Native Title recognised at Borroloola

Date: Nov 24, 2015

Publication Type: Media Releases

​THE Federal Court has determined that Aboriginal people in the Gulf country of the Northern Territory have native title rights over six pastoral leases which cover more than 15,000 square kilometres of coastal and inland country.

The leases are Greenbank, Manangoora, Spring Creek, Seven Emu, Pungalina and Woollogorang.

About 300 traditional owners and native title holders, and their families, gathered on the bank of the McArthur River at Borroloola this morning, where Justice John Mansfield congratulated the Northern Land Council, the Northern Territory Government and pastoral lessees for having agreed by consultation and consent that native title exists over the six pastoral leases.

NLC Chairman Samuel Bush-Blanasi noted that four of the lessees are Aboriginal people and will enjoy exclusive native title rights to their land.

On the other two leases, native title holders have also secured the right to negotiate in respect of any future non-pastoral uses of the land – for example, mineral and petroleum activities.

Mr Bush-Blanasi reminded the crowd that the Aboriginal people of the Gulf country had a long history of attempting to get their rights organised, "against a sorry history of brutal and often bloody occupation".

The first claim under the Northern Territory Aboriginal Land Rights Act was heard at Borroloola, nearly 40 years ago.