The Native Title Program supports Indigenous native title claimants or holders through the funding of a network of Native Title Representative Bodies (NTRBs) or other Native Title Service Providers (NTSPs).
NTRB functions and powers are detailed in Division 3, section 203B of the Native Title Act 1993 (NTA).
Their functions involve support to native title claimants or holders in making claims and negotiating associated agreements.
As well as funding NTRB/NTSPs, FaHCSIA provides operational and strategic support through the Aurora Project so the organisations can better perform their statutory functions.
The Native Title Program may also provide support to Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBCs), Indigenous corporations which hold native title on trust or as agents for native title holders (see section 56 of the Native Title Act).
Other aspects of the Australian Government's native title system are administered by the Attorney-General's Portfolio. For information on native title processes, refer to the National Native Title Tribunal.
FaHCSIA also funds the Native Title Research Unit at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.
Native title reform
Since 2005 the Australian Government has made a series of reforms or announced proposed reforms to the Native Title Act 1993. Further details are on the Native Title Reform pages of the Attorney-General's website.
The most recent reforms relating to NTRBs were enacted in the Native Title Amendment Act 2009, which came into operation on 18 September 2009. An information sheet sets out those changes.
Other reforms were enacted on 1 July 2007, are were aimed at providing more efficient and effective service for native title holders and claimants. They included:
- introduction of fixed-term recognition periods
- broadening the range of eligible organisations
- making it easier to withdraw recognition from poorly performing organisations
- making it easier to change representative area boundaries
- improving the ability of PBCs to access and utilise existing sources of assistance, including from NTRBs.
A review of the roles and functions of NTRBs and NTSPs will be undertaken to ensure that they continue to meet the evolving needs of the system, and particularly the needs of native title holders after claims have been resolved. Find out more about the Native Title Organisations Review.