Our Native Title rights have been recognised over many portions of pastoral leases and Crown Land covering Alyawarr land through the Native Title Act (Cth) 1993.
Native Title registration decisions include Sandover River (DC2001/069).Native Title determinations include Sandover River (DCD2014/010); Ooratippra (DCD2011/001); Lake Nash (DCD2012/014); and Davenport/Murchison (DCD2004/001).
For an overview of the native title consent determination for exclusive possession of Ooratippra pastoral lease, click here. To read Justice Reeves decision in relation to it, click here. To view an ABC article on Ooratippra, click here.
The Native Title Act has been interpreted by Australian Courts in a much more restrictive way than Aboriginal rights have been interpreted in Canada. The Ward and Yorta Yorta cases in 2002 imposed a strict statutory construction of the Act. The onus of proof, which requires traditional owners to prove their connection led to a perverse outcome in Yorta Yorta and Chief Justice French and others have called for this to be reversed.
Importantly however, the establishment of pastoral leases in Western Australia and the Northern Territory has been found not to extinguish all native title rights. Notwithstanding, Native Title has failed to deliver on initial prospects for increasing economic prosperity and a domestic treaty that provides for the return of our lands is now being sought.
Instead of litigating around Native Title rights, Indigenous Land Use Agreements can be negotiated. For more information, click here