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The High Court of Australia has handed down the biggest "native title" ruling affecting Aboriginal ownership of the land in decades, amid claims that billions of dollars in compensation will need to be paid by governments to indigenous groups. "Native title" refers to the rights of Australia's indigenous people to their traditional land and water recognised by Australian common law. Lawyers, including those representing mining companies, said the ruling in favour of the Ngaliwurru and Nungali Aboriginal groups - from a remote part of the Northern Territory - paved the way for billions of dollars in compensation nationally. "The High Court's decision will likely to trigger compensation applications from many of the hundreds of native title holder groups around Australia," said Tony Denholder, in the wake of a case that a federal court ruled on in 2016 - before the High Court became involved.