The Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 is an out-of-court settlement of native title and delivery of land justice in Victoria. The Act allows the Victorian Government to recognise Traditional Owners and certain rights, through a Recognition and Settlement Agreement (RSA).

Benefits of a Recognition and Settlement Agreement

Benefits of a RSA can include:

  • Increased economic and social opportunities for Traditional Owners.
  • Building stronger partnerships with Aboriginal Victorians, strengthening communities and cultural identify.

Components of an agreement package

A RSA is entered into by the Victorian Government and Traditional Owners, to recognise a Traditional Owner group and certain Traditional Owner rights over Crown land. The agreement package can include:

  • Land Agreement – formalises the handing back of land to the Traditional Owner group. Select National Parks and reserves can become jointly managed.
  • Land Use Activity Agreement – allows Traditional Owners to comment on or consent to certain activities on public land.
  • Natural Resource Agreement – provides for Traditional Owners' rights to access and use specific natural resources and participate in the management of land and natural resources.

Interaction with the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)

Native title is the recognition in Australian law that some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to hold rights and interests in land and water. Traditional Owners can seek determination of native title under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) through the Federal Court.

The Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 enables the Victorian Government and Traditional Owners to make agreements that recognise Traditional Owners and their rights. Under an agreement, Federal native title claim are withdrawn and no claims can be lodged in the future.

Visit the National Native Title Tribunal for more information.

The Victorian Government's role in native title claims is led by the Department of Premier and Cabinet. DEECA provides support as the Crown land manager, including conducting tenure assessments.

View the history of native title claims in Victoria.

View all agreements with Traditional Owners.

Page last updated: 23/08/23