The Timber Creek Native Title Compensation Decision and Comprehensive Regional Settlements

Co-hosted with The National Native Title Council

Tuesday, 17 December
10.00am - 2.30pm

Room 920
Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton

The High Court’s Timber Creek Native Title Compensation decision (Northern Territory v Griffiths [2019] HCA 7) was perhaps the most significant development in the native title sector since the Wik Peoples decision in 1996. While the decision posed many challenges for native title holders, governments (at all levels) and industry, it could also facilitate many opportunities that could transform native title processes in this country. The seminar provided an opportunity for policy shapers from the native title sector, industry and government to explore these challenges and opportunities in a collegial, intimate “Chatham House” environment.

Keynote Contributor:

Mr Kevin Smith, CEO Queensland South Native Title Services

Kevin is a descendant of the Meriam Peoples of the Torres Strait with traditional connections to Ugar (Stephen Island) and Erub (Darnley Island). Kevin has over 20 years of professional experience in Indigenous affairs, including senior positions with the National Secretariat of Torres Strait Islander Organisations, the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service, the National Native Title Tribunal, the National Native Title Council and Aboriginal Hostels Limited (AHL).

In 2008, Kevin successfully led the amalgamation and incorporation of the former Gurang and Greater Mount Isa Native Title Representative Body areas into Queensland South Native Title Services (QSNTS). Kevin holds qualifications in both law and business management from the University of Queensland. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1994.


Dr Debbie Fletcher, Deputy Registrar – National Native Title Tribunal

Dr Debbie Fletcher joined the National Native Title Tribunal in July 2013 and is currently the Deputy Registrar. Prior to joining the Tribunal, Dr Fletcher was the Manager, Land Access and Kimberley at the Chamber of Minerals and Energy. For the majority of her career she worked for the State Governments of Western Australia (WA) and New South Wales, and held the position of Director of Policy and Research in the WA Office of Native Title at the end of her tenure. Dr Fletcher has assessed many connection reports, prepared expert reports for the Federal Court and appeared in court in native title claims for both the State and applicants. Dr Fletcher’s PhD qualifications were awarded for a thesis which examined Aboriginal land access and the relationship with Government policies from the time of settlement until 2010.

Professor Marcia Langton AM – University of Melbourne

Professor Marcia Langton B.A. (Hons) ANU, PhD Macq. U., A.M., F.A.S.S.A. was appointed Associate Provost at The Univerity of Melbourne in 2017 and has held the Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at The University of Melbourne since February 2000. As an anthropologist and geographer, Professor Langton has made a significant contribution to government and non-government policy as well as to Indigenous studies at three universities. She has produced an extensive body of knowledge in the areas of political and legal anthropology, Indigenous agreements and engagement with the minerals industry, and Indigenous culture and art. Her 2012 Boyer lectures titled ‘The Quiet Revolution: Indigenous People and the Resources Boom' is one of her recent contributions to public debate, and have added to her influence and reputation in government and private sector circles. In 1993 she was made a member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her work in anthropology and the advocacy of Aboriginal rights. Professor Langton is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, a Fellow of Trinity College, Melbourne and an Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel College at The University of Queensland. In 2016 Professor Langton is honoured as a University of Melbourne Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor.