Johnston Withers

Aboriginal land rights and native title.

With over 30 years’ experience representing Aboriginal people and community groups across Australia, our lawyers are here to help.

Johnston Withers Lawyers has a proud history of acting for Aboriginal people and providing legal advice to Aboriginal organisations.

In 1987, our founder Elliot Johnston QC was appointed by the Federal Government to conduct the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

In the 1990s, we acted for the Aboriginal people of Maralinga, successfully negotiating millions of dollars in compensation for the 1960s Maralinga atomic bomb tests.

More recently, we’ve acted for Aboriginal groups around the country seeking to exercise and/or gain recognition of their land and native title rights.

How we can help

How we can help

Whether you need help negotiating with corporate and commercial entities, representation in employment matters, or advice about land rights and native title, our experienced lawyers in Adelaide and regional South Australia are well-versed in these areas.

Aboriginal land rights

For more than 30 years, we’ve represented Aboriginal groups around the country in land rights and native title matters, including:

  • Maralinga Tjarutja (SA)
  • Anangu Pitjantiatiara Yankunyatiatiara (APY)
  • The Adnyamathanha people of the Flinders Ranges (SA)
  • The Eringa people of far north South Australia
  • The Dambimangari people of the Kimberley region (WA)
  • The Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura (PKKP) peoples of the Pilbara region (WA)
  • The traditional owners of Mutawintji National Park (NSW)

Our lawyers can provide expert advice about Aboriginal land rights and native title claims, including for compensation, as well as negotiate with governments, mining companies, and other developers on your behalf.

We also advise on land management issues and have successfully negotiated with state governments for joint management of national and marine parks in the past.

Additionally, we regularly advise Aboriginal groups on a wide range of land and sea matters, including heritage surveys, to make sure areas of particular cultural significance aren’t damaged or interfered with.

Aboriginal land rights johnston withers lawyers

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Organisation support

Our team of Aboriginal land rights lawyers provide advice to Aboriginal groups about the appropriate organisation structure for their representative bodies. This includes advising the best practice for governance and compliance with the relevant legislation.

We also provide ongoing assistance with employment matters, such as representing Aboriginal organisations before employment law tribunals.

Additionally, we act to support the wishes of Aboriginal communities, including successfully opposing the installation of poker machines at a roadhouse near Ceduna, which would’ve had a detrimental effect on a nearby Aboriginal community.

Most recently, we represented the Ngaanyatjarra people of the Central Reserves area in Western Australia regarding their claim under the Racial Discrimination Act in relation to the Community Development Program (CDP).

Commercial legal advice

Johnston Withers provides a wide range of general commercial and corporate legal advice to Aboriginal organisations.

We’ve got a long history of negotiating with mining companies on behalf of Aboriginal people. This includes matters relating to access to Aboriginal land and compensation for the impact of mining activities.

We also assist Aboriginal groups in establishing new businesses, and with buying and selling them and advising on suitable corporate and/or trust structures.

Meet the Aboriginal land rights legal team

Richard Bradshaw-Johnston Withers Lawyers

Richard Bradshaw

Special counsel
Kirsty Bennett - Johnston Withers Lawyers

Kirsty Bennett

Practice leader: Commercial
Johnston Withers Lawyers Andrew Mitchard

Andrew Mitchard

Managing director

News & views from the Aboriginal land rights legal team

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A win for a native title claim for the Adnyamathanha People of the Flinders Ranges

Richard Bradshaw and Graham Harbord are proud to have represented the Adnyamathanha People of the Flinders Ranges in South Australia for over 20 years in relation to their Native Title Claim.

Read more

We have a proud history of acting for Aboriginal people and groups.

When experience matters, we’re here to help you and your community, too.

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