Oliver Gilkerson


Oliver has 20 years experience in the field of Indigenous Law, land access, government law and infrastructure. 

He was one of the first solicitors in Australia to specialise in native title and has been involved in many of the innovations in native title law and practice since then.

Memberships and Associations

  • Queensland Law Society
  • Indigenous Lawyers Association of Queensland
  • Appointed to the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s panel of specialist native title lawyers.

Professional Qualifications

Admitted as a solicitor in 1991. Founder and Legal Practice Director of Gilkerson Legal, which is now joined with Marrawah Law.

Solicitor of the High Court of Australia with appearance rights in the Federal Court of Australia.

Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland with experience in the Supreme Court, the Magistrates Court, the Land Court and the Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal in Queensland.

Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Profession, an independent guide to the ranking of lawyers in Australia, ranks Oliver as a leader amongst Queensland’s specialist native title lawyers.

Oliver has also been ranked in the international legal services guide Chambers Asia Pacific for his native title and Indigenous law expertise.

In 2017 Oliver was recognised by the Queensland Law Society in its annual Queensland’s Best Lawyers acknowledgement.

Relevant Experience

One of the first solicitors in Australia to specialise in native title law following the High Court’s Mabo Since then, Oliver has been the lawyer for parties in numerous native title claims in Australia.

An acknowledged industry leader in all aspects of land access particularly involving infrastructure projects and commercial project developments where Indigenous land issues arise.

Oliver is involved in legal compliance reviews and agreement-making to address native title, Indigenous land tenure and Indigenous cultural heritage for electricity, public infrastructure, resources, agriculture and tourism projects.

Expertise in land and sea aspects of both tenure and marine regulation. Oliver is experienced in project related applications for new freehold grants and leasing, licencing and easements in regional and remote locations. Much of his work involves specialist Indigenous land tenure legislation at the State level.
Oliver also currently provides advice to East Arnhem Land Indigenous communities on land access in the Northern Territory under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Cth).

On marine access, Oliver has undertaken dealings in, and advised on, tenures for large marine infrastructure projects including a number of regional port developments. He has also worked for private clients in successfully resolving issues relating to tidal boundaries. He has worked for private sector clients on tourism-related access issues under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (Cth) and State marine parks legislation.

Oliver is currently part of a multi-disciplinary team developing comprehensive and complex compensation claims under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) in respect of the full range of compensable acts.

For several years Oliver was the lead external legal advisor to Arrow Energy on all aspects of Indigenous law for its multi-billion dollar LNG Project in Queensland and its existing Moranbah gas project. This included successful delivery of numerous Indigenous land use agreements and cultural heritage management plans for all aspects of its proposed new export orientated business including gasfield development, gas pipelines, LNG facilities and port infrastructure.

Oliver was also the principal advisor on Indigenous law issues for the $6.9 billion South East Queensland water grid project, including successful completion of numerous cultural heritage management plans for pipelines and other components of the infrastructure network.

For over 20 years Oliver has been a legal advisor, at one time or another, to many of Queensland’s local governments on legal compliance requirements for public works projects, urban and township land development and compulsory acquisitions.
Advising numerous government owned corporations (including Powerlink Queensland, Ergon Energy and the former Urban Land Development Authority), on all aspects of State land leases, easements, reserve land dealings, freeholding applications, land boundary changes and matters under the Land Act 1994 (Qld), the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (Qld) and the Economic Development Act 2012 (Qld).

Other Key Strengths

Oliver is the author of a training course on Native Title and Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Compliance for Infrastructure Projects for the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (Queensland Branch). He has delivered scores of course seminars to government, corporate and Indigenous organisations throughout Australia.

He has a deep understanding of government policy approaches and policy innovation on Indigenous land interests. For more than 20 years he has had an involvement with all levels of government. He is a former local government councillor.

Oliver has strong business development, negotiation and commercial innovation and advocacy skills, particularly in the formation of joint venture and alliance models involving Indigenous owned businesses.


Our Practice Areas

Marrawah Law is a multi-award winning Indigenous legal practice independently certified by Supply Nation as 100% Indigenous-owned, controlled and managed company, find out more what services we can offer you. 

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Our Team

Marrawah Law represents the combined strengths of two firms and over 75 years’ experience in the practice of law for government, corporate and Indigenous clients:

Leah Cameron
Founder & Principal Solicitor

Oliver Gilkerson

Cassie Lang
Senior Solicitor

Thomas Cameron
Senior Solicitor

Deanna Cartledge
Senior Solicitor

Mikaela French

Nareeta Davis

Caitlyn Tim
Administrative Assistant

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