Kevin Minson

Kevin Minson


    Federal Native Title Act complex and confusing

    2/08/1996 12:00 AM



    Mines Minister Kevin Minson said today the Western Australian Government’s worst fears regarding the Federal Native Title Act were now being realised.


    Mr Minson, who has been in Adelaide attending the  annual ANZMEC meeting of State, Territory and Commonwealth Ministers, said the Act was complex and confusing.


    “Aboriginal people, mineral and petroleum explorers and producers are becoming increasingly frustrated and bewildered over the delays and uncertainty this unwieldy Act creates,” he said.


    “After operating under the Federal Native Title Act for 15 months, the Government has seen nearly 1,000 WA mining tenements caught up in the right-to-negotiate provisions of the Native Title Act.


    “Adding to the confusion is the fact that about two-thirds of these tenements are on pastoral leases and both the State and Commonwealth Government have argued in court that the grant of pastoral leases would extinguish native title rights.


    “If strong action is not taken soon to amend the Native Title Act a significant proportion of our  mineral and on-shore petroleum explorers and miners will vote with their feet.


    “The resulting reduction in investment, production, exports, royalties and employment will not just occur in WA but throughout the nation.”


    Mr Minson said the WA Government was currently spending nearly $5 million a year to comply with the administrative provisions of the Native Title Act and he understood industry could be spending three or four times that amount.


    “I am pleased that there was consensus at the ANZMEC meeting that Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers involved in this area should work together to have the Native Title Act amended this year to the satisfaction of all those involved,” he said.


    “Procedures must be streamlined and the uncertainty removed or the backlog of pending applications will continue to grow.”


    Media contact: Caroline Lacy 222 9211