Mines Minister George Cash has issued a policy statement on the validity and protection of State petroleum legislation titles.
Mr Cash said titles granted since the enactment of the Native Title Act on January 1, 1994 were presumed to be valid at law unless declared otherwise.
"Any title-holders who wished to ascertain the existence of native title which might affect their titles can do so by lodging non claimant applications for determination with the Native Title Tribunal," he said.
"If any particular title is shown to be defective because of the existence of native title and the operations of the Native Title Act, then the Government will ensure protection of the title holders' rights and interests.
"This would be achieved by not determining any new applications for the subject area from parties other than the original title-holder and if necessary, issuing replacement titles to the original title-holders in compliance with the Native Title Act."
Mr Cash said if the issue of an existing or replacement title results in a successful claim for compensation because of the existence of native title, then the Government would accept liability for compensation.
Petroleum and petroleum pipeline titles in Western Australia are issued under the provisions of the Petroleum Act 1982, Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1961 and the Petroleum Pipelines Act 1969.
Media contact: Mark Thompson 222 9595