – people don’t understand it.

"We want to see a public education campaign. We want to see more widespread consultation and we need to ultimately see this bill pulled from the senate."

The bill will reverse a WA court ruling known as the McGlade case, which found that Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) must be signed off by all native title claimants. 

The decision potentially invalidated more than 100 ILUAs with major companies, including mining giant Adani, whose ILUA is currently being contested in the Federal Court by Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners. 

Labor last week flagged its support for the bill, which is expected to pass this week. 

"The Native Title Act is there to serve Traditional Owners," says Larissa Baldwin.

"It’s about us making decisions about our land. So Labor shouldn’t be making promises to the government or to Adani that they will push this legislation through." 

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