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The operation of these provisions was confined to legislation and grants occurring after the enactment of the racial discrimination legislation. The extinguishing effect of the legal guidelines and grants made before then was determined by the common law rules. However, the choice within the Wik case led to an modification of the act to substantiate the extinguishing effect of certain legal guidelines and grants, regardless of the time by which took effect.

The native title act confirms the effect on native title of certain previous acts. Under part 23C, previous unique possession acts have extinguish native title. Section 23B defines earlier exclusive possession acts as valid acts made on or before 23 December 1996 being the date of the High Court’s choice in relation to Wik. Such as grants of Freehold, public works in sure leases and other grants conferring rights of unique possession.

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