More to come
Land has always been at the heart of Australian Indigenous culture and land rights remain a key issue.
No treaty was concluded between the British colonisers and Australia’s Indigenous peoples and the land at the time of colonisation was regarded as ‘terra nullius’ – belonging to no-one.
In the wake of the Mabo case, the 1993 Native Title Act gave legislative recognition for the first time to prior Indigenous occupation and that some Indigenous people have legal rights and interests to their land deriving from their traditional laws and customs. These may include possession and occupation of land and/or rights to undertake certain activities.
Indigenous groups continue to claim native title rights under procedures laid down in the Act, but procedures are complex and lengthy. Others argue that land belongs to the original inhabitants as a sovereign right.