Use of Indigenous Land: The Legal Issues

Session ID: 1711N02
Date: Tuesday, 14 November 2017
Time: 09:00am - 05:15pm
Venue: Primus Hotel Sydney, Mezzanine, 339 Pitt St, Sydney

Face to face

Substantive Law: 7

State: NSW CPD:7
Standard Price $860.00
Early Bird Discount $760.00

Also available as

WEB1711N02 Live Web Seminar OND1711N02 Seminar Recording


Session Content

Date: Tuesday 14 November 2017
Time: 9.00am to 5.15pm
Venue: Primus Hotel Sydney, 339 Pitt St

Attend the full day and earn 7 CPD units in Substantive Law

Hear from a NSW Supreme Court Justice, the President of the National Native Title Tribunal, the Registrar of the ALRA, a Principal Legal Officer of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, eminent Silks, local Aboriginal Land Council leaders and practitioners at the forefront of land rights and native title. With both areas in a state of change you can't afford to miss out on this opportunity to explore and navigate any situation involving land governed under Aboriginal land rights or native title.

Session 1: Land Rights 2.0

Chair: The Hon Acting Justice Jane Mathews AO, Supreme Court of New South Wales

GUIDANCE FROM THE REGISTRAR: Governance under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983
Insights, analysis and practical guidance on key governance principles and accountability mechanisms in the ALRA.

Presented by Nicole Courtman, Registrar of the ALRA

Dealing with Land Council Land: Law and Practice

  • Nature of land holdings of Aboriginal Land Councils and background to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983
  • Regulation of land dealings under the ALRA
  • Good practice for engaging with land councils and addressing the land dealing controls
  • Possible future developments in relation to Aboriginal land in NSW

Presented by Anna Harding, Principal Legal Officer, NSW Aboriginal Land Council and Andrew Chalk, Director, Chalk & Behrendt

Aboriginal Land Rights: Agreement Making Processes

  • Opportunities for agreement making between Aboriginal Land Councils and other parties under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983
  • What agreement making may involve: land, enterprise and governance arrangements
  • Agreement making under the ALRA and the treaty making frameworks
  • A philosophy and methodology of agreement making in relation to Aboriginal Land Rights and why is it key to the success of the ALRA into the future

Presented by Stephen Wright, Chief Operating Officer, Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council

PANEL DISCUSSION: Planning Considerations
Join Aboriginal Land Council CEOs and leading legal experts in an insightful and eye opening panel discussion on some of the most important planning considerations that you must keep in mind when dealing with land rights.

Sean Gordon
, Chief Executive Officer, Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council
Stephen Wright, Chief Operating Officer, Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council
Nathan Moran, Chief Executive Officer, Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council
David Morris, CEO of Pubic Interest Environmental Law Centre, Environmental Defender Office NSW
Andrew Chalk, Director, Chalk & Behrendt

Session 2: Native Title: The New Landscape

Chair: Vance Hughston SC, Sixth Floor Windeyer Chambers

The Interplay Between the Aboriginal Land Rights Act and the Native Title Act

  • Native title claim v Aboriginal land claim
  • Understanding how the two schemes interat and coexist
  • Protection of native title under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act
  • Common challenges for land dealings

Presented by Clare Lawrence, Partner, Ashurst

HEAR FROM THE NATIONAL NATIVE TITLE TRIBUNAL: The Evolution of Native Title Law: Swings and Roundabouts'

  • Native title in the High Court from Mabo to Yorta Yorta: the retreat from optimism
  • Native title under the stewardship of Chief Justice French: the renewal of optimism
  • Recent case law in the lower courts: the return to native title as envisioned by Justice Kirby

Presented by President Raelene Webb QC, National Native Title Tribunal

Proposed Amendments to the Native Title Act: McGlade and Other Influential Cases

  • Understanding the changes and what they mean for you in practice
  • What are the likely difficulties for stakeholders?
  • Fate of the amendments in Parliament: a surmise
  • How should stakeholders prepare?

Presented by Jonathan Fulcher, Partner, HopgoodGanim Lawyers


Justice Jane Mathews AO

Jane Hamilton Mathews was born in Wollongong NSW. She studied law at Sydney University, graduating with LlB (hons) in 1962. After seventeen years in private practice, first as a solicitor and later as a barrister, Jane was appointed a judge of the District Court in 1980, the first woman judge in NSW. In 1987 she was appointed to the Supreme Court of NSW, the first woman judge on that court. In 1994 she became a judge of the Federal Court of Australia, and was also President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and Deputy President of the National Native Titles Tribunal. In 2001 she retired from the Federal Court and became an Acting Judge on the NSW Supreme Court, a position which she still holds. Jane has had numerous other positions: at various times she has been, amongst other things a member of the Board of Governors of the College of Law, President of the Arts Law Centre of Australia, Chair of the Visiting Committee of the Faculty of Law at Wollongong University, a member of the Administrative Review Council, and President of the International Association of Women Judges. Jane holds an honorary LlD from Sydney and Wollongong Universities. Between 1991 and 2000 she served as a Council member of the University of NSW, and was Deputy Chancellor of that University between 1992 and 1999. In 2005 she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia.

Nicole Courtman

Anna Harding

Anna Harding is the Principal Legal Officer of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC). She has worked at the NSWALC since 2010. Before that she worked in Government, primarily in native title. The NSWALC is the peak body for the network of 120 Local Aboriginal Land Councils across NSW. It also has a regulatory role in relation to the Network. Anna's work at the Land Council is predominantly focused on land rights law, statutory interpretation and native title. The interaction between the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 and the Native Title Act 1993 is an increasingly significant part of the work of NSWALC and Anna is passionate about supporting community to better understand their rights under these laws, and assisting people to make informed decisions about land rights and native title.

Andrew Chalk

Andrew Chalk is the Principal of Chalk & Fitzgerald, a Sydney-based law firm which specialises in representing Indigenous clients in native title and land rights related issues. The firm acts for clients in every state in Australia and has been involved in negotiating landmark mining access agreements in Queensland, New South Wales and the Pilbara. Chalk & Fitzgerald has acted in litigation opposed to the grant of revenue related tenements including the current dispute over James Price Point. Andrew was the advisor to the Indigenous organisations, known as the "B Team", in negotiations leading to the enactment of the Native Title Act 1993. Andrew is Chair of Gawad Kalinga Limited, the Australian arm of the international community development organisation. He is also a past Chair of the Environmental Defender's Office Ltd (NSW), a director of the Mark Tonga Relief Fund and the Secretary of the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Administrative Law.

Stephen Wright

The Registrar of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act ("ALRA") is a statutory office appointed by the NSW Governor pursuant to s. 164 of the ALRA. Stephen Wright was first appointed for a 7 year term in 2002 and re- appointed for a further 7 year term in 2009. Before being appointed Registrar Stephen served as a NSW public servant from 1998-2002. In 2000/01 he was the manager of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council's Native Title Unit when it was the NSW representative body pursuant to the Native Title Act 1993. From 1990 to 1998 Stephen worked for the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council in the areas of land rights, land tenure and dealing, governance and dispute resolution. Stephen has a keen interest in alternative dispute resolution; in particular cross-cultural methodologies, and the socio-economic importance of the land holdings by Aboriginal people in NSW. Stephen is a graduate in politics and law from Macquarie University.

Sean Gordon

Vance Hughston SC

Vance Hughston SC is a barrister who has extensive experience in the practice of native title law both at trial and at appellate level. He has advised and appeared in native title matters in most Australian States and Territories. In the High Court he has appeared in Waanyi People v Queensland, Fejo v Northern Territory, Wilson v Anderson, Members of the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Community v Victoria, and Karpany v Dietman. In 2014/2015 he was a member of the Australian Law Reform Commission's Native Title Inquiry Advisory Committee.

Clare Lawrence

Clare Lawrence is a partner in our Melbourne office and specialises in indigenous land law. Her work in this area encompasses native title, indigenous cultural heritage and the State and Territory based land rights schemes. Clare works in each State and Territory, acting for clients in native title litigation, and in relation to land access for mining and infrastructure projects. In her native title claim work, Clare has represented clients in both litigated and consent determinations of native title, including settlements recorded in indigenous land use agreements. Clare's litigation skills are also called upon to assist clients respond to native title based challenges to project approvals. Clare's project experience is diverse. For example, she has advised both NBN Co and Telstra on the rollout of telecommunications infrastructure in the Northern Territory, as well as managing the native title negotiations for the MMG Limited's Dugald River Mine in central Western Queensland. Increasingly, Clare's work is New South Wales based, as she assists clients such as Rio Tinto Coal Australia, Santos and the Commonwealth Department of Finance to navigate the points of overlap and distinction between the Land Rights, heritage and native title schemes and how they interact with the processes under mining, petroleum and land legislation. Clare brings to all her work extensive experience in dealing with indigenous stakeholders, excellent technical skills and a national perspective. Moreover, with an academic background in Anthropology, Clare is able to offer her clients insight into the cultural context in which the legal issues arise.

Raelene Webb QC

Raelene Webb QC holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Physics from the University of Adelaide and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Queensland. She was admitted to the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory and the High Court of Australia in 1992. In 1994, she was appointed Queens Counsel. Prior to her appointment as President of the National Native Title Tribunal on 1 April 2013, Ms Webb was named as one of the leading native title silks in Australia. She has appeared as lead counsel in many native title and Aboriginal land matters and has advised upon and appeared in the High Court in most land-mark cases on the judicial interpretation and development of native title/Aboriginal land law since the decision of Mabo v Queensland (No 2).

Jonathan Fulcher

Jonathan Fulcher has a PhD in history from Cambridge University. In that thesis, he examined the meanings of key words in a political language, and how those meanings were applied in political discourses to fight over the political reform movement in England in the period 1816 to 1824. Ever since he has had a deep interest in the meanings of words, and this has extended to a great interest and expertise in statutory interpretation. The Native Title Act 1993 is the place where Jonathan's interest in the meaning and context of words used in a statute was first piqued. The rules for interpreting statutes attempt to fix the meanings of statutory words and phrases, such that the laws are made certain and capable of prediction for those wanting to apply the law as it is promulgated. What he has found, though, is that it is the lack of certainty created by contests over meanings of words in a political discourse and meanings of words in a statute that his PhD and his law studies have in common. In politics, the contest over the meanings of key words in English political discourse were determined by the meanings being fixed in statute, only to be rendered useless as social and political change made those attempts to fix the meanings moribund. In law, the fixing of the meaning of words in a statute is only resolved ultimately by the High Court. Even then, social and political change can render previous decisions fixing the meanings of statutory words moribund. So this seminar will be about the process of fixing the meanings of statutory words, by applying rules of statutory interpretation: not only to show how those rules work, but how fixing the meanings of words, even in a statute can be very difficult indeed. Words in context can have unstable and contestable meanings, and any workshop of statutory interpretation must start with that premise. The context provided by native title in Australia is merely one example of that process in action.

David Morris

David Morris is the CEO of Pubic Interest Environmental Law Centre, Environmental Defender Office NSW. Before becoming CEO, David was the Principal Lawyer and Executive Officer at the Environmental Defenders Office Northern Territory. David's practice at the EDONT was a broad one providing advice, representation and education on a wide array of environmental issues facing the Northern Territory community. David is a successful litigator and, notably has acted for the Traditional Owner groups in relation to the McArthur River Mine and proposals to explore Watarrka National Park for gas in the NT. Prior to working at the EDONT, David worked in both government roles and private practice, including in the Maddocks Planning and Environment Team and as a prosecutor with the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Venue Details

Primus Hotel Sydney

Mezzanine, 339 Pitt St
Sydney 2000

Ph: (02) 8027 8000


Parking: Off-site secure under cover parking is recommended at Cinema

Car Park, 521 Kent St or Secure Parking, 259 Pitt st, please visit website

for rates. These parking stations are less then 10 minutes' walk from the


Train: The closest train station is Town Hall.

No parking or travel costs are included in the conference fee.

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