Native title holders of two pastoral properties in the south of the Northern Territory will celebrate a native title consent determination at a special sitting of the Federal Court this week.
Justice Charlesworth will hand down a non-exclusive native title consent determination over the Andado and New Crown stations, an area of almost 20,000 square kilometres, on Thursday 24 May.
The Southern and Eastern Arrernte native title holders will celebrate the determination 10.30 am with a ceremony in the community of Aputula (Finke).
Artist and native title holder Marlene Doolan, who has lived at Aputula most of her life, will present the Central Land Council with a painting depicting connection to country, dreamings and bush foods.
“I learnt my knowledge from the old ladies who passed it down to me,” Ms Doola
n said.“My job is to teach the younger generations today to keep the culture strong.”
The native title holders belong to four family groups connected to country in the determination area: Andado, Pmere Ulperre [MUR ra OOL pura], New Crown and Therreyererte [THER errta].
Their families lived and worked on the stations from the 1890s until the 1970s and have proved that they have a continuing connection with their country.
Francine McCarthy, the Central Land Council’s manager of native title, said the determi
nation recognises native title rights, such as the rights to hunt and gather on the land and waters and to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies, as well as the right to negotiate agreements about exploration and mining.
“Both stations are subject to minerals authorities held by Tri-Star,” Ms McCarthy said.
Native title holders instructed the CLC to negotiate an agreement with the company, in response to its oil and gas exploration activities in the region, as well as proposed minerals exploration.
The CLC lodged the native title claim in 2013.
In 2016, only days before the Northern Territory election, the mines department announced it would grant the company mineral authorities for the purpose of coal exploration which would lower Tri Star’s exploration costs and improve its security of tenure.
The CLC lost an appeal against the expedited procedure in the National Native Title Tribunal and the current NT government granted the minerals authority in November 2017.
The company can start exploration without an agreement with the native title holders.
“Native title holders are trying to negotiate an agreement with the company but, unlike land rights, native title does not give them the right to veto exploration or mining,” Ms McCarthy said.
If exploration was successful and the company wanted to develop a mine it would have to apply for a mineral lease.
The Andado and New Crown leaseholders will continue to run the properties as cattle stations while the Tyatykwenhe [DUD ja corner] Aboriginal Corporation will hold the native title rights and interests for the determination area.