Torres Strait Islanders’ native title rights over about 37,800sq km of sea between Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea were legally recognised today at a Federal Court hearing in Cairns.
Justice Paul Finn recognised the Torres Strait Regional Sea Claim Group’s non-exclusive native title rights including to: access, remain in and use their own marine territories or territories shared with other communities; and access and take resources for any purpose, including for trading or commercial purposes.
The sea around Mer Island in eastern Torres Strait, which is included in the Torres Strait Regional Sea claim.
None of the rights confer possession, occupation, or use of the waters to the exclusion of others. They do not confer any right to control the conduct of others.
The judgment settled most of the claim (Part A), but excluded areas overlapped by two other sea claims. These overlapping areas (Part B) will be resolved at a later date.
Justice Finn will make his final orders on Part A of the claim on Friday 30 July 2010.
For more information see the links on this page to:
• Tribunal's background information
• Federal Court judgment and summary
• Torres Strait Regional Authority media centre
• map showing the total area of the Torres Strait Regional Sea Claim Group’s claim, including areas overlapped by two other claims.