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Challenge to Native Title ruling over Perth.



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ATTORNEY-GENERAL THE HON PHILIP RUDDOCK MP

NEWS RELEASE

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600  Telephone (02) 6277 7300  Fax (02) 6273 4102 www.ag.gov.au

5 October 2006 187/2006

CHALLENGE TO NATIVE TITLE RULING OVER PERTH

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock announced today the Australian Government would seek leave to appeal to the Full Federal Court against Justice Wilcox’s recent decision finding that native title exists over the Perth metropolitan area.

“I am advised the decision departs significantly from the principles which were articulated by the High Court in its Yorta Yorta decision of December 2002,” Mr Ruddock said.

"While the Australian Government prefers to resolve native title claims through mediation where practicable, it also needs to ensure native title outcomes are credible and consistent with the law.

“The effective settlement of native title claims throughout Australia requires a clear understanding among stakeholders as to what the law allows. This understanding has been disturbed by Justice Wilcox’s recent findings in relation to native title over Perth,” Mr Ruddock said.

“It is therefore appropriate to seek clarification on these significant issues from the Full Federal Court.”

Given Justice Wilcox’s decision did not amount to a final determination, parties are required to obtain leave to appeal from the Court.

In his judgment, Justice Wilcox stated ‘it will no doubt be convenient for any appeal to be brought forthwith, rather than after final orders are made’.

The deadline for filing an application for leave to appeal is 10 October 2006.

“The Australian Government will work cooperatively with parties to ensure that the appeal is heard expeditiously.” Mr Ruddock said.

Media Contact: Michael Pelly (02) 6277 7300 / 0419 278 715