This application has had a lengthy history, being first filed in the Federal Court in December 2001, and amended in 2003, 2010, 2011 and 2019 .
However, the Arakwal Aboriginal Corporation was registered as early as 1994 to hold any benefits that would be recognised under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) (the NTA), with lengthy negotiations first initiated by Arakwal elders Linder Vidler, Dulcie Nicholls, Lorna Kelly and Yvonne Graham in 1993.
Following almost 30 years of negotiations and 20 years of legal proceedings, this claim is only the second time in NSW that native title sea rights have been recognised, and is the first positive determination in an area of NSW with a dense population.
Details of Judgment
The parties reached agreement as to the terms of a determination of native title agreeing that native title exists in relation to part of the determination area whilst it had been extinguished in relation to the rest.
Justice Robertson noted that his power to make orders by consent for a determination occurred pursuant to ss 87 and s 94A of the NTA.
In assessing the application, Justice Robertson emphasised that despite the parties agreement it was still necessary to show that there was a recognisable group or society that presently recognised and observes traditional laws and customs in the determination area .
The parties argued that the NTA did not require the Court to engage in its own enquiries to determine whether such issues were established by evidence, but only whether there the agreement between the parties had been freely entered into on an informed basis. .
However, noting principles and case law in King on behalf of the Eringa Native Title Claim Group v South Australia  FCA 1386; 285 ALR 454, Justice Robertson emphasised the following points regarding the Courts' own inquiries: 
- the position is different from ordinary adversarial litigation because the determination of a native title also affects the rights of non-parties;
- for that reason the Court places reliance on the position taken by the relevant State respondent because it has an obligation to act in the public interest, and has the expertise and procedures for assessing claims;
- evidence in support of the claim may be considered to verify that the State is acting rationally and in good faith; and
- it is proper for a State respondent to accept the existence of native title on the basis of less stringent analysis than would otherwise be applied in a contested hearing.
Considering the Applicant's evidence, including lay witness affidavits and expert anthropological reports, the Court found the agreement had been freely entered into on an informed basis, satisfied the requirements in s225 of the NTA, and so granted the orders agreed by the parties.