Constitutional recognition? In your dreams!
Turnbull is still wreaking mayhem, an imploding Coalition and Labor’s ‘drunken sailor’ bill Shorten vowing financial ruin to the nation. And now we are supposed to accept this poke in the eye without a whimper, suck it up mate—is that right? Well, just wait until the greedy hand is again shoved in our faces for any other indigenous scheme like Constitutional recognition. Highway robbery by the courts! New words, “spiritual attachment” is the bottomless pit from which taxpayers’ sweat is to be syphoned off. Then lavished upon those that never dug a hole or lifted brick in the development of this great and modern Australia. They want all of Australia for themselves. Okay, give them the bloody the keys. Reverse the rort of them them and us—they become us and we become them and on “spiritual attachment” alone we shall thrive like never before—for about four weeks when all comes to a grinding halt!
The High Court sat for the first time in Darwin, at the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory, to hear the final appeal of the Timber Creek native title compensation claim last year. Lawyers predict governments and companies will have to pay traditional owners “billions of dollars” in native title compensation following a landmark High Court decision.
Source: News Corp
Landmark native title compensation case decision by High Court
The High Court largely upheld a 2016 Federal Court ruling that ordered the Northern Territory government to compensate native title holders for the extinguishment of non-exclusive native title rights over the tiny NT town of Timber Creek.
The case was the first time the High Court has ruled on native title compensation in Australia. It was also the first time the court’s Full Bench has sat in the Territory.
It concerned an area of just 1.26 square kilometres in the northern part of the NT, not far from the Western Australia border.
Ashurst partner Tony Denholder said the most significant aspect of the High Court decision was that it upheld the trial judge’s original award of $1.3 million for loss of spiritual attachment.
“The Court thought this amount was not manifestly excessive and was not inconsistent with acceptable community standards,” Mr Denholder said.
“The total award of just over $2.5 million is still very significant in an Australian context.
“It is likely that nationally, the liability for native title compensation will run into the billions of dollars.”
In 2016, the Federal Court awarded members of the Ngaliwurru and Nungali peoples about $3.3 million in total. The award comprised $512,000 for economic loss, $1.3 million for lost spiritual attachment and $1.48 million for interest.
A Federal Court appeal cut the amount awarded for economic loss from 80 per cent of freehold value to 65 per cent, reducing the total sum to about $2.9 million.
The federal and NT governments appealed to the High Court, arguing that the award for cultural loss was “manifestly excessive”.
The High Court further cut the estimated value of the economic loss component to 50 per cent of freehold value but upheld the cultural loss component.
“The reduction in the total compensation amount, the small area of Timber Creek still triggered a compensation liability of over $2.5 million, which will have implications for the more than 2.8 million square kilometres of native title land holdings across the rest of Australia,” Mr Denholder said.
“Today’s decision has provided direction about assessing compensation for a few categories of impacts. However, more case law is required to understand how native title compensation will be assessed for many other impacts, including mining projects, pastoral leases, agricultural development and other land uses partially inconsistent with native title.
“The High Court’s decision will likely to trigger compensation applications from many of the hundreds of native title holder groups around Australia, who finally have clarity — albeit limited — on how they might quantify the compensation owed to them for impacts on their native title.”
He warned stakeholders to be prepared to “confront the procedural complexities” of managing native title compensation claims.
Ashurst partner Clare Lawrence said the High Court’s decision marked the beginning of “a new phase in the relations between native title holders and governments and third parties that deal with and use native title land”.
“A methodology for determining the quantum of native title compensation is only one part of the picture. Now that the High Court has handed down its decision, the focus should move to efficiently managing the expected influx of claims from native title holders in the more than 370 determinations of native title around Australia,” Ms Lawrence said.
“The certainty of the High Court’s Timber Creek decision is likely to look illusory as the reality of prosecuting and responding to the myriad of factual circumstances that give rise to a native title compensation entitlement unfolds.
A system will be established, and things will normalise. In the meantime, the experience will not be dissimilar to the years of uncertainty that followed the enactment of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) in 1994.”