New member for National Native Title Tribunal

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon has announced the appointment of Ms Valerie Cooms to the National Native Title Tribunal.

“I congratulate Ms Cooms on her appointment to the Tribunal,” Ms Roxon said.

“The Tribunal now has a greater focus on mediation and arbitration of future acts, which are activities or developments that may affect native title, such as the granting of mining leases.

“The appointment closely follows the introduction of legislative changes to make the native title system fairer and more flexible.

“I am pleased that the Tribunal will be able to benefit from Ms Cooms’ experience in land management and Indigenous affairs at this significant time.”

The Tribunal is responsible for a wide range of functions under the Native Title Act 1993, including mediation and arbitration of future act matters, and the registration of claimant applications and Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs).

Ms Cooms will be appointed to the Tribunal as a full-time member for a five-year term from February 2013, based in the Brisbane registry. She will replace Dr Gaye Sculthorpe who has been a Member of the Tribunal based in Melbourne since 2000.

”I thank Dr Sculthorpe for over a decade of service to the Tribunal and, in particular, her considerable achievements in the mediation of claims in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales,” Ms Roxon said. Ms Cooms belongs to the Nunukul people of North Stradbroke Island. She has extensive experience leading Indigenous affairs organisations in the community and government sectors.

Ms Cooms joins Tribunal Members Ms Helen Shurven and Mr Daniel O’Dea who were recently reappointed for five-year terms from November and December 2012 respectively. Both members will continue to be based in the Tribunal’s Perth office.

“I congratulate Ms Shurven and Mr O’Dea on their re-appointment and commitment to delivering timely and practical outcomes for Indigenous communities,” Ms Roxon added.

Read the Media Release and Professional biographies on each of the appointees.

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The National Native Title Tribunal assists people to facilitate timely and effective native title outcomes through delivery of a wide range of services. Find out more about the National Native Title Tribunal by visiting their website.