Native Title

VGSO is the exclusive adviser to the Victorian state government on land justice issues including native title and traditional owner settlements.

VGSO's work in these areas is complemented by VGSO expertise in the related areas of Aboriginal cultural heritage, Charter compliance, Crown land property law, administrative law and constitutional law.

  • VGSO appears in the Federal Court on behalf of the State and in related case management hearings convened by a Federal Court Judicial Registrar. VGSO's expertise has been developed since the commencement of the Native Title Act in 1994 and includes advising in relation to:

    • Yorta Yorta Native Title Determination (Litigated) (1994 to 2002)
    • Wotjobaluk Native Title Consent Determination (Mediated) (1998 to 2005)
    • Gunditjmara Part A (1998 to 2007)
    • Gunaikurnai Native Title Consent Determination (Mediated) (1998 to 2010)
    • Gunditjmara and Eastern Maar Native Title Consent Determination (Mediated) (2008 to 2011)
  • VGSO assists in the drafting of agreements which comprise Traditional Owners Settlements, including:

    • Traditional Owner Land Management Agreements
    • Recognition and Settlement Agreements
    • Funding Agreements
    • Natural Resource Agreements
    • Land Agreements
  • VGSO has extensive experience in negotiating and drafting Indigenous Land Use Agreements as well as obtaining their registration. This includes advising on technical authorisation requirements following the Full Federal Court decision in McGlade v South West Aboriginal Land & Sea Aboriginal Corporation (No 2) [2019] FCAFC 238.

  • Projects over Crown land need to ensure they comply with the Native Title Act or the Traditional Owner Settlement Act. We advise on compliance obligations under the relevant Acts, for large and small scale projects. 

  • A 'right to mine' gives rise to a 'right to negotiate' under the Native Title Act. If a successful outcome is not reached between a mining company and the relevant traditional owner group, the State government becomes a party to the eventual mining arbitration. 

    VGSO has represented the State government in all the mining arbitrations held in Victoria, the most recent being the arbitration between AGL Loy Yang Pty Ltd and another v Gunaikurnai Land & Waters Corporation RNTBC [2015] NNTTA 50 (October 2015).

Reviewed 03 June 2021

Was this page helpful?