Native Title Representative Body (NTRB) (Australia)


A Native Title Representative Body (NTRB) is a body recognised under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (NTA). An NTRB has the powers and functions set out in s 203B of the NTA including to support Indigenous people and native title holders to make various applications under the NTA, including claimant, objection, future act and compensation applications; and to negotiate Indigenous Land Use Agreements on behalf of Indigenous parties.

Extended Definition

Part 11 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) deals with 'Representative Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Bodies' (RATSIBs, also known as 'rep. bodies' or NTRBs). Part 11, Division 3 of the Act sets out the functions of an NTRB, which relate to:
- facilitation and assistance, which includes research and preparation of native title applications and representation of native title holders and claimants in negotiations;
- certification;
- dispute resolution;
- notification;
- agreement-making; and
- internal review.
In performing these functions, the Act specifies an NTRB must 'give priority to the interests of native title holders' (s 203B(4)).

The facilitation and assistance functions are a major part of the work of rep. bodies and these are set out in section 203BB of the Act:

'The facilitation and assistance functions of a representative body are:
(a) to research and prepare native title applications, and to facilitate research into, preparation of and making of native title applications; and
(b) to assist registered native title bodies corporate, native title holders and persons who may hold native title (including by representing them or facilitating their representation) in consultations, mediations, negotiations and proceedings relating to the following:
(i) native title applications;
(ii) future acts;
(iii) Indigenous land use agreements or other agreements in relation to native title;
(iv) rights of access conferred under this Act or otherwise;
(v) any other matters relating to native title or to the operation of this Act.'

However these functions can only be carried out when requested by the native title parties.

The joint Native Title Representative Bodies web site describes the role of representative bodies as 'primarily service delivery agencies who are responsible for servicing the needs of their clients in an effective and equitable manner. Those clients are the persons who hold or may hold native title in their area.'