How we can assist you
We understand the interaction between State, Territory and Federal Government schemes dealing with native title, Indigenous cultural heritage and Indigenous land rights, as well as the operation of Aboriginal land councils and native title organisations. We have wide experience in dealing with all stakeholders in this most complex of areas:
- identify and assess any native title, Indigenous cultural heritage or land rights issues associated with a project or other engagement;
- identify any legislative or procedural requirements that may impact upon project development or other engagements with First Nations Peoples;
- assist in the development and execution of an appropriate strategy to quickly, cost-effectively and sustainably resolve any native title, Indigenous cultural heritage or land rights issues;
- guide projects through government approval processes; and
- manage relationships with relevant First Nations Peoples.
Native Title due diligence reports
Our team is experienced in carrying out due diligence and audit reports. Our due diligence and audit reports are, for example, used for prospectuses, sale or purchase of existing projects, development and financing of new projects and resolution of Government concerns.
Resolution of land access issues by negotiation or court processes
We are active and experienced in resolving native title, land rights and Indigenous cultural heritage issues for project development, including through the use of Indigenous land use agreements, other negotiated arrangements under native title and other applicable legislation or, where unavoidable, court procedures. Our focus on the early development of effective resolution strategies for otherwise difficult issues has enabled our clients' projects to proceed to development on time and on budget. Further, where necessary, we have acted in the National Native Title Tribunal and all Courts all the way up to the High Court of Australia. Our team is a one stop shop advising on early engagement right through to resolution by Tribunal or Court processes (if required).
Cultural heritage clearance
We are highly experienced in developing and negotiating Indigenous cultural heritage clearance arrangements for projects under development – such as the carrying out of cultural heritage surveys and the development of Cultural Heritage Management Plans – and in dealing with complex legislation and common law that has the potential to interfere with or stall project development.
We have extensive experience of developing native title, Indigenous cultural heritage and land rights policies for Government and industry, which we use to assist clients in the development of appropriate internal and external policies.
We are experienced at assisting our clients to establish effective working relationships with Indigenous communities. We understand the benefits that successful communication strategies can have for our clients' project timelines.
We have been providing tailored training packages for over 25 years to assist executives and managers understand what are unique and sensitive issues and implement strategies to ensure best practice engagement.
Provide a comprehensive service
Our Native Title and Indigenous Cultural Heritage Services Group supports, and is assisted by, other practice areas of Clayton Utz, including our Major Projects, Energy and Resources, Government Services, Real Estate, Construction, Environment and Sustainable Development, and Litigation Groups.
Our team has unparalleled experience.
Brief selection of experience
Energy and Resources including Renewables
Australia Pacific LNG Limited Project: Provided advice and drafted all native title and Indigenous cultural heritage agreements for the largest CSG to LNG project in Australia covering a major gas development and more than 1000 kilometres of pipelines. Continuing to act on a number of complex issues associated with the implementation of many of these agreements.
Carmichael and Abbot Point Ports Project: Advised on the Carmichael and Abbot Point Ports Project, Queensland's largest ever thermal coal project and related terminal, where we drafted all native title and Indigenous cultural heritage agreements and also obtained a favourable decision from the National Native Title Tribunal with respect to the grant of the main mining lease for the project. We also advised with respect to the compulsory acquisition of native title.
Mitsui/Beach Energy: Acting for the Mitsui/Beach joint venture in Western Australia to resolve native title and Indigenous heritage issues with the Southern Yamatji people associated with the Waitsia Gas Project.
Fortescue Future Industries (FFI): Advising on native title and Indigenous cultural heritage issues on FFI’s renewable projects in Australia and drafting all related agreements.
Squadron Energy: Acting on the multi-billion acquisition by Squadron Energy of CWP Renewables including with respect to all native title and indigenous cultural heritage issues.
Queensland Government: Acting with respect to native title and Indigenous cultural heritage issues associated with the Pioneer-Burdekin Pumped Hydro Project and the Borumba Pumped Hydro Project.
Northern Territory Government and Government Owned Corporations: Advising on native title issues for many years, including relating to the Northern Gas Pipeline project, Sun Cable’s proposed Australia-ASEAN Power Link, a 10GW solar farm and a 20-30GW hour storage facility to be located in the Barkly Region, the Bonaparte Gas Pipeline Project, the RAAF Base Tindal Project and the Adelaide River Off-Stream Water Storage (AROWS) Project.
Transgrid: Advising Transgrid on the native title issues relevant to Project EnergyConnect, a large-scale electricity transmission line in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.
EnergyCo: Acting for EnergyCo with respect to a Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) in the Hunter and Central Coast regions of NSW including the proposed Hunter Valley Transmission Network.
Forestry Corporation of NSW: Acting for Forestry Corporation of NSW with respect to the development of various renewable projects in State Forests and other land managed by Forestry Corporation of NSW.
Boggabri Coal: Acting for Boggabri Coal in a right to negotiate process with the Gomeroi People relating to an expansion of the Boggabri coal mine in NSW.
Other major projects
ARTC – Inland Rail: Advising on all native title and Aboriginal heritage issues and drafting all associated agreements related to the development of the Inland Rail Project, a new fast speed freight rail connection to be built between Melbourne and Brisbane.
Transport infrastructure projects: Advised on native title and cultural heritage issues for the development of large-scale transport infrastructure projects, including, Queensland’s high priority Cross River Rail, the A$1 billion Brisbane Metro, a high-frequency bus rapid transit system, and all of the major tunnel projects in Brisbane.
Celestino – Riverbend development: Providing extensive advice to the proponent, a Sydney-based company, on the development of two cultural heritage management plans for “Riverbend” – a major residential development proposed in the Jimboomba region of south-east Queensland.
Social infrastructure and urban renewal projects: Advised on all native title and cultural heritage issues for a large number of social infrastructure and urban renewal projects, including the iconic Queen’s Wharf Brisbane, Stockland Group's Twin Waters residential precinct, the proposed Pine Valley Community Project, a 5-Star Green Star Community, the A$100 million revitalisation of Oxley Creek, and Caboolture West, a proposed 30,000-home regional city that will accommodate approximately 70,000 people and provide access to some 17,000 job opportunities.
Water for Bowen, Glebe Weir, Lower Fitzroy, Nathan Dam, Edan Bann, Rookwood, and Burdekin Falls Dam Projects: Provided cultural heritage and native title advice and a range of cultural heritage agreements for the Water for Bowen Project, Glebe Weir, Lower Fitzroy and Nathan Dam Projects.
Treaties and acting for First Nations Peoples
South West Aboriginal Land & Sea Council: Acting in Australia’s largest ever native title settlement, which involves the Western Australian Government providing more than A$1.3 billion in benefits to the Noongar people to resolve their native title claims.
Victorian Treaty: Acting for the Victorian government in developing a treaty with Victorian First Nations Peoples.
Aurukun Bauxite Project Working Group: Providing detailed and extensive advice to a Working Group comprising important Wik Waya Traditional Owner families who are directly affected by Glencore’s Aurukun Bauxite Project.
Western Cape Communities Trust: Advising on mining closure and relinquishment outcomes for First Nations Peoples in East Weipa, including as part of the lead negotiation team.