Mines Minister Kevin Minson said that from today, holders of mining titles would be responsible for native title compensation when the titles were granted or worked.
"This measure was necessary to clarify who would be responsible for any liability that might come from the granting of a title," Mr Minson said.
He said the change followed National Native Title Tribunal decisions which, for the first time, said mining leases could be granted but that compensation, if any, was to be dealt with at a future date.
"This approach is similar to that followed in other States and is a direct result of the failure of the Commonwealth Native Title Act to define what native title is and where it may exist," he said.
"I know the industry is not happy with the situation we now find ourselves in but as a responsible Government we cannot disregard unknown liabilities of this type for future taxpayers.
"The State is responsible for any compensation from titles issued before this announcement."
This included `past act' compensation for titles validated consistent with the Commonwealth Native Title Act.
A final agreement with the Commonwealth on sharing the compensation is yet to be reached.
Mr Minson said the policy would be implemented in two phases.
"Initially a Ministerial condition will be placed on mining and general-purpose leases which were granted after being processed through the right to negotiate process of the Commonwealth Native Title Act," he said.
"The second phase will involve amendments to the Mining Act to ensure native title holders can recover compensation from mining title holders in the same way as other land holders.
"This will be part of a package of amendments and associated changes to the Mining Act which aim to better align the Act with the native title legislation."
Mr Minson said the changes had been discussed with the mining industry.
"I accept the industry view that some companies would not accept titles with such an unknown liability attached to them and in future they will be given an opportunity to refuse the title if they find the condition unacceptable," he said.
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