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1996: Wik High Court decision

23 December 2021 All day

In The Wik Peoples v The State of Queensland & Ors; The Thayorre People v The State of Queensland & Ors [1996] HCA 40 (‘Wik’), the High Court held that native title rights could coexist on land held by pastoral leaseholders. The High Court decided that:

– a pastoral lease does not necessarily confer rights of exclusive possession on the pastoralist
– the rights and obligations of the pastoralist depend on the terms of the lease and the law under which it was granted;
– the mere grant of a pastoral lease does not necessarily extinguish any remaining native title rights
– if there is any inconsistency between the rights of the native title holders and the rights of the pastoralist, the rights of the native title holders must yield.