The full bench of the High Court has today decided it will not grant a hearing of the Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation’s appeal against the Federal Court’s decision in an ongoing dispute over the payment of mining royalties
RAC has been fighting with the Gumatj clan since 2014 for an increased share of the royalties from the Gove Bauxite Miner.
The royalties are overseen by the Northern Land Council (NLC) which allocates the funds. Seventy-four per cent goes to Gumatj and the remaining twenty-six per cent to RAC.
RAC has argued it was entitled to fifty per cent without NLC oversight. RAC has sought repeated legal action, but the federal court ruled against them. They appealed in August last year, but lost again.
Earlier this year the Federal Court disagreed with the RAC claim and the dispute should be settled like any other title holder claim which prompted the application to the High Court for special leave to appeal.
"The fight has just begun,” said Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation Chairman, Bakamumu Marika, in a media statement.
“We will never give up fighting to secure our self-determination or our rights over our land."
“The land is ours not the NLCs, and if they have the audacity to try and take our land, we will hold them to account through the court and any legal means possible.
“Traditional Owners have the right to instruct the Northern Land Council on land and property matters, and they should do as they are told.”
The Rirratjingu said they will now seek a Judicial Review of the NLC's decision to pay only 27 per cent of Gove Agreement royalties to them, arguing they have a right to a far greater percentage and claim they were promised 50 per cent at the time the agreement was reached.