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Stronger Partners Stronger Futures workshop

A workshop in Port Augusta will bring together traditional owners, industry and government.

Stronger Partners Stronger Futures

South Australia has rich mineral resources. Mining is important for regional Aboriginal communities, providing up to 28% Aboriginal employment and vital revenue streams to support economic advancement.

A critical factor in supporting a sustainable exploration and mining environment, and investment in the minerals sector, is a regulatory framework that supports the interaction between native title rights and interests and mineral exploration.

The current system in South Australia for carrying out exploration activities on native title land poses challenges for Aboriginal communities and exploration companies alike. There are clear and frequent calls on government to broker solutions.

In September 2016 the Mineral Resources Division commenced the Stronger Partners Stronger Futures program to hear directly from native title groups about their experiences to forge better relationships, and to identify collaborative solutions that encourage greater mineral exploration and provide economic certainty for Aboriginal communities and explorers in South Australia.

The goal is for government, native title groups and explorers to work together to identify and make improvements to the operation of the native title system as it applies to mineral exploration in South Australia. This collaborative approach to build strong, effective and sustainable policy is the best opportunity to date to identify practical solutions for all parties who use this system.

The current economic cycle in the exploration and mining industry presents a unique opportunity to ensure South Australia’s regulatory system and business environment is set up for the next upturn in commodity prices and exploration.

The Mineral Resources Division has met with native title groups, and has consulted with explorers and native title and industry lawyers, to hear about their challenges and opportunities working within the native title system and where improvements might be made.

Multiple complex challenges and concerns have been raised through these consultations, and it is clear that these issues cannot be solved by government alone. The opportunity has arisen from this consultation process for the parties to collaboratively identify the way forward.

The Mineral Resources Division is holding an independently facilitated workshop in Port Augusta on 17 and 18 October 2017 bringing together native title, industry and government representatives to work together to share ideas, expertise and wisdom, with a view to:

  • building further trust between government, native title groups and industry
  • strengthening relationships based on understanding, respect and early engagement
  • driving better collaboration between stakeholders
  • identifying co-designed solutions
  • seeking agreement on the best process for moving forward.

The workshop is the best opportunity stakeholders have had in over 21 years since the introduction of the existing native title system to effect change to ensure the system recognises and protects native title and Aboriginal heritage, and recognises the value of the mining industry to the economy of the state, including by improving the prosperity and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.

A key consideration for the parties at the workshop will be whether Part 9B of the Mining Act 1971 in its current form remains the most appropriate scheme to manage the interaction between native title rights and interests and mineral resources exploration in South Australia.

A focus of the discussions will be the benefits and challenges of the Part 9B system and the right to negotiate scheme in the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth).

It is anticipated that the outcome of the workshop will be an agreement to work together on a number of recommendations for change, which could include policy and legislative change.

All parties will be updated about the outcomes of the workshop through the Stronger Partners Stronger Futures website.

For further information about the workshops please contact:
Andrew Moll
Principal Policy Consultant
Phone: +61 8 8463 3056

Heidi Crow
Principal Policy Officer
Phone: +61 8 8463 3508

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