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Moving Ahead

Join the Stronger Partners Stronger Futures discussion.

Working paper_Moving AheadCo-designing the Future ‘Moving Ahead’ – the current stage of the Stronger Partner Stronger Futures program – has been developed to maintain a joint approach to developing solutions that will provide the best possible outcomes for everyone, and foster informed consultation and participation.

To start this work the Co-designing the Future Working Paper – Moving Ahead (PDF 4.6 MB) was released in August 2018. It discusses all of the issues raised at the October 2017 Workshop, suggests specific actions for progress, and clarifies the actions we need from participants to develop detailed solutions for the consideration of all parties.

To join the Moving Ahead process, interested parties are encouraged to request access to the SPSF Moving Ahead interactive website. Here project partners can work individually or collectively to submit ideas for reform and comment on any new documents, systems, tools, strategies or processes developed, in a way that others can see and respond.

Contact to request access to the SPSF Moving Ahead Project Partners website.

The Moving Ahead website (Fig. 1) is based on the Working Paper. It has a separate section for each topic, which includes recommended reading, draft documents such as a new template, process, protocol or strategy for comment and place for discussion. Project partners can review and comment on the information presented, or develop their own documents and submit them for discussion.

The SPSF team will review all responses, provide new drafts of documents for feedback, and when complete, submit the recommended draft to the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee, made up of representatives of government, native title groups, explorers, cultural heritage professionals and relevant peak bodies is our high-level reference group for this stage of the program. The Steering Committee has been formed in response to general agreement at the Workshop for joint oversight to monitor the progress of the work we are doing, provide direction and recommend which actions for change best suit all parties.

Screenshot of SPSF homepage

Figure 1. Screenshot of the Stronger Partners Stronger Futures Moving Ahead website. Sign up to work as a project partner to access.

In addition, the SPSF team will continue to meet with native title groups and explorers as required and assist parties (where requested) to make submissions.

The suggestions for change will be presented at the final Co-designing the Future forum in 2019 for discussion and endorsement.

At the conclusion of this process, with continued input from the Steering Committee, the final recommendations as to the way forward will be published so that everyone can see what is being proposed.

If you need more information or wish to discuss becoming a project partner contact Heidi Crow by email or phone +61 8 8429 2561.


The Mineral Resources Division of the Department for Energy and Mining established Stronger Partners Stronger Futures in 2016 to forge better relationships between government, Aboriginal communities and the mineral exploration industry, and to identify collaborative solutions to support the interaction between native title rights and interests, Aboriginal heritage protection and mineral exploration.

The first stage of the project culminated with the 2017 Co-designing the Future Workshop and concluded consultation on the challenges faced by native title groups and explorers in using our native title system for mineral exploration.

At the close of the Workshop, there was clear agreement to work together on a number of recommendations to identify practical, beneficial co-designed solutions for the following issues:

  • developing tools that address the need for culturally competent engagement
  • creating more comprehensive information resources, guidelines and engagement materials
  • greater consultation between all parties at key times in the exploration program
  • support for economic development for Aboriginal people to participate in the resource industry
  • operation of Part 9B of the Mining Act 1971, the right to negotiate scheme and the expedited procedure.

It was agreed that meaningful change will require a commitment from all parties to continue to work together in good faith and respectfully consider each other’s point of view. In this way, we can collectively identify what the future might look like and develop a system that recognises the needs of all parties.

Not all change can be made through legislation. Practical and effective change can be achieved in a number of ways, ranging from legislative and policy change to making simple improvements by providing better advice, committing to open and honest communication, building cultural competency and working to create better and stronger relationships.

In considering potential new regulatory approaches, the Mineral Resources Division understands that explorers need predictable procedures for access to land, security of tenure and predictable regulation; and native title groups need confidence in government’s regulatory processes and environmental controls, and confidence in explorers’ performance. It is clear there are currently many productive working relationships between native title groups and explorers, and learning from these examples will help identify good practice.

If you have not been involved to date we recommend that you read:

– Heidi Crow, October 2018

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