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Australia Federal Court orders new trial in Perth native title case

[JURIST] The Federal Court of Australia [official website] on Wednesday ruled that a lower court made several errors of law in its 2006 decision [text] giving Aborigines native title [NNTT backgrounder] to land in the Australian city of Perth, and said that the case must be reheard. The Australian government appealed the decision [JURIST report] in October 2006, arguing that the ruling could prevent non-indigenous people from having access to public parks and benches in the area. The government also asserted that the ruling created uncertainty in other native title determination cases pending at the time.

The Federal Court did not rule that Aborigines do not hold native title over Perth, but instead referred the issue back to the lower court. The South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council [advocacy website] represented the Noongar people [SWALSC backgrounder] in the case. Council Chairman Ted Hart said Wednesday that the Noongar people were disappointed with the ruling, but that they would continue to press the case. AFP has more.

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