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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 1548 asked in the Legislative Council on 4 December 2019 by Hon Robin Scott

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on 4 December 2019

SOUTH WEST NATIVE TITLE SETTLEMENT

1548. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the minister representing the Treasurer:

I refer to a report last week that the Noongar people of south west Western Australia are pursuing more than $290 billion for spiritual damage caused by the alleged loss of their traditional land.

(1) What is the government's estimate of the legal fees to fight this claim?

(2) Will the taxpayer be footing the bill for the legal costs to fight the claim?

(3) Will the government be seeking payment of its legal costs from the Noongar people if the government is successful in defending the claim?

(4) Are there plans by the government to prevent future frivolous and vexatious claims from clogging our courts?

Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:

I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question. The following answer has been provided to me by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.

(1)–(3) The costs of legal fees are presently unknown. The compensation claim has been brought by one of the applicants to the judicial review proceedings in relation to the south west native title settlement. Those proceedings are challenging the Native Title Registrar's decision to register the six south west native title settlement Indigenous land use agreements. A decision on the judicial review proceedings in relation to registration of the ILUAs will be delivered by the full Federal Court in the near future. The outcome of that decision will impact the resources required to respond to this compensation claim.

(4) The state government cannot prevent individuals from lodging claims with the Federal Court. The Federal Court is responsible for the lodgement of claims and their acceptance for filing under the Federal Court's rules.