Native title

Crown Law has been the State’s foremost legal advisor on native title and cultural heritage since the historic Mabo decision in 1992. As a result of direct involvement in native title claims and advising on draft legislation and policy formulation, our native title lawyers have an intimate, thorough knowledge of the history and progress of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) and issues relevant to this complex area of law.

We combine specialist expertise in native title and indigenous cultural heritage with a practical and strategic understanding of its impact on Queensland Government agencies’ projects and operations. We act for the State in native title claims and advise our clients on native title and cultural heritage issues associated with their projects.

Our legal services in this area of law include advice, representation and managing negotiations relating to: 

  • native title applications and extinguishment
  • cultural heritage negotiations, agreements and management plans
  • Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs)
  • Mining and other resources advice.

Our native title lawyers also have a thorough understanding of the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 and the Torres Strait Islander Cultural Heritage Act 2003 and provide advice and representation, including participation in negotiations, on a broad range of infrastructure and land tenure projects.

  • Representing the State in the negotiation or litigation of over 100 native title determinations.
  • Acting for the State in the High Court with regard to the Wik and Wik Way Native Title Claim, and in the negotiation of each of the subsequent consent determinations
  • Acting for the State as a respondent in the High Court to the Torres Strait Regional Sea Claim which had significant implications for both government and native title claimants
  • Acting on behalf of the State for over a decade to assist in reaching the native title consent determination and associated ILUAs negotiated between the Quandamooka People and the State, as well as multiple other respondent parties.
  • Acting on behalf of the State in Queensland’s largest single native title determination which saw the Waanyi People recognised as native title holders for an extensive area of land in north Queensland.
  • Acting for the State in and advising on the State’s first native title determination over a national park.
  • Acting for the State in the litigation of determinations that native title does not exist in the Gold Coast and greater Brisbane area.
  • Assisting the Department of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs in the implementation of its Commonwealth-funded social housing project in Queensland’s Indigenous communities.
  • Representing the Department of Transport and Main Roads in extensive negotiations with Aboriginal parties for the development of a Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the Gold Coast Rapid Transit Project.
  • Developing a Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the construction of the Tugun Bypass.
  • Advice on legislative amendments to the Mineral Resources Act 1989 and other resources legislation.
  • Advice on application of compulsory acquisition laws especially in the context of resource tenements and native title.

Our lawyers have advised on native title and resource implications for major projects, including:

  • various rail links relevant to the Alpha Coal Project
  • Australia Pacific LNG Project and Port Curtis Coral Coast Indigenous Land Use Agreement
  • Queensland asset sales
  • Abbot Point Coal Terminal Project.