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Now to the story...

Calls for native title review

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on Aug 8th, 2002.

There are renewed calls for a political solution to native title, after
today's High Court rulings in two key cases.

In an extension of the Wik judgement, the High Court has ruled native
title can coexist with pastoral and mining leases, although it does not
apply to minerals.

There has been a cool response from the Murriuwung Gajjerong people, who
brought the case to the court.

Spokesman Wayne Bergmann says lengthy court cases are not the way to
handle native title.

"Dealing with it through the courts is not going to put food on our
people's plates, build houses, make them healthier," he said.

He has called for the Federal Government to step in, a call backed by the

The Federal Attorney General, Daryl Williams, says the judgement goes some
way to providing certainty for the native title claims system, especially
for the mining industry.

In a separate judgement, the court has ruled leases granted under the New
South Wales Western Lands Act have extinguished native title, leaving very
little of the state still available for claim.

The leading native title organisation in New South Wales, Native Title
Services, says the decision on Western Land leases is still being
examined, but it demands a response from the the state and Federal

Acting head of Native Title Services, Murray Chapman, says there is no
intention to scrap any native title claims as a result of the decision,
but many will have to be reviewed.

"I think there's the broader public policy question of whether decisions
like this should invite some sort of response from government that goes
beyond the strictly legal," he said.

"One unfavourable decision isn't going to make native title disappear as
an issue in this state or anywhere else in the country."



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