Native title recognised
The lengthy native title process has once again been brought into question as another determination was settled last week in the Pilbara.
The Ngarlawang0ga people celebrated recognition of their land and culture at a Federal Court hearing held in Tom Price last Wednesday after 11 years of legal proceedings.
Federal Court Justice Michael Barker made the consent determination recognising the Ngarlawangga people’s claim to the non-exclusive rights to the area of land.
Ngarlawangga traditional owner Dianne Limerick said the journey towards native title determination had been long and hard.
“We have lost much family in this time, both elders and young ones,” she said.
“Today we finally have a happy ending as our country has been returned to us.”
Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Simon Hawkins said the day was a celebration for the Ngarlawangga people despite the lengthy process.
“After 11 long years of legal process they have finally gained the recognition of a part of their country which was previously denied,” he said.
The comments echoed those made at the recent Kuruma country determination where traditional owners lamented the loss of elders who had been pivotal in their 18-year fight for rights.
Attorney-General Michael Mischin said WA led the nation in recognising native title rights, with native title determined over more than 1.26 million square kilometres of the State.
“This determination provides for the recognition of non-exclusive possession native title rights and interests in relation to the Ngarlawangga native title application area,” he said.
“I congratulate the Ngarlawangga people on their achievement, and look forward to establishing an enduring relationship between the Government and the Ngarlawangga community to discuss opportunities to build a sustainable and productive future.”
Mr Mischin said the Ngarlawangga determination was the 64th determination in WA and the 12th since December last year. The Ngarlawangga native title determination application covers about 6100sqkm of land within the Shires of East Pilbara and Meekatharra.
The Ngarlawangga Aboriginal Corporation will continue to administer the Ngarlawangga people’s business as their nominated prescribed body corporate.