Murky waters at Chinderah
A NATIVE title case in the Federal Court has produced yet another %obstacle to the controversial Chinderah Marina project, and may enhance the prospects for other Aboriginal claims against marina projects across NSW. An application to extinguish native title over the Tweed River bed near the Chinderah Marina site, lodged seven years ago by a former prospective developer, Susan Harford, was last week withdrawn by the Harfords. The court will announce in February if another developer, Rivercolt, can be substituted as the applicant. The technical legal case has been made more complex because Rivercolt's lawyers informed Indigenous Justice Advisory Network advocate Al Oshlack they have not been advised by Rivercolt about reports that Rivercolt has sold its interest in land near the marina site to the Hutchinsons group, Mr Oshlack said yesterday. He also said the NSW government, as a respondent to the marina native title case, had told the Federal Court the government's position was that native title had not been extinguished over riverbeds. This was the first time the government had made such an admission in any court, Mr Oshlack said. He said it meant any marina or similar riverfront development in NSW could theoretically be contested by native title claimants. The complexity of the Chinderah native title case, united community opposition to the propsoed marina, and the fact it has taken seven years to be resolved, would make it difficult for any developer wanting to proceed, Mr Oshlack said. "They'd have to put in another application (to extinguish native %title)," he said. "This one has taken seven years, and now it may well be resolved in favour of the Aboriginal traditional owners. "Aboriginal claimants are adamant the marina at Chinderah will not go ahead."