Iytwelepwenty Aboriginal Corporation
The Iytewelepwenty Aboriginal Corporation holds and manages the native title rights and interests of the Alyawarr, Kaytetye, Warumungu, Wakay peoples. The Alyawarr, Kaytetye, Warumungu, Wakay peoples’ ownership of this land was recognised in the Davenport / Murchison determination of April 2004.
The Davenport / Murchison determination arose from a claim lodged in 1995 by the Central Land Council on behalf of several claimant groups. The claim covered an area of over 1,143 square kilometres southeast of Tennant Creek, near the Davenport and Murchison Ranges. This area included blocks of land within the proposed Davenport Ranges National Park which had formerly been pastoral leases and a small area of vacant Crown land. Collectively, this area was known to the claimants as ‘Iytwelepwenty’, leading to the name for this organisation.
After three years of unsuccessful negotiations, the claim was litigated in the Federal Court between 1998 and 2004. The Federal Court’s decision was handed down in April 2004 by Justice Mansfield. It recognised the claimant group’s native title, including:
- exclusive rights and interests over the vacant Crown land, and
- non-exclusive rights over the land within the proposed Davenport Ranges National Park.
Justice Mansfield’s decision was appealed by the Northern Territory to the Full Federal Court [see (2004) 207 ALR 539]. Most of the Northern Territory’s arguments were rejected by Justices Wilcox, French and Weinberg who substantially upheld the original decision. They accepted the Northern Territory’s argument that native title does not give:
- a right to trade in natural resources, and
- the right to control disclosure of spiritual beliefs and practices because:
- either it was not expressed as a right in relation to land and waters or,
- such a right did not exist.
The Northern Territory Government sought special leave to appeal the decision of the Full Federal Court in the High Court of Australia, on whether it was possible for native title to give a right to live permanently on the land. The High Court refused to grant special leave.