28/10/2009 - 08:57

State wins Pilbara native title case

28/10/2009 - 08:57

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The state government has been successful in its application to dismiss two native title claims over land in the Pilbara, including the towns of Dampier, Karratha, Wickam, and Point Samson.

State wins Pilbara native title case

The state government has been successful in its application to dismiss two native title claims over land in the Pilbara, including the towns of Dampier, Karratha, Wickam, and Point Samson.

 

The announcement is below:

 

The State Government has been successful in its application to dismiss two native title claims over land in the Pilbara, including the towns of Dampier, Karratha, Wickam, and Point Samson.

The Federal Court this week ruled that the Wong-goo-tt-oo people's claim could not be sustained at law and dismissed the application.

Parts of the Yaburara and Mardudhunera people's claim that related to land within Dampier and Karratha were also dismissed on a similar basis.

Attorney General Christian Porter has welcomed the court's decision.

"The decision brings clarity to the region, leaving just one claimant group, the Ngarluma people, to deal with for future Act matters such as land releases, public works and the construction of infrastructure," Mr Porter said.

In May 2004, the Ngarluma people were determined as the native title holders for the area surrounding Karratha, Wickam, and Point Samson and have since filed a new claim over the Pilbara towns.

The Attorney General said that it was important to the State Government that the overlapping applications be resolved.

"While the Liberal-National Government fully supports native title and the land aspirations of indigenous people, it must, in the interests of all Western Australians, ensure that it is dealing with the right people for country," he said.

"Registered native title applicants have procedural rights that not only give them the right to protect country but also the right to compensation when Government Acts extinguish their native title.

"In his 2004 decision, Justice Nicholson found that the Wong-goo-tt-oo people were not a native title holding group and determined that it was the Ngarluma people and not the Wong-goo-tt-oo or Yaburara Mardudhunera people that held native title in the areas surrounding the four Pilbara towns.

"The State Government believed that this ruling precluded any prospect of success for the remainder of the Wong-goo-tt-oo people's claim and for the parts of the Yaburara Mardudhunera people's claim which related to Karratha and Dampier, and asked that the Federal Court dismiss the claims accordingly.

"It is pleasing that the Federal Court has dismissed the applications and that there is now one group of people who have claimed native title rights over the area.

"The State Government looks forward to working closely with the Ngarluma people to resolve their claim over the Pilbara towns, by agreement if possible."

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