Changes to the Commonwealth’s Native Title Respondent Funding Scheme

Changes to the Commonwealth’s Native Title Respondent Funding Scheme

On 1 November 2013 the Attorney General announced revisions to the eligibility requirements for financial assistance in relation to the legal representation costs of respondents to native title claims under its Native Title Respondent Funding Scheme. In early 2013 changes to the Scheme by the Labor government significantly narrowed the availability of financial assistance to native title respondent parties such as pastoralists, local councils, commercial fishers and miners. The Coalition Government’s new revisions, which are effective 1 January 2014, have reinstated the eligibility criteria that were in place prior to Labor’s 2013 changes.

The Government has approved $2.2 million over two years to fund the new eligibility criteria. Assistance will continue to be available for disbursements under the revised Scheme and limited funding will also be available to assist organisations with the cost of employing native title officers.

Further details, including copies of the new eligibility guidelines and transitional arrangements are available here.

Hunt & Humphry has significant experience providing legal assistance to respondent parties under the Native Title Respondent Funding Scheme. Please contact us if if you would like advice in relation to your eligibility, or require assistance putting together an application for financial assistance under the revised Scheme.

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