Kimberley traditional owners have opposed an appeal with the Commonwealth and West Australian Governments over detail of a native title determination.The appeal relates to the public’s ability to access beaches and waterways within the Bindunbur and Jabirr Jabirr/Ngumbarl determination area on the Middle Dampier Peninsula. The determination areas are just north of the town of Broome.The appeal was heard in a full hearing on the 3rd and 4th of December 2019 before the High Court in Canberra.The Kimberley Land Council acted on behalf of the Bindunbur and Jabirr Jabirr/Ngumbarl native title holders in this matter.CEO of the Kimberley Land Council (KLC) Nolan Hunter told the ABC that the idea that the beach belongs to no-one was a hangover from terra nullius.“This is about how the people should not take it for granted that Aboriginal people are just here to be abused, or taken advantage of, or dispossessed” Mr Hunter said.“It doesn’t make it right that people’s access to beaches are far greater than people’s access to be recognised as the people for the land that they’ve been connected to for thousands of years.”In May 2018, the Federal Court of Australia made a determination of native title in Bindunbur and Jabirr Jabirr/Ngumbarl native title claims. A part of this determination which related to the public’s ability to access beaches and waterways in the Bindunbur and Jabirr Jabirr/Ngumbarl determination area was appealed to the Full Federal Court by Bindunbur and Jabirr Jabirr/Ngumbarl native title holders.Later that year, the Full Federal Court allowed the appeal of the Bindunbur and Jabirr Jabirr/Ngumbarl native title holders (Manado on behalf of the Bindunbur Native Title Claim Group v State of Western Australia [2018] FCAFC 238).Following the decision, the State of Western Australia and Commonwealth of Australia sought special leave to appeal in the High Court, and on 21 June 2019 special leave was granted.The WA Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Lands, Ben Wyatt, provided a statement to the ABC on the appeal.“The state always seeks to maintain public access rights to beaches and waterways as a part of determinations of native title” the statement read in part.The High Court will now rule on whether public access to beaches and waterways should be recognised as an interest in the Bindunbur and Jabirr Jabirr/Ngumbarl native title determinations.It is expected that the High Court will make a decision by mid 2020.


SANTS acknowledges that the land on which our office is based is the traditional lands for the Kaurna people and we respect their spiritual and cultural relationship with their country.