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Native title report urges new approach to prosperity

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 8 April 2005

A report into native title agreements has recommended a new approach to lifting the prosperity of Indigenous communities.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Tom Calma, has released a report on the operation of native title laws.

Commissioner Calma says he intends to discuss with Commonwealth, state and territory governments options for the native title system, including the selling and leasing of Indigenous land.

"Native title has been distanced from debate about addressing Indigenous disadvantage and has not been considered a tool for achieving economic prosperity," he said.

"This needs to change."

Commissioner Calma also says he has put the Federal Government on notice that he will closely monitor the administration of Indigenous affairs.

He says the abolition of ATSIC and the "main streaming" of the administration of Indigenous programs raises many challenges for governments.

"There's a number of ways of being able to, in the immediate term, of addressing the needs of getting a representative Indigenous voice to government," he said.

"That is by holding a number of national conferences each year where people, representative bodies can express their views and government can listen to those views."

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