National Native Title Council (NNTC)
In June and July 2011 I completed an internship as part of the Aurora Native Title Internship Program at the National Native Title Council (NNTC). It was a wonderful addition to my student career and I would highly recommend the experience to others. The staff involved were professional and warm and a placement at the NNTC it is a wonderful opportunity for students and graduates interested in native title, research, policy and indigenous affairs.
In April 2010 I applied for the winter internship with the Aurora Project. The Aurora Project focuses on providing professional development, internships and other support to people working at Native Title Representative Bodies (NTRBs), as well as at other organisations working in land rights, social justice, human right and Indigenous affairs more generally. Internships are offered in three streams: law, anthropology and some social sciences.
Once accepted by the internship program, I was eligible for placement at one of its host organisations. As mentioned, there are a variety of hosts around Australia where interns can be assigned. I was placed at the NNTC under the legal stream for five weeks.
At the NNTC I had two supervisors, CEO Brian Wyatt and Senior Administrative Officer Carolyn Betts. I also spent much of my placement with two other Aurora interns.
At the office I was provided with my own desk, a laptop and relevant materials such as copies of legislation.
Upon arrival a new set of research tasks had been released and as interns we were able to select projects that matched our interests. I was initially set up with two major research projects. One involved a report on the Australian Greens party Native Title Amendment (Reform) Bill 2011. The second involved an evaluation of the consistency of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. By the end of the internship I had written about 5,000 words on each topic.
Other tasks included accompanying Brian Wyatt during meetings (including with members of Rio Tinto), gathering material for speeches and brainstorming about the future of the Australian native title regime.
Although the NNTC is a separate body from Native Title Services Victoria (NTSV), the two organisations are housed in the same building. This allowed me to liaise and network with members of another organisation, which was an opportunity to encourage further prospects for employment and other industry opportunities.
Work in Indigenous affairs is highly rewarding and engaging. Furthermore, confidence is important when applying for graduate positions and industry experience helps in this regard.
I encourage all students able to pursue involvement with the Aurora Project to apply for the 2011/12 summer round. Applications are open from August 8 through 2 September on-line via the website at www.auroraproject.com.au