This annual report reviews important developments in native title law and policy each year.

This report covers the period 1 July 2008 – 30 June 2009 and:

  • reviews developments in native title law and policy over the reporting period
  • considers principles and standards that should underpin cultural change in the native title system
  • highlights several aspects of the native title system in need of reform and provide options for further discussion
  • provides an update on developments in Indigenous land tenure reform.


The Report argues for significant improvements to be made to the native title system if we are to close the disadvantage gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and to achieve reconciliation.

In his final Report, Commissioner Calma outlines principles and standards that should be used to guide a new approach to native title and explains how the native title system ought to be viewed in the context of broader reforms to promote and protect the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Report makes 27 recommendations for reform of the native title system concerning several key areas, including shifting the burden of proof, more flexible approaches to connection evidence and promoting broader and more flexible native title settlement packages. The Report also comprehensively reviews land tenure reform.

Related research: Social justice report 2009

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