Press Release

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ROXON SACRIFICING WA PASTORALISTS FOR NATIVE TITLE QUICK FIX

2012-11-27

Western Australian pastoralists remain furious over Attorney General Nicola Roxon’s refusal to support the continuation of the Native Title Respondent Funding Scheme and are saying that the future of their industry is being held to ransom to satisfy those bureaucrats who would like to see an end to Respondents being involved in Native Title deliberations.

 

“To say that pastoralists in Western Australia are shocked and disappointed over the Attorney General’s responses and attitude towards what is one of the most significant issues affecting the pastoral industry in Western Australia would be an understatement,” PGA Native Title Chairman Alan Cleland said.

 

“By refusing to support the continuation of the Native Title Respondent Funding Scheme Ms Roxon is stopping pastoralists from obtaining fair and adequate representation in Native Title proceedings which will leave the industry with no voice in determinations.”

 

“This will not only deny all respondents their right of due process under the law, but will increase the complexity, length and expense of all proceedings for all parties.”

 

“Contrary to the spin that the bureaucrats in Canberra have been purporting, Native Title outcomes have not been hampered, nor have they been delayed by the involvement of Respondent Parties funded through the Scheme.  If anything the Respondents are the ones trying to expedite matters, because they are the ones most affected by Native Title determinations on a daily basis.”

 

“Native title determinations are not just about protecting the rights of the parties under law, but are about facilitating understanding and coexistence between pastoralists and traditional owners,’ he said.

 

“Pastoralists in Western Australia are the one party most affected by native title claims and deserve the right to be represented in deliberations, as is the intent of Section 213A of the Native Title Act, which allows them to access funding from the Attorney General’s Department.”

 

“Ms Roxon is well aware that the pastoralists in Western Australian, Queensland, Northern Territory, New South Wales and South Australia are united on this issue, yet she refuses to listen or even acknowledge their concerns.”

 

“The sole purpose of any piece of Government legislation is to protect the interests of all Australians, yet it seems that the chief law officer of the land is prepared to sacrifice Respondents in order to streamline Native Title claims.”

 

“But what is most concerning is that the Attorney General is prepared, as Paul Keating was when he introduced the legislation, to sacrifice pastoralists in an attempt to gain a quick fix to the Native Title system.”

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