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Rights regained at ceremonies at Mataranka, Minyerri

Posted: Mon, November 04, 2013

Traditional Owners with Justice Mansfield at Minyerri last week.

THE Northern Land Council has hailed the recognising of native title rights for Traditional Owners at ceremonies on country last week.

Determinations of native title claims over pastoral leases in the Northern Territory have been successfully fast-tracked under a “short-form” process negotiated by the Northern Territory and Commonwealth governments, the Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association and the Northern Land Council.

The success of this new process was demonstrated at special sittings of the Federal Court at Mataranka on Tuesday, 29 October, and at Minyerri on Thursday, 31 October, where native title was formally recognised over 18 pastoral leases which cover more than 18,600 square kilometres.

At Mataranka, Justice John Mansfield made Native Title Consent Determinations over the following pastoral leases in the Dry River/Sturt Plateau region: Avago, Bloodwood Downs, Birdum Creek, Cow Creek, Dry River, Gorrie, Lakefield, Larrizona, Margaret Downs, Middle Creek, Nenen, Providence, Sunday Creek, Tarlee, Western Creek and Wyworrie.

At Minyerri, he made determinations over Broadmere and Tanumburini pastoral leases.

"We are proud of these native title achievements. Settlements like these are particularly welcome to us here in the Northern Territory where 1970s land rights largely bypassed many groups, particularly those with traditional country on pastoral leases," said NLC Acting/CEO Robert Graham.

"It is thus particularly significant that the parties here have so readily reached agreement.

"The NLC has been at the forefront of pursuing the major issues: native title in the seas, towns and pastoral leases.

"The NLC has also lodged numerous applications on behalf of traditional owners and many have been or are due for settlement. This has entailed a massive effort but it is clearly valuable work that we look forward to continuing with."

Justice Mansfield praised the work of the NLC's legal and anthropological branches for their "dedication and industry" which helped bring about the determinations.

He also recognised the Northern Territory government for dealing with the claims in a "speedy and efficient and empathetic way".

Pastoralists were also recognised for their "sensible and fair approach to the recognition of traditional rights and interests".