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Native Title

Native Title is the recognition by Australian law of Torres Strait Island and Aboriginal people's traditional laws and customs that are connected to lands and waters.

Native Title exists on all of the islands and claims have been settled on nearly all islands, except Hammond.

It's expected that this claim will be finalised in the near future. After a court accepts that Native Title exists, the native title holders are required to set up a Recognised Native Title Prescribed Body Corporate (RNTBC), which then holds the native title.

The Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) requires those who want to do things on the islands that could affect Native Title, such as building a structure (eg. a house or an office), running a business, gaining a lease for an office, housing or a business to talk with the Body Corporate and negotiate an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA).

An ILUA may be required before a lease can be granted. An ILUA is required for the time the future act is in place, because Native Title cannot be exercised on the land during that time.

For the ILUA to be lawful, it must be registered with the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT).

The Tribunal has fact sheets explaining ILUAs and the steps to an ILUA process.

The terms of the ILUA are reached through agreement of the parties to the ILUA.