Session 4

John Southalan and Olivia Norris

Protecting materials used in Court proceedings

Who can have access to statements and materials given to the Federal Court in native title proceedings? In the course of a native title case documents with sensitive cultural information are often filed in the court, such as witness statements and anthropology reports. Many of these documents become  exhibits as formal evidence during the proceedings, which assists the presentation of the case, but exposes the information to being known to more people and potentially even becoming a public document that anyone can read. This session considers what protections are available to anthropological material after the native title proceedings have finished.

Olivia Norris has worked at Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation since January 2005 and has spent more than six of those years based in the Pilbara as a field anthropologist. She is currently Deputy Director of Research and Heritage at YMAC, based in Perth.

John Southalan is a lawyer who has worked in human rights and native title issues since 1998, including at Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation (YMAC) and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. He currently works with YMAC in Perth, and teaches a post-graduate course by correspondence through Dundee University. John volunteers with several non-government organisations, and is on the Board of the Centre for Native Title Anthropology. John also writes on human rights, resources and provides quarterly updates to the Native Title Service publication of LexisNexis Australia.

Simon Davis

Collaborative land-use planning and development of Aboriginal settlements in Western Australia  a case study

Developing housing and infrastructure for Aboriginal settlements, especially those outside of urban areas, is often subject inter alia to native title, heritage, and land tenure constraints. Identifying key land-use constraints (and opportunities) such as these, preferably in collaboration with the relevant community, is an important element in producing a useful land-use plan that can be implemented as opposed to a plan that sits on the shelf.

Town planners do not yet readily consider native title or Aboriginal heritage constraints, other than recognising that where those matters need to be addressed they generally complicate and/or delay project schedules (which is the developer's rather than the planner's concern anyway). Consequently native title and Aboriginal heritage matters have usually been peripheral to the discipline of town planning (just as land-use planning as a subject of inquiry is generally marginal to applied and academic anthropology in Australia). Land use planning is however similar to native title inasmuch as both are substantively about the identification, formalisation and regulation of land-based interests.

Looking at the planning and development of regional and remote Aboriginal settlements in Western Australia, this presentation discusses the statutory basis for collaboration between town planners and native title and other interests. It notes that recent changes to planning policy provide recognition of registered native title interests in the State's Planning Framework. It also notes the Indigenous Land Use Agreements being negotiated between the State Government and native title parties to facilitate development of Aboriginal settlements. The presentation concludes by discussing the potential utility of applying anthropological knowledge and approaches to land-use planning and development in contexts where native title and Aboriginal heritage are primary considerations.

Simon Davis is an anthropologist and town planner. He has worked as a native title researcher compiling connection material for UWA's Centre for Anthropological Research, Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation, and Central Queensland Land Council. Simon has also worked as a Senior Planner with the Planning for Aboriginal Communities Project at WA's Department of Planning. In this role he co-produced land use plans for some 30 Aboriginal settlements (primarily in the east and west Kimberley regions) and coordinated revision of State Planning Policy 3.2 'Aboriginal Settlements'. Simon is currently the Native Title and Heritage Coordinator at WA's Department of State Development, where he is responsible for identifying and addressing native title and heritage issues in the planning and development of major infrastructure.