Nature conservation

Parks, reserves and protected areas

Indigenous land use agreements

Native title claimants or native title holders can negotiate a joint management arrangement for a park through the negotiation of an indigenous land use agreement with the NSW Government.

An indigenous land use agreement (ILUA) is a voluntary agreement between a native title group and others about the use and management of land and waters. ILUAs can be made separately to the formal determination of a native title claim or they can be a stepping stone towards or part of a formal native title determination by the Federal Court.

The NSW Government can negotiate an ILUA with native title claimants regarding the management of public land in their claim area. The NSW Government would usually negotiate an ILUA that covered the whole native title claim, which may cover many different land tenures and cover land managed by more than one government agency.

Part of that ILUA can address the management of national parks and can outline a park's joint management and the exercise of native title rights on the park. An ILUA can deal with the management of an existing park or the creation of a new park.

An ILUA may:

  • recognise native title rights
  • enable development to take place on the land
  • deal with how that development will occur
  • deal with how native title rights will be exercised
  • address any compensation payable to the native title group.

If the ILUA is registered on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements it binds all parties and all native title holders to the terms of the agreement. The native title rights established by an ILUA have the same force under Federal law as if they were part of a native title determination.

The negotiation of an ILUA can be legally complex and may take some time. Native title claimants will need resources to collect credible evidence of native title and to negotiate the ILUA. As a first step, Aboriginal people with a cultural association with the park may want to talk to the NPWS about other less complex arrangements for joint management.

What are the benefits of an indigenous land use agreement?
See some of the advantages of an ILUA for Aboriginal communities - including potential jobs.

How is an indigenous land use agreement established?
See what steps native title claimants need to follow, and get links to other websites with more information.

Arakwal Indigenous Land Use Agreement
See an example of an ILUA from north-east NSW. The agreement included the creation and joint management of Arakwal National Park.

Page last updated: 27 February 2011