Native title body fails to consult with high ranking elders



Senior Aboriginal custodian Doris Stuart has made public a letter today in which the native title organisation Lhere Artepe is accused of not having consulted with her family about an Indigenous land use agreement (ILUA) with the NT Government.

The letter, from a Central Land Council to a lawyer acting for Lhere Artepe, names Mrs Stuart, her son Peter Renehan, Faron Peckham, John Newchurch, together referred to as the Stuart family, as well as Benedict Stevens. These are people whom the CLC recognises as “a number of the senior apmereke-artweye and kwetengerle of the Mparntwe estate group,” says the letter.

It is dated November 4 last year.

The Alice Springs News today asked Mrs Stuart and Mr Stevens whether Lhere Artepe had been in touch with them in the meantime. Both said the organisation had not.

This week it will hold its own AGM and those of its three estate groups. The organisation’s controversial deal with the government, supporting the government’s preference of the Anzac precinct as the location for the proposed national art gallery, is likely to be raised.

The letter mentions as part of the ILUA 10 lots in the municipal area in which the Stuart family and Mr Stevens are said to have an interest.

The letter says Lhere Artepe has failed to comply with its obligation, made clear in its rule book: The corporation must “use its best endeavours to accurately identify affected native title holders (including the apmereke-artweye and kwetengerle); and consult with, and obtaining the consent of, the affected native title holders in relation to a decision to enter an indigenous land use agreement.

“These requirements cannot be met merely by consultations with members of an estate group.”

Mrs Stuart and Mr Stevens say they have not received invitations to the Lhere Artepe meetings this week.

The News is seeking comment from Lhere Artepe.


  1. Native title is extinguished over the Anzac Precinct so upon what legal basis does the NT Government negotiate with the Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation for seeking approval to construct the National Aboriginal Art Gallery in that locality?
    A major women’s sacred site exists adjacent to the Anzac Precinct but the custodian who has primary responsibility over that site is not a member of Lhere Artepe so upon what basis does this group have any say over this area?
    If the Indigenous Land Use Agreements over 10 parcels of land in Alice Springs between the NTG and Lhere Artepe have been negotiated in exchange for approval to construct the gallery at the Anzac Precinct – well again, upon what legal basis has this been done?
    This is in addition to the obvious breaches of Lhere Artepe’s actions as described in the CLC letter reported in this article.


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