This was a judicial review of the approval of an environmental plan submitted by Santos to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority. The plan related to the drilling of offshore gas production wells in the Barossa Field, north of the Tiwi Islands.

Traditional owners of the Tiwi Islands challenged the validity of the approval of the plan. They argued that Santos was required to consult with them in the course of preparing the plan. Unusually, the trial included a hearing on a remote beach in the Tiwi Islands to take evidence of Tiwi spiritual beliefs.

The Full Court held that traditional connections of the Tiwi Islanders to “sea country” were “functions, interests or activities” which may be affected by the activities to be carried out under the plan. Under the relevant regulations, they were therefore required to be consulted.