NATIVE title does not exist on Heirisson Island, sinking Aboriginal activists’ claims they were unlawfully evicted.
Earlier this year Noongar elder Bella Bropho wrote to Perth city council arguing activists protesting the closure of Aboriginal communities were entitled to camp on the island.
She’d based this on a 2007 federal court decision which found Noongars had native title right in the South-West corner of WA, including Perth.
However, lawyer Greg McIntyre—who launched the historic Mabo case in Queensland—says recent investigations have shown native title was extinguished in 1950, when Heirisson Island was vested in the state’s education minister.
“I do not believe that the law has been broken by evicting people, but it may be that the council has no right to keep their personal property,” Mr McIntyre told the Voice. “The owners of the personal property can take action in the Magistrates Court for the recovery of their property or compensation for the loss of property.”
by MARTA PASCUAL JUANOLA