The Native Title Research Unit (NTRU) was established through a collaboration between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and AIATSIS in 1993 in response to the High Court decision in Mabo v Queensland (No.2) (1992), which recognises Indigenous peoples' rights to land under the legal concept of native title. The NTRU's activities are currently supported through a funding agreement with the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA).
The NTRU provides high quality independent research and policy advice in order to promote the recognition and protection of the native title of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. We facilitate access to the Institute's records, materials and collections and publish the results of our research both as a source of public information and academic publication.
Located within the wider AIATSIS Research program, the NTRU aims to provide ongoing monitoring of outcomes and developments in native title; independent assessment of the impact of policy and legal developments; longitudinal research and case study research designed to feed into policy development; ethical community based and responsible research practice; theoretical background for policy development; recommendations for policy development; and policy advocacy designed to influence thinking and practice.
The quality, independence and ethics of the research of the NTRU is subject to the oversight of the Native Title Research Advisory Committee, the AIATSIS statutory Research Advisory Committee and the AIATSIS Council.
The NTRU works on a number of major Research Projects often in collaboration with Indigenous individuals or organisations. Our research projects are grouped by the following themes of: Agreement Making; Connections; Corporations; Development and Tax; Land and Water; Law; and Negotiation and Mediation.
The NTRU organises the annual Native Title Conference which is co-convened by the local Native Title Representative Body (NTRB) or Native Title Service Provider (NTSP) and hosted by the local traditional owners upon whose country the conference is held.
The NTRU also holds workshops each year on issues relating to native title, and from time to time, staff of the NTRU convene and or participate in the AIATSIS Seminar Series.
The NTRU seeks to make information about native title as accessible as possible. We do this by providing copies of the following resources available through the Resources, Publications and Projects sections of this website:
The Native Title Research and Access Officer provides expert advice and access assistance to native title clients on the holdings of the AIATSIS Library and Audiovisual Archives. Services offered include: