The Constitution Act 1934 (SA) was amended in 2013 to recognise the Aboriginal peoples of South Australia as the traditional owners of the land and waters. This constitutional recognition has no legal force or effect.
Native Title in the Area
As of January 2021, the Narungga Nation have a yet to be determined application for native title that was filed with the Federal Court of Australia on 25 March 2013 (FCA file no.: SAD62/2013; NNTT file no.: SCD2013/002). If the claim is successful, the NNAC intends to become the registered body corporate for the Buthera Nation, as prescribed by the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (NTA). The Agreement does not affect this claim, but as a sign of good faith, the State has requested that the Federal Court proritise its resolution (ABC, 2018).
Details of the Agreement
Purpose of the Agreement
The State and the NNAC, through this agreement, intend to create a "respectful and constructive relationship" towards securing the Narungga People's "cultural, social and economic well-being".
The agreement is flexible in its strategy and initiatives.
Treaty: the parties intend to collaboratively develop a legislative structure that enables them to later negotiate a treaty. The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Kyam Maher, in conversation with the ABC's Larissa Behrendt, remarked on the significance of the Buthera Agreement as the first of its kind between an Australian State and an Aboriginal group, and the first step towards a South Australian treaty.
Term: the Agreement is effective for a period of ten years, commencing on 16 February 2018.
Native title: the State agrees to use its best endeavours to hasten the determination of the Narungga Nation native title claim.
The State also agrees to negotiate the changes proposed to the 2004 Narungga Local Government Indigenous Land Use Agreement so that:
- the compensation entitlements are not full and final for all the future acts therein;
- the blanket consent to future extinguishment of native title is removed;
- no extinguishment occurs where normally the non-extinguishment principle of the NTA would apply; and
- the 'no right to negotiate' statements concerning future acts by the State and local government councils are removed.
Aboriginal Lands Trust: if the Narungga Nation is successful in its native title claim, then the State agrees to consider divesting land from the Aboriginal Lands Trust to the NNAC or another appropriate body.
Financial Support: the State agrees to provide funds for the NNAC's establishment and operation, its governance arrangements, and the executive management of its commercial enterprises. The funding also provides the NNAC with the capacity to engage effectively with the State, as well as to monitor and review the Agreement.
Innes National Park: the State commits to negotiating with the NNAC for a co-management agreement of the Park. The State also agrees to determine a suitable method to identify Narungga people, so that they are able to enter the Park without charge.
Annual Progress Report: the Department of State Development and the NNAC will jointly prepare an annual Progress Report. Then, within one month of receiving a Progress Report, the Chief Executive Officer of the NNAC and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs will meet to review the progress of the initiatives under the Agreement, strategies to resolve any issues, and whether the NNAC wishes to remain committed to the relationship that the Agreement embodies.
Termination: if twelve months have passed since a review meeting at which the NNAC notified the State that it no longer wishes to remain committed to the Agreement at the end of the next twelve months, then the NNAC may terminate the Agreement by written notice. The State may terminate the Agreement if the Court orders the winding up of the NNAC under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006, or if it determines that another Aboriginal people has native title rights in all or a substantial part of the claim area.
Schedule 1 of the Agreement identifies opportunities to support the Narungga People's economic development in collaboration with the State and industry stakeholders. These enterprise projects and their associated strategies for success were developed jointly by the NNAC and the State, and are to be jointly administered.
Schedule 1: Economic Enterprise and Employment Schedule
- Primary Industry Business Strategy
- Fishing and Acquaculture Strategy
- Agricultural Development Strategy
- Co-management of Innes National Park
- Wardang Island Boating Facility
- Dual Naming in Narungga Language
- Traffic Management Business Opportunity
- Skills and Employment Action Plan
For details of the proposed enterprises see the Buthera Agreement. Access via the url link to the Government of South Australia webpage above.
Schedule 2 of the Agreement identifies strategies to improve the Narungga People's social justice outcomes, health and wellbeing. This includes supporting Narungga culture and providing the NNAC with access to data to support joint decision making.
Schedule 2: Social Services Schedule
- Justice Strategy
- Youth Justice Strategy
- Housing Strategy
- Housing Management Strategy
- Domestic Violence Strategy
- Narungga Health Assembly Strategy
- Child Protection Strategy
- Education and Cultural Studies Strategy
For details of the proposed strategies see the Buthera Agreement. Access via the url link to the Government of South Australia webpage above.