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Kimberley native title claim agreement reached

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 28 November 2003


After almost a decade of litigation, an agreement has been reached on a landmark native title case in the East Kimberley in the far-north of Western Australia.

The Kimberley Land Council, which represents the Miriuwung-Gajerrong people, says the parties involved have agreed native title exists over a significant part of the 8,000 square kilometre claim area.

Kimberley Land Council executive director Wayne Bergmann says the agreement offers certainty for the traditional owners.

"Nobody wanted to head back to the High Court or to the full Federal Court to continue litigation because we felt that we had to make an agreement that everybody could live with," he said.

The controversial claim has been in and out of court for nine years.

The agreement comes after six months of mediation involving the claimants, the West Australian and Federal governments.

A spokesman for the WA Deputy Premier, Eric Ripper, described the agreement as a "positive outcome" but says the Government does not wish to comment until it has been ratified by the Federal Court.


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