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High Court’s Timber Creek decision "appropriate, fair and just"

Native Title & Public Interest Law
Bridgid Cowling web 1

In an opinion article published in Fairfax newspapers today, Senior Associate Bridgid Cowling explains how the High Court’s Timber Creek decision helps us understand the impact of extinguishment on native title rights.

The decision, handed down earlier this month, has been described as the most significant native title ruling since the 1992 Mabo Decision.
It will see the native title holders compensated for rights that were extinguished through the building of roads and infrastructure by the Northern Territory Government in the 1980s and 1990s.
The compensation covers both economic loss and cultural loss, caused by the diminution of the native title holders’ connection to country.
“Twenty years after the native title claim was first lodged, the High Court of Australia has not only understood and recognised the native title rights of the Ngaliwurru and Nungali Peoples - it has found an elegant way to understand the impact of the extinguishment of those rights, and to put a dollar figure on it,” Bridgid explains.
“Statements that native title holders around the country will be inspired by the Timber Creek decision to make a flood of compensation claims should be viewed with extreme caution.  
“Those with long enough memories will remember that we’ve experienced this kind of unwarranted hysteria before. 
“Thankfully we’ve moved on as a country since those dark days.”
To read Bridgid’s full article, click here

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