Author Archives:

Compensation and redress in SE Australia

In this recently uploaded videocast and podcast, anthropologist Courtney Boag of First Nations Legal & Research Services (FNLRS) interviews Melbourne based QC Sturt Glackin and anthropologists Wendy Asche (consultant) and Mick O’Kane (FNLRS) on the topic of compensation. The panel explores how compensation claims may be developed in the more densely settled regions of Australia. Importantly, Sturt Glackin not only brings our attention to the period from 1975 to 1993 in which acts were considered to be compensable in the recent Timber Creek decision, but also explains that the principles on compensation will have application to “future acts” occurring after 1994.  The video and podcast can be found on the Compensation page of this site.

CNTA 2022 Annual Conference

CNTA’s 2022 Annual Conference had the theme Protecting and managing the Indigenous Estate, and was held from 9-11 February. It was the first virtual annual conference. Originally, it had been intended that sessions would be conducted simultaneously in venues in Cairns, Darwin, Perth and potentially Canberra, while being available at all sites and beyond them through Zoom. However, in light of recent Omicron events CNTA has decided to proceed with a zoom-only conference instead of a hybrid one.

Information on this very succesful conference, in particular videocasts of all presentations, can be found on the Annual Conferences tab of this website.


Podcasts and videos about PBCs

Common mistakes in PBC design and operation


Pdf of Powerpoint: Dr David Martin: Common mistakes in PBC design and operation: anthropological insights

Short Paper on consultation: Paper Substantive Consultation


Resources relevant to Prescribed Bodies Corporate

Links to relevant websites

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) has conducted research on PBCs over many years. Information on AIATSIS’ PBC/RNTBC research can be found on the AIATSIS website. As discussed on that page, surveys of PBCs were conducted in 2017 and again in 2019, and there are some research reports and information sheets which would be of interest to anthropologists.

For instance, there is a downloadable report which outlines the rationale, methods, results, and implications of the 2019 survey of Registered Native Title Bodies Corporate (RNTBCs) (published February 2021). There are also a number of short papers/fact sheets arising from the 2017 PBC survey; for example, regarding the range of decision-making and dispute management rules, set out in RNTBC constitutions.

In both instances, the focus appeared to be on rules related to the internal (corporate) governance of RNTBCs themselves, but did not include the governance of the functions they performed by the RNTBCs, such as ascertaining the views of native title holders regarding dealings in the native title (in accordance with the PBC Regulations), or disputation amongst the native title holders concerning who rightfully ‘speaks for’ particular locales or areas within the determined lands and waters concerned.

AIATSIS also has a special-purpose website for PBCs ( which contains an overview of the Native Title Act, and of the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act) and the role that the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) plays in administering the CATSI Act. It also outlines the process of a native title claimant application and the Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) regulations  under the NTA which set out the functions of a PBC and the principles by which decisions are to be made by native title holders regarding the management of their native title.

The AIATSIS website also has an extensive list of materials relevant to PBCs on its ‘Resources and publications‘ tab.

The ORIC website has a specific section dealing with the intersection between the CATSI Act and native title, including a discussion of the PBC Regulations. It also has a downloadable paper entitled Writing good governance rules for PBCs and RNTBCs, which however focuses almost exclusively on rules for the internal governance of the PBC/RNTBC, with little detail directly relevant to decision-making concerning governance of the native title.

CNTA resources relevant to PBCs

Below are downloadable files relevant to PBC design and management. The first is a paper by David Martin Framework for working with native title groups in establishing and managing socially and culturally sustainable PBCs. Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation, for whom it was originally prepared, have given permission for an edited version of this paper to be available on the CNTA website.

There is also a Fact Sheet published in 2012 by the Aurora Foundation  which very usefully sets out the legal contexts in which PBCs/RNTBCs make decisions, and separates those relating to the internal governance of the PBC on the one hand, and on the other the governance of managing and making decisions concerning native title. This Fact Sheet does not appear to now be available on the Foundation’s website, so CNTA has uploaded it to this site.

1 1be5f54df4 Prescribed-Bodies-Corporate-materials 4bc6d72f91
Thumbnail for Aurora-Fact-Sheet-PBC-decision-making.pdfAurora-Fact-Sheet-PBC-decision-making.pdf

Open | Download
February 21, 2021
Thumbnail for PBC-governance-framework-issues.pdfPBC-governance-framework-issues.pdf

Open | Download
February 21, 2021


NSW Native Title User Group Forum

On March 17 2021, CNTA Director Nicolas Peterson and Research Fellow Julie Finlayson attended a Forum for Native Title practitioners  held in Sydney by the NSW District Registry of the Federal Court. The purpose of the Forum was to continue ongoing discussions and developing best practice processes for the Native Title practice area in New South Wales. Anthropologists Jitendra Kumerage and David Martin also attended, and each gave a presentation; Jitendra as a member of a panel Connection: Meeting evidentiary standards for a consent determination, and David Martin a response to a presentation on anthropologists roles in Native Title proceedings.

Certain of the papers and presentations will be of direct interest not only to CNTA’s anthropologist constituency, but also to lawyers working in the Native Title area more generally, and not just in New South Wales.

These are:

Regarding access to  Court Expert and other reports and documents

Justice Mortimer’s proposals regarding the roles of anthropologists in Native Title proceedings, and responses to them.