13 March 2019

A landmark High Court decision has cleared the way for Aboriginal people to seek billions of dollars in compensation for the loss of their land to colonialism. The Court ordered the Northern Territory to pay $2.53 million to the Ngaliwurru and Nungali Peoples for the loss of their land around Timber Creek. More importantly, it rejected the NT’s argument that cultural loss and spiritual hurt caused by the extinguishment of native title rights should not be compensated. The effect of the decision is likely to take many years to be fully realised, as each Indigenous community must make a separate claim, and complex issues (such as how the impact of mining leases should be quantified) are yet to be resolved. (If you are interested in the legal technicalities, Kate Galloway has a good summary in this Twitter thread.)