Indigenous land use agreements

An indigenous land use agreement is a voluntary agreement between a native title group and other parties on the use and management of land and waters.

View from Perrys Lookdown to Blue Gum Forest walking track over the Grose Gorge, BlackheathIndigenous land use agreements are established by the Native Title Act 1993. Native title claimants or native title holders can negotiate and establish a joint management partnership for a park with the NSW Government through an Indigenous land use agreement (ILUA).

Native title is the recognition in Australian law that some Indigenous people continue to hold communal, group or individual rights and interests to their lands and waters. These collective rights and interests come from traditional laws and customs.

Negotiating an Indigenous land use agreement

When an ILUA is registered on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements, native title holders and parties are bound to the terms of the agreement, even if they were not involved in the negotiations. Native title rights established by an ILUA have the same weight under federal law as a native title determination.

The NSW Government can negotiate an ILUA with native title claimants about the management of public lands in their claim area. This may involve the whole native title claim, and different land tenures may be managed by one or more government agencies.


An ILUA may resolve native title issues and may also deal with other issues such as:

  • recognition of native title rights
  • dealing with how native title rights will be exercised
  • enabling development to take place on the land
  • managing development on the land
  • addressing compensation payments to the native title group, for example, non-monetary compensation such as employment opportunities or transfer of freehold lands
  • access to and management of national parks and reserves.

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