Justice Debbie Mortimer and Eadie Holmes celebrate the Sandover native title determination at Honeymoon Bore.

Alyawarr and Kaytetye speakers from 19 land holding groups this week won recognition of their native title rights over 18,800 square kilometers of land in the Sandover region.

The determination area incorporates Ammaroo, Derry Downs, Murray Downs and Elkedra Perpetual Pastoral Leases (PPLs). 

Justice Mortimer handed down the native title determination by consent of the parties at a special sitting of the Federal Court at Honeymoon Bore, near Ampilatwatja community, approximately 325 kilometres northeast of Alice Springs. 

“The groups’ right to hunt and gather, to conduct cultural activities and ceremonies and to negotiate about ‘future acts’ like mining will now co-exist with the pastoral leases and the PPLs will continue to be run as cattle stations,” explained CLC director David Ross. 

CLC chair Francis Kelly and Mr Ross congratulated the native title holders and paid tribute to the claimants who have passed away during the claim process. 

Mr Ross said the CLC filed the native title application 13 years ago in response to traditional owners’ concerns over future mining and horticultural development on their land.

“They wanted to ensure they would be able to continue to protect their sacred sites and to have a say over exploration and development on their traditional country.” he said. 

“Our children will rise up and they will continue to stand up for their rights, as we are standing,” said Gilbert Corbett of the Atnwengerrp landholding group.

“Also, remembering our poor old people … remembering all our people – from north, east and west. I thank you all.”

The determination of non-exclusive native title rights is supported by an Indigenous Land Agreement which allows for the incorporation of the former stock routes and former stock reserve on Ammaroo PPL into the pastoral lease and compensation for the native title holders.

As part of the compensation package a small parcel of land adjoining the Aherrenge Aboriginal Land Trust will be excised from Ammaroo PPL and scheduled as Aboriginal Land under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.  

The Alyawarr Awenyerre Aperte Ingkerr-Wenh Aboriginal Corporation will become the Registered Native Title Body Corporate that holds the native title rights and interests on behalf of its members.