Experienced handling of native title and cultural heritage negotiations is a vital part of public infrastructure and resources exploration projects. If a project is to be delivered successfully, we must come to an agreement with the land’s native title holders.

Cooper Grace Ward’s native title and cultural heritage specialists bring to the table an in-depth understanding of the variables and considerations underlying cross-cultural negotiations.

Working alongside our broader team of property, planning and corporate lawyers, our Brisbane based specialists know exactly what is required in the approvals process for major developments regarding native title and cultural heritage considerations.

The team at Cooper Grace Ward has extensive experience in advising government and corporate clients on native title and cultural heritage considerations. This includes advice to the Queensland Government on native title implications for the mining and petroleum legislative red tape reduction reforms.

Our team’s expertise

Cooper Grace Ward Senior Associate Leanne O’Neill has particular expertise in relation to resolving native title matters. Leanne has represented the Queensland Government in numerous strategic native title and Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) negotiations. Her experience includes:

  • advising private clients on native title implications on Crown Land and in relation to cultural heritage compliance for greenfield development;
  • advising clients regarding determinations of native title in the Federal Court including registration processes in the NNTT and the impact those proceedings may have on projects and tenure including whether it is appropriate to join those proceedings;
  • representing the Queensland Government in the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) in over 800 resources (petroleum and mineral) grants affected by native title;
  • representing the Queensland Government in some of the first consent determinations in the NNTT under the right to negotiate procedures in the NNTT;
  • representing the Queensland Government in the drafting and negotiation of a number of significant Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) for extractive resource sector industries and for large projects;
  • negotiated and drafted numerous ILUAs, which provided native title consent for pipelines, easements, quarrying purposes, roads, licences, permits and leasing;
  • representing private clients in ILUA negotiations to allow conversion applications to proceed;
  • involved in the drafting of the Cultural Heritage Duty of Care Guidelines and legislative amendments for compliance with cultural heritage requirements for resource sector developments;
  • representing the State of Queensland in cultural heritage matters in the Land Court;
  • drafting and review of cultural heritage agreements in compliance with the Cultural Heritage legislative framework; and
  • advised the Queensland Government in relation to ILUA and legislative amendments for resolution of native title matters for North Stradbroke Island.

Leanne was also an integral part of the team representing the State in negotiating Indigenous Land Use Agreements which provided for the transfer of land under the Aboriginal Land Act 1991, creation of national parks and the provision of management frameworks for National Parks in Cape York (the first of their type under the then new Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act 2007).

To contact a lawyer specialising in native title and cultural heritage law, call Cooper Grace Ward on (07) 3231 2444.

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