High Court Challenge

A High Court challenge is underway. The Bawinanga Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) and traditional owner, Reggie Wuridjal, from Maningrida appear to be the main actors in this. Both have made their disquiet about the NTER clear from the outset. BAC’s Senate submission (full list of Senate submissions here) made the depth of their concerns quite clear. The abolition of permits and the compulsory acquisition of land along with related assets, are the main fly in the ointment. BAC has considerable business assets which are at risk of Commonwealth takeover. BAC has a large shop, a fuel outlet, and several small horticultural projects (mud crab farm, sea-sponge harvesting and turtle rearing), all of which may be subject to the Commonwealth assuming ownership of any related assets.

And they aren’t the only Maningrida organisation sweating on this. The Maningrida Progress Association (MPA) runs the only hotel in town. A few years ago MPA doubled the size of the motel and it must be now worth well over a million dollars. Under the current legislation, the Commonwealth may be entitled to seize ownership of this asset, which currently is the private property of people in Maningrida.

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