Monday, 21 April 2014

Native Title Rights Prevail Over Mining Leases

Last month, the High Court finally considered whether mining leases, which do not grant exclusive possession to miners, extinguish non-exclusive native title rights. The High Court held, unanimously, that the mining leases did not extinguish the claimed native title rights, which therefore were revived on the expiry of the mining leases. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/HCA/2014/8.html

Stradbroke mining leases also do not grant the miners exclusive possession. Government representatives and others with ‘rights of way’ can access the land without consent. The High Court decision provides support for the legitimacy of the Quandamooka peoples’ native title rights prevailing on the expiry of Enterprise mining leases in 2019 and weakens the validity of the Newman’s government’s legislative amendments to allow further renewal of the leases in 2019. All parties involved in the native title claim over Stradbroke accepted this end date when consenting to the Federal Court determination on 4 July, 2011. The end date had been legislated by the Bligh government in April, 2011.

We understand that QYAC is awaiting final legal advice before launching a legal challenge to the Newman government’s amendments, foreshadowed by QYAC last October – http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2013/10/30/qld-sand-mining-contempt-native-title