THE Rirratjingu of East Arnhem Land have launched an appeal to the Full Bench of the Federal Court to fight for their land rights, following last month’s ruling that they are “wards of the state.”
The Court ruled the Northern Land Council (NLC), not the Federal Court, determines borders between traditional owners.
The Rirratjingu say they will fight for land rights for all Traditional Owners by appealing the decision.
A second of the three signatories from the Gove Agreement, Djalu Gurruwiwi from the Galpu clan, are supporting the position of the Rirratjingu, and have lodged their own appeal.
The original dispute is linked to the NLC’s division of royalties from a bauxite mine on the Gove Peninsula, but the entire case has implications for traditional owners throughout Australia.
Bakamumu Marika, Chairman of the Rirratjingu Aboriginal Corporation (RAC), said the appeal is the next step in getting the Rirratjingu what is rightfully theirs.
“The Rirratjingu should have self-determination over their land, not bureaucrats in Darwin.”
The matter will be heard later this year.