Native Title rights and interests relate to land and waters that are held by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples under their traditional laws and customs, and recognised by common law. Native Title may exist in cases where this connection has
remained substantially uninterrupted since British colonisation. Particular rights and interests may include the right to live and camp in the area, conduct ceremonies, hunt and fish, build shelter, and visit places of cultural importance.
The Federal and High Courts, in conjunction with state governments and Native Title Representative Bodies (that represent Aboriginal claimants) determine whether Native Title does or does not exist in given areas and whether a claim to land has been accepted.
Applicants in this category are:
- the State of Western Australia through the Department of Premier and Cabinet Aboriginal Policy and Coordination Unit (APCU) and the State Solicitor’s Office;
- Aboriginal organisations representing a native title claim registered with the National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) — (usually Representative Bodies under the Native Title Act 1994); and
- individuals representing a registered native title claim.
The department manages access to records for Native Title applicants under the Native Title Access Policy. This policy also manages access to records held by the department that, under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972, documents information on Aboriginal