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Win for Pilbara native title claimants

AAP logoAAP 12/10/2016

The Federal Court has recognised the native title rights of the Kulyakartu claimants to a part of a 3550sq km area in the East Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The remote land in the northern reaches of the Great Sandy Desert, about 413km southeast of Broome, has never been settled by non-Aboriginal people and is surrounded by the Nyangumarta, Ngurrara and Martu determination areas.

The recognition of native title for an area known as Part A is by consent, which means it was reached by agreement with the other parties including the state of WA and the Commonwealth.

The determination acknowledges the exclusive native title rights and interests of the Kulyakartu claimants to possession, occupation and use of the area.

Federal Court of Australia Justice Neil McKerracher said while none of the claimants lived there permanently, the determination accepted that the claimants continued to follow traditional laws and customs.

They did this by visiting and maintaining a physical association with country, and performing and passing on to their children and grandchildren their traditional songs, stories and knowledge of sites.

"In making a determination of native title, the court is not creating it as such but rather, recognising what has always existed," Justice McKerracher said.

No determination has been made for the area known as Part B.

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