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Willis on behalf of the Pilki People v State of Western Australia (No 2) [2014] FCA 1293

Western Australia
Federal Court
Legislation considered
s 225 Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)

McKerracher J

This matter relates to a decision by North J, in Willis on behalf of the Pilki People v State of Western Australia [2014] FCA 714. In that case, the Court heard an application by the Pilki People for a determination of native title in an area of the Western Desert region, between the Nullarbor Plain and the Great Victorian Desert surrounding Jubilee Lake.


The Pilki People’s application for native title was made in August 2002 and was registered in April 2005. Following some amendments to the application and various case management conferences, agreement was reached about the existence of native title.

The State did not agree that the Pilki People’s native title included the right to access resources and to take and use resources of the land for commercial purposes. However, North J held, at [134], that in accordance with s 225(b) of the Native Title Act (NTA), the determination of native title in favour of the Pilki People should include the native title right to access and take for any purpose the resources of the determination area.

North J ordered that the Pilki People and the State file a draft determination of native title reflecting his reasons for judgment.


In this matter, McKerracher J ordered that that the determination is to take effect immediately upon the nomination by the Pilki People of a Prescribed Body Corporate (PBC) to hold and/or manage the native title, under ss 56 or 57 NTA.

McKerracher J ordered that this occur within 12 months or the matter would be listed for further directions.

Of Note in this Decision

Although the native title right to access and take resources for any purposes was recognised, McKerracher J noted that no native title rights and interests exist in the Determination Area in relation to minerals, petroleum and geothermal resources and geothermal energy.