Larrakia Elders left out of land claim lose court battle
SENIOR Larrakia Elders who say they should have been recognised as traditional owners in the Kenbi Land Claim to the Cox Peninsula have lost a High Court battle where they argued the land use agreement was invalid.
The long-running Kenbi claim, which was originally filed in 1979, was signed off in 2016 when about 52,000 hectares of the Cox Peninsula was transferred to the family of Larrakia traditional owner Raylene Singh.
However, other Larrakia Elders, Tibby Quall and Eric Fejo, took legal action against the Northern Land Council (NLC) and its then chief executive Joe Morrison, saying he did not have the right to certify the Indigenous Land use Agreement (ILUA) handing over the land, and that the NLC should expand the land claim to recognise other Larrakia families.
After Mr Quall and Mr Fejo won a Federal Court appeal which found the chief executive of the NLC did not have the appropriate power to certify the ILUA, the NLC appealed to the High Court, which today unanimously found the chief executive in fact did have the power to sign-off the land claim.
In a statement, the NLC welcomed the decision, saying it "will help restore confidence in the ability of the Northern Territory's two representative bodies, the Northern Land Council and the Central Land Council, to perform their native title functions in an accountable and efficient way."
"The 2016 settlement agreement includes a package of extensive benefits for the
traditional Aboriginal owners and the broader Larrakia community," the statement said.
"Contrary to certain claims in the media, the majority of Larrakia people are strongly
supportive of the settlement agreement and are growing impatient with the ongoing
delays in implementation.
"Mr Quall and Mr Fejo's appeal about the certification of the Kenbi ILUA will now be
returned to the Federal Court to be determined in accordance with the High Court's
Originally published as Larrakia Elders left out of Kenbi land claim lose court battle