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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to experience a range of injustices, despite efforts to help close the reconciliation gap in health, income and living standards between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

We also successfully challenged the Commonwealth Government and the Northern Land Council over plans for a radioactive waste dump on Indigenous land in the Northern Territory, known as Muckaty Station. We later assisted the traditional owners oppose a radioactive waste dump in the Flinders Ranges.

Don't dump on Muckaty
A picture of some Indigenous community members with a sign reading "Don't dump on Muckaty

Muckaty station nuclear waste dump

We filed a legal challenge against the Commonwealth Government and the Northern Land Council in June 2010 over plans for a radioactive waste dump on Indigenous land in the Northern Territory. 

Mark Lane Jangala, a senior Traditional Owner of Muckaty Station near Tennant Creek, claimed the NLC failed to take appropriate steps to ensure Traditional Aboriginal owners including himself and other elders understood the nature and purpose of the nomination, and failed to obtain proper consent before nominating land on Muckaty Station as a site for Australia's first radioactive waste dump.

A Federal Court trial began on 2 June 2014 before Justice Anthony North. Evidence was also taken on country in Tennant Creek for 5 days. Two weeks into the trial, the parties reached a settlement after the Federal Government agreed not to act upon the nomination of the site by the Northern Land Council (NLC).

Nuclear Waste Dump on Adnyamathanha Land 

Maurice Blackburn were engaged by the Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association (ATLA) to assist them in opposing a nuclear waste dump being placed on their traditional lands. 

ATLA claimed that Adnyamathanha voices were not being heard as part of the process to decide where a dump should be placed. Additionally, it was alleged that during testing, contractors for the Commonwealth government desecrated a site that was culturally significant for Adnyamathanha women. 

Our team acted on a pro bono basis for ATLA and for the female custodians and prepared an Australian Human Rights Commission Complaint on behalf of ATLA. 

In 2019 through the hard work of the Adnyamathanha people, and with the support of their community and Maurice Blackburn, the local community voted against the nuclear waste dump. 

The fight wasn’t over; we continue to assist the Adnyamathanha people in seeking restitution for the cultural desecration that occurred as part of this process. 

Stolen Generation compensation payments

We have assisted members of the Stolen Generation to make applications for compensation under statutory regimes, in addition to assisting claimants to make Freedom of Information requests for records relating to their removal and housing. 

 

 

Maurice Blackburn Reconciliation Action Plan

As Australia’s leading social justice law firm, Maurice Blackburn’s Reconciliation Action Plan is critical in implementing our firm’s fundamental values. It builds upon our firm’s proud history of engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities to promote reconciliation.

We promote reconciliation

As Australia’s leading social justice law firm, Maurice Blackburn’s Reconciliation Action Plan is critical in implementing our firm’s fundamental values. It builds upon our firm’s proud history of engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities to promote reconciliation.

We have a long history of litigating and campaigning for social change and justice, and we strongly value fairness and equality. We are proud of our history of engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and communities to promote reconciliation, in particular by provision of pro bono legal services and implementation of employment initiatives.

Our priorities for our Reconciliation Action Plan are to:

  • promote and provide access to justice
  • provide enhanced employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians
  • facilitate positive cultural change within and outside Maurice Blackburn
  • develop and extend our relationships with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, representative bodies and businesses.

We strongly support reconciliation and are committed to working to overcome division and inequality between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-Indigenous Australians. Specifically, we want to actively contribute to closing the gap in health, income and living standards between Aboriginal and non-Indigenous Australians.

It doesn't cost you anything to know where you stand 

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Our Canberra office is now closed, but our team continues to serve ACT clients and are available for phone and video appointments. If you need legal advice, please call us on 1800 675 346.

We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.