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Appointments to National Native Title Tribunal

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Media Release

I am pleased to announce the appointments of Mr Kevin Smith as President and Ms Katie Stride as Native Title Registrar to the National Native Title Tribunal. Both appointments were made following a merit-based selection process.

Mr Smith will be the first First Nations person to be appointed as President of the Tribunal. A Torres Strait Islander man, he has traditional connections to Ugar (Stephen Island) and Erub (Darnley Island). Mr Smith has over 28 years of professional experience in native title and First Nations law and, as a traditional owner himself, will bring invaluable perspective to the role. As President, Mr Smith will lead the Tribunal with vision, deliver complex arbitration and mediation services and oversee the delivery of the Tribunal’s diverse and important functions under the Native Title Act 1993.

Mr Smith will replace the outgoing President, The Hon John Dowsett AM KC. I thank President Dowsett for his service, and wish him well in his future endeavours.

Mr Smith’s five-year appointment will commence on 10 July 2023.

Ms Stride has worked in First Nations legal, government, court and tribunal roles for 25 years and is currently National Judicial Registrar – Native Title in the Federal Court. As Native Title Registrar and a key member of the Tribunal’s leadership team, Ms Stride will bring her extensive experience with native title claims to managing the Tribunal’s important work supporting the resolution of native title claims and disputes, and will work closely with the President.

Ms Stride will replace the outgoing Native Title Registrar, Mrs Christine Fewings. I thank Mrs Fewings for her contribution as Native Title Registrar since her appointment in 2018, and wish her well in her future endeavours. I also thank Mr Alex Ripper, who will continue acting as Native Title Registrar until Ms Stride’s commencement.

Ms Stride’s five-year appointment will commence on 7 August 2023.

I congratulate Mr Smith and Ms Stride on their appointments and am delighted that they have agreed to take on these important roles.

For more information visit the National Native Title Tribunal website.


Kevin Smith

Mr Kevin Smith has been the Chief Executive Officer of Queensland South Native Title Services since 2008. He has held senior positions with the National Native Title Tribunal, the National Secretariat of Torres Strait Islander Organisations and the Brisbane Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service. Mr Smith holds a Bachelor of Laws and has been admitted to the High Court, Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Queensland.

Katie Stride

Ms Katie Stride has worked at the Federal Court of Australia since 2016, initially as a Registrar, Native Title and since 2018 as National Judicial Registrar – Native Title. Ms Stride holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Laws and has been admitted to the High Court of Australia and the Supreme Courts of the Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia and Queensland.