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Weribone on behalf of the Mandandanji People v State of Queensland [2018] FCA 247

Binomial Name: Federal Court of Australia
Date: 7 March 2018
Sub Category:Consent Determination (Native Title Act)

South Eastern Queensland

State/Country:Queensland, Australia
The determination area is located in and around Roma and covers about 115,000 hectares. The Balonne River runs through the area. For a detailed description of the area and maps see Schedule B of the determination, attached below under documents. The area is within the jurisdiction of the Maranoa Regional Council, Balonne Shire Council and Western Downs Regional Council.
Legal Status:

Registered with the National Native Title Tribunal on the Native Title Register.

Legal Reference: Federal Court file no.: QUD 366/2008; National Native Title Tribunal file no.: QCD 2018/001
Subject Matter:Native Title - Extinguishment
Summary Information:


Leslie Weribone and others on behalf of the Mandandanji People (Applicant)


State of Queensland, Balonne Shire Council, Maranoa Regional Council, Western Downs Regional Council, several energy supply and mining companies and pastoralists (Respondents)

Judge: Rares J


Native title does not exist in the entirety of the determination area

Full text of the determination is available via the URL link above.

Detailed Information:


This is the fourth proceeding in which the Mandandanji people have sought a determination of native title in respect of some or all of the claim area. On 12 September 1997, the first application was withdrawn. On 28 October 1997 and 6 June 2001, the second and third applications respectively were dismissed [6].

A contested final hearing was planned to commence on 5 June 2017 [8]. After reviewing the totality of the evidence, the applicant confirmed that they did not wish to proceed to the contested final hearing (due to the claim having limited prospects of success), and sought to make a consent determination that native title does not exist [11]-[15].

On 21 February 2018, the applicant, the State and the other respondents signed an agreement, in accordance with s 87(1) of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (NTA) that provided for the Court to make a determination that no native title rights and interests exist over the claim area [2].

Details of Judgment

The Court considered the applicant's and the State's submissions in support of a consent negative determination, and was satisfied that there was a proper basis for the Court to make a negative determination under s 87 of the NTA [17].

The Court was also satisfied that the applicant and the State had given the decision substantive consideration and had received expert advice from senior counsel, solicitors, and anthropologists [21]. The decision to go from a contested hearing to a consent determination was based on sound reasoning and evidence, mainly being that native title rights and interests could only be claimed over a small portion of the claim area, and that the chance of being successful in this claim was low [21].

Justice Rares commented on the fact that the negative determination will be disappointing for the claim group, particularly as the evidence showing disruption of Indigenous people observing traditional laws and customs on the land was a consequence of the interactions with the early European settlers and the colonial government [24]. Rares J was therefore satisfied that it is unlikely any other claim group exists that could make a positive determination for the limited portions of land that have not experienced acts of extinguishment of native title due to this disruption [25]-[26].


Native title does not exist

Related Entries

  • National Native Title Tribunal
  • State of Queensland - Respondent
  • Balonne Shire Council - Respondent
  • Maranoa Regional Council - Respondent
  • Western Downs Regional Council - Respondent
  • Legislation
  • Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)
  • Native Title Amendment Act 1998 (Cth)
  • Native Title (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Regulations 1999 (Cth)
  • People
  • Leslie Weribone and others in their capacity as the registered native title claimants for the Mandandanji People's native title claim - Applicant
  • Mandandanji People - Native Title Claimant

  • Documents

    Extract from the National Native Title Register for QCD2018/001 as at 16 March 2022 (Mandandanji People) - ( PDF | PDF)


    Native Title (Australia) | National Native Title Tribunal (NNTT) (Australia) | Native Title Registers | Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Australia) | Applicant | Respondent | Consent Determination (Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)) (Australia) | Aboriginal Corporation (Australia) | Native Title Applicants | Native Title Holders (Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)) (Australia) | Native Title Representative Body (NTRB) (Australia)

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