On 27 August 2010 the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) considered the latest periodic report submitted to it by Australia on its compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination to which it is a signatory.
In its concluding comments on the report the Committee stated in relation to the Native Title Act that it regretted 'the persisting high standards of proof required for recognition of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and their traditional lands'.
It also stated that it regretted 'that in spite of large investment of time and resources by Indigenous peoples, many are unable to obtain recognition of their relationship to their land'.
The Committtee called upon Australia to provide more information on the issue and to 'take the necessary measures to review the requirement for such a high standard of proof'. It asked for more information on the 2009 reforms to the Native Title Act and recommended that Australia 'enhance adequate measures for effective consultation with Indigneous people around all policies affecting their lives and resources'.
The views of the Committee appear to be in line with the evolving jurisprudence on the rights of Indigenous people to land recently embodied in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.