Abstract: The lessons of the resource curse case studies for the institution and policy environment in Australia are explored in this article, drawing on research conducted on the negotiation and implementation of agreements with indigenous Australians. We show how the resource curse theories are partially applicable in areas in which Australian indigenous communities neighbour mining operations and outline the legal frameworks in Australia that apply especially in native title matters. Also, we include in our analysis the application of the concept of the 'social licence to operate' that informs the mining industry relationship with these communities. We also discuss the way that these practices form the basis of the industry's approach to 'corporate social responsibility', which, along with legal compliance with the statutory framework, are intended to ameliorate the disadvantages faced by those communities. Despite these reforms, however, little socio-economic improvement has been made in these communities and we look to the inequitable distribution of impacts on local peoples, issues of rent seeking and substitution, and the potential impacts of low levels of economic diversification, as explanations. Finally, we consider what institutional and other reforms might be effective in these circumstances.