Gunarmu Aboriginal Corporation
The Gunarmu Aboriginal Corporation administers land on behalf of the Ngaliwurru and Nungali persons who are members of the Makalamayi, Wunjaiyi, Yanturi, Wantawul and Maiyalaniwung estate groups. Their ownership over the land was recognised in the Timber Creek native title determination of 2006.
This case arose from a native title claim made in 1999, which was extensively litigated. While the Ngaliwurru and Nungali’s native title rights over some parts of the claim area had been established in 2006, litigation continued over other locations until 2008 when it was eventually determined by the High Court.
In a legal context, the High Court decision in Timber Creek sets an important precedent for how native title, or any other kind of property right, can be extinguished. This case turned on whether the Northern Territory could compulsorily acquire land ‘for any purpose’, including to grant a lease to a private business. The High Court held that under the terms of the Northern Territory legislation the power had been appropriately exercised. In this case, the compulsory acquisition had the effect of extinguishing native title.