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Minning on behalf of the Untiri Pulka Claim Group v State of Western Australia [2020] FCA 1051

Binomial Name: Federal Court of Australia
Date: 27 July 2020
Sub Category:Consent Determination (Native Title Act)

Central Desert

State/Country:Western Australia, Australia
The determination area includes the external boundary described in Part 1 of Schedule 1 and depicted on the Maps at Schedule 7. Schedules 1 and 7 are attached below under the documents tile. The area is within the jurisdiction of the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder and the Shire of Menzies. 
Legal Status:

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

Legal Reference: Federal Court file no.: WAD472/2019; National Native Title Tribunal file no.: WCD2020/006
Alternative Names:
  • Untiri Pulka
  • Subject Matter:Native Title
    Summary Information:

    Between: James Minning on behalf of the Untiri Pulka Claim Group (Applicant) and State of Western Australia, Central Desert Native Title Services Ltd, BHP Billion Nickel West Pty Ltd, Petrex Australia Pty Ltd (Respondents)

    Judge: Griffiths J


    Native title exists in the entire determination area 

    It consists of exclusive and non-exclusive native title rights and interests. 

    Native title holders

    Native title is held by the Untiri Pulka Claim Group. A description of the native title holders can be found in Schedule 2 of the determination below under documents. 

    Exclusive native title rights and interests exist over all of the determination area 

    Other than in relation to water, the Untiri Pulka Claim Group have the right to possession, occupation, use, and enjoyment of the area, described in Schedule 3, to the exclusion of all others.

    Non-exclusive native title rights and interests exist over the determination area 

    These rights exist over each part of the determination area outlined in Part 1 of Schedule 4 and include the right to:

    • access, remain in and use that part;
    • the right to access, take and use the resources of that part for any purpose;
    • the right to engage in spiritual and cultural activities on that part; and
    • the right to maintain and protect places and objects of significance on that part. 

    A map visually identifying each exclusive and non-exclusive native title area can be found in Schedule 7. 

    Other rights and interests in the determination area include:

    • those belonging to the holders of all five pastoral leases: Kinclaven, Balgair, Gunndaorah, Kannadah and Kybo as described in Part 1 of Schedule 4. Note that only a portion of pastoral leases Balgair and Kybo fall within the determination area; 
    • the mining interests under the Mining Act 1978 (WA) as described in Schedule 4 of the determination;
    • valid or validated grants from the State or Commonwealth;
    • the right to access the determination area by an employee, agent or instrumentality of the state, Commonwealtth or any local government entity where such access would be permitted; and
    • any existing public access granted by virtue of s 14 of the Tiles (Validation) and Native Title (Effect of Past Acts) Act 1995 (WA).

    See Schedule 4 for further information about the non-native title rights and interests.

    In the case of conflict, the exercise of non-native title rights and interests will prevail over the non-exclusive native title

    The Pila Nguru Aboriginal Corporation Registered Native Title Body Corporate (RNTBC) is the prescribed body corporate. It performs the functions required under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) and holds the native title in trust for the Untiri Pulka Claim Group. 

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

    Detailed Information:


    On 15 June 2019, an application for the determination of native title was signed and filed with the Court pursuant to s 61 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (the NTA).

    Details of Judgment

    The parties formed an agreement as to the terms of a determination of native title to provide recognition of the native title rights and interests held by the Untiri Pulka Claim Group in relation to the land covered by the determination area. 

    Reasons for the decision

    Section 223 of the NTA requires that the rights and interests to the claim area is based on the claimant group's traditional connection to the area. His Honour refers to the meaning of 'Untiri Pulka' and its relevance to the determination area. 'Untiri Pulka' translates to 'large, clear open plain country' which his Honour describes as a prominent biological feature of the determination area [11].

    Griffiths J also notes that Untiri Pulka claimants identify as 'Spinifex People' which is a label used to denote members of the Western Desert. Spinifex people have a traditional law and custom that is associated with the people who inhabit the determination area [18]. 

    For these reasons, Griffiths J was satisfied that the relevant requirements of the NTA have been met.

    In accordance with s 87 of the NTA, Griffiths J was satisfied that it was appropriate to make orders by the consent of the parties without a hearing. His Honour noted that the parties had actively engaged in negotiation and have been legally represented throughout the case management process [42].


    Native title exists in the determination area

    Related Entries

  • National Native Title Tribunal
  • Shire of Menzies
  • Pila Nguru Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC
  • State of Western Australia - Respondent
  • Central Desert Native Title Services Ltd - Respondent
  • BHP BIlliton Nickel West Pty Ltd - Respondent
  • Petrex Australia Pty Ltd - Respondent
  • City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder
  • Legislation
  • Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)
  • Native Title Amendment Act 1998 (Cth)
  • Native Title (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Regulations 1999 (Cth)
  • People
  • Untiri Pulka Claim Group - Native Title Claimant
  • James Minning on behalf of the Untiri Pulka Claim Group - Native Title Applicant

  • Documents

    Extract from the National Native Title Register for WCD2020/006 as at 23/02/2022 (Untiri Pulka) - ( PDF | PDF | PDF | PDF | PDF | PDF | 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) | Registered Native Title Body Corporate (RNTBC) (Native Title Act) (Australia)

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