The Regulation of Natural Resources Law in Australia for Indigenous People

  • Ros Vickers School of Law Charles Darwin University
Keywords: The Regulation, Natural Resources Law, Indigenous People


Natural resources law in Australia seeks to regulate, protect and conserve natural resources, while providing consideration to the economic value of projects and permit activities to occur. The same environmental laws apply to indigenous peoples as well as other members of the public in Australia. However the recognition of native title rights and sacred sites through legislation can acknowledge the special relationship that indigenous people have with the environment through traditional laws and customs. Indigenous people have a special relationship with their environment that does not easily fall within categories of western values of the environment, and for this reason there is often tension between the common law legal system and indigenous people. While there has been significant process working towards a more harmonious regulatory system of natural resources, there is still work to be done. This paper will outline the structure of indigenous rights impacting natural resource regulation in Australia, focusing on the Northern Territory, and will examine the origins of environmental law and indigenous rights


Legal Documents
Australia, Northern Territory, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Australia, Northern Territory, The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984
Australia, the Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act. Asutralia, The Native Title Act 1993
Australia, Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)
Mabo and ors v. Queensland (No. 2)(1992) 175 CLR 1,3 June 1992
Paragraph 83 of the judgement of Yanner v Eaton (1999) 105 LGERA 71
s12(2) of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act
Section 46 of the Land Rights Act
Section 3 of the Native Title Act (Cth)1993

Book and Journal
Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority v OM (Manganese) Ltd.
MacInnes, A., Colchester, M., Whitmore, A., 2017, “Free, Prior and Informed Consent: How to Rectify the Devastating Consequences of Harmful Mining for Indigenous Peoples’,” Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation, Volume 15, Issue 3, July–September.
McCormack, P, 2018, Biodiversity Conservation Law and Climate Change, 92 ALJ 839
Triggs, Gillian, 1999, "Australia's Indigenous Peoples and International Law: Validity of the Native Title Amendment Act 1988 (Cth)" [1999] MelbULawRw 16; 23(2) Melbourne University Law Review 372
UN press release dated April 2013, sourced from: https://www., accessed on 23 October 201
How to Cite
Vickers, R. (2020). The Regulation of Natural Resources Law in Australia for Indigenous People. Jambe Law Journal, 2(2), 99-117.