The details of the plan
The '10 point plan' promised to apply a more onerous registration test for native title applicants, which would require a physical connection to the land in order to establish a basis for accessing the right to negotiate. It sought to impose a sunset clause on applications for determination under the Act, which would be limited to six years. Also, the plan called for further validation of grants made since the passing of the Native Title Act in 1993, whether granted in good faith or not, where state governments had failed to employ the processes required by the Act. The plan would expand the type of grants that would extinguish native title regardless of the level of inconsistency, while providing for pastoral leases to be upgraded to fit these categories.
The right to negotiate was to be substantially curtailed by reducing the number of acts that would give rise to negotiation, particularly with respect to mining activity and in relation to towns and urban areas. In return, Indigenous peoples would have a statutory right of access. That is, a limited right to go onto the land which would be granted by statute rather than recognised a pre-existing right like native title, similar to that proposed in the Western Australian legislation. The plan also sought to strengthen voluntary agreement provisions to ensure they were binding on all groups and into the future, which would provide greater certainty for resource development agreements.
Keywords: 10 point plan, backlash, Canberra, extinguishment, Howard, John, Native Title Act (1993), 1996
Author: Strelein, Lisa