An Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) is an agreement between a native title group and others about the use and management of land and waters.
These agreements allow people to negotiate flexible, pragmatic agreements to suit their particular circumstances.
The advantage of an ILUA is its flexibility- it can be tailored to suit the needs of those involved and their particular land use issues. It is also a faster way of resolving native title issues: on average, it takes about two years longer to pursue a native title claim through the courts than it does to sit down and negotiate a settlement.
By making agreements, Indigenous Australians can gain benefits such as employment, compensation and recognition of their native title. Other parties to the agreement can obtain the use of land for development or other purposes.
An ILUA allows developments on land to happen independently of any application for a determination of native title or before a determination of native title is reached.
ILUAs have shown that they can help create and foster good relations between commercial proponents, government parties and native title groups.
Examples of some outcomes from ILUAs include:
- consulting local people about planning decisions
- regenerating native species relating to bush medicine
- restricting vehicle access to protect Indigenous cultural sites
- job opportunities and training programs for local Indigenous people.
Courts are not involved in the ILUA process - it is conducted between the parties who wish to negotiate the agreement. To gain statutory recognition, these agreements must be registered on the Tribunal's Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements.