On 6 July 2018, the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council (the Council) filed a non-claimant application for a determination that native title does not exist over three parcels of land Randwick, New South Wales . The Council is the registered proprietor and holds freehold title over the land parcels . The application was unopposed by the two respondents, so the Council was able, under ss 86G and 87 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (NTA), to have their case heard on the papers without a hearing [13-15].
Details of Judgment
The Council holds non-native title interests over the entire determination area and so, in accordance with s 61(1) of the NTA, may apply to the Federal Court for a determination of native title .
The determination area in this case is comprised of three parcels or lots of land. The Council became the registered proprietors of Lot 1 on 8 October 2012 when the NSW Land & Housing Corporation transferred title to it under s 36 of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 (NSW) . The Council became the registered proprietors of Lots 2 and 3 on 27 February 2017 in the same manner .
Section 23C of the NTA requires the extinguishment of native title in the event of a previous act of exclusive possession by the Commonwealth . A previous act of exclusive possession is defined in s 23B and includes the grant of a freehold title prior to 23 December 1996 . The Attorney General for New South Wales submitted evidence that the land in this case was granted to the Board of Fire Commissioners of NSW in 1916 for use as a fire station . Robertson J determined that this constituted a previous act of exclusive possession (per s 23B of the NTA) and so native title had been extinguished .