Federal Court decision welcomed

Date: May 23, 2023

Publication Type: Media Releases

Subject: Land Rights

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The Northern Land Council welcomes the decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court, paving the way for the Gove Peninsula Yolŋu native title case and associated compensation claim to be heard.

Quotes attributable to Northern Land Council’s Chair, Dr Samuel Bush-Blanasi:

Yesterday’s decision, subject to appeal, is a significant procedural step.

It confirmed a range of acts historically undertaken on Yolgnu land did not extinguish native title rights on the Gove Peninsula.

It is also heartening to see the Full Federal Court uphold the decision in Wurridjal v Commonwealth (2009) that property in the Northern Territory, including First Nation interests in land, cannot be compulsory acquired without compensation.  

This may have significant ongoing implications for Traditional Owners and native title holders.

The finding is one step on what could be a long path to just compensation for the bauxite mining on Yolŋu land.

As we mourn the loss of Yunupingu who served as our Chair for almost a quarter of a century, the decision is also a poignant reminder of his foresight, tenacity and ongoing legacy.

Thumbnail image: Christian Sprogoe Photography