The Lappi Lappi and Ngulupi peoples’ native title over 6,072 square kilometres of land and waters in the western Tanami Desert in Western Australia has been recognised by the Federal Court, in one of the quickest determinations in the state’s history.

Federal Court judge Justice Michael Barker said the consent determination of native title in favour of the Lappi Lappi and Ngulupi people recognised their ongoing connection to the area since sovereignty.

He said Lappi Lappi was a reference to Lappi Lappi Rockhole in the south of the area and Ngulupi was a reference to Ngulupi Outstation in the area’s north, both of which were significant locations.

The determination came just one month after the Lappi Lappi and Ngulupi people and the WA government filed a joint submission in September supporting it.

The Determination is recognition by Australian law of the continuing traditional laws and customs of the Lappi Lappi and Ngulupi claimants over the determination area since sovereignty,” Justice Barker said.

“The Court congratulates the Lappi Lappi and Ngulupi claimants, their legal representatives and the State for negotiating and agreeing to the Determination.”

“This Determination of native title is unique in the sense that it will be determined in the same year it was filed, and perhaps offers optimism for the early finalisation of future consent determinations in Western Australia in the coming years.”