Native Title internship provides wealth of experience

The Aurora Native Title Internship Program offered a wealth of experience for Griffith University Law and Arts double degree student Rachael Willett.

Earlier this year Rachael, packed her bags and flew to Perth for a month to undertake a legal internship at one of Aurora’s host organisations, the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation (WDLAC).

WDLAC is the Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) for the Martu people.

It holds in trust their native title rights and interests, including the right to exclusive use, occupation and possession of their 136,000 square kilometres of determined native title land in Western Australia’s Western Desert.

Rachael says the internship provided a range of great legal experience, which will stay with her throughout her career.

“I worked primarily on analysing the proposed reforms to the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972 (WA), and how these changes would affect PBCs like WDLAC,” said Rachel.

“This involved consulting with the Western Australian government and Indigenous stakeholders about the changes.

“I also was able to conduct some extensive research on the recent history of the Martu people, using the research skills gained from both my Law and Arts degrees.”

Rachael also looked into education reforms occurring in Aboriginal communities across Australia, which is a key area of interest for the Martu board and community.

She said it was great to be able to get such a range of experience.

“I really value this opportunity, and the chance to really sink my teeth into the work. I really felt like I was part of the team at WDLAC,” she said

“Based on such a fulfilling experience, I would encourage anyone interested in native title, or Indigenous affairs and social justice issues more generally, to apply for an Aurora internship.

“The Aurora Native Title Internship Program has links to many organisations across Australia, meaning there’s myriads of experiences to be gained.”

Applications for the upcomingSummer 2014/15 round of internships open Monday 4 August, and close Friday 29 August 2014.

For more information visit the Aurora Project website.