After about 2 hours of debate the Council agreed to enter into an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with Kaurna Peoples native title claimants, and 27 other councils.
An ILUA is an agreement to facilitate the requirements of the Native Title Act 1993 about the use and management of land and waters made between people who hold, or may hold, native title in the area, and other people, organisation or governments.
The Kaurna ILUA has been developed by a Local Government Association coordinated leadership group, representing metropolitan councils and some adjoining country councils which cover the geographical area of the Kaurna peoples, and representatives of the Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation (KYAC) and the Kaurna Nation Cultural Heritage Association Incorporated (Heritage Association); over I believe a 6 year period.
This is a complex document designed to create a respectful protocol and procedures for addressing native title claims as and when they arrive. It is also designed as I understand it to bring certainty to the cost of processing any claim.
Claims already processed under the Native Title Act have been (for want of a better word) clumsily processed with costs not controlled. The potential is, as I see it and from what I have heard, that any one claim if there is no procedure to place parameters on the process and cost could cost a public utility such as a council beyond their means.
In what I felt was a no brainer, debate last night was strong land questions about legalities were prominent.
A number of councilors were under the impression that this agreement will open up the way for claims rather than being (as I indicted earlier) a facilitator for claims that can and will be made under the Act as it stands. Claims can be and have been made under the Act. The land use agreement does not change this.
Equally there were many that saw flaws in the legalese used in the document. Of course we would know more than those (including lawyers) who have been working on it for 6 years. It is to be expected that we would ask a number of questions, but for a time there, there appeared to be a resolve to rewrite the document on the night, having only been aware of its contents for less than a week.
We even debated that this would facilitate claims on private properties and that we should therefore take it out to the public for consultation before making a decision. This in-spite of being advised that the Native Titles Act extinguishes native title where the property has already been developed. Of course this also ignored the fact that it is the Native Title act that would facilitate such a claim, not the Land Use Agreement.
It was a confusing night to say the least, and we went off on tangents often. I have to say I am still trying to get a grip on what happened.
In the end I believe the right decision (vote 6 to 5) was made, a decision to be part of a process that will make addressing claims easier and more respectful and one that will restrain the cost of processing the claim.