A Ngambri elder's bid for a court-ordered injunction to stop the sale and development of a suburb has fallen at the first hurdle.
Shane Mortimer sought an injunction to stop the Land Development Agency selling land in the greenfield suburb of Lawson in the city's north.
The suburb, bounded by Ginninderra Drive and Baldwin Drive is part of the ACT government's land release program and is being cleared for 1800 houses.
But Mr Mortimer went to the ACT Supreme Court, arguing his common law native title was ignored and his human rights violated.
He said his common law native title rendered sale or subdivision ''unlawful'', and sought for the case to be transferred to the Federal Court to rule on the key issue.
But lawyers for the territory government said the native title over the land was extinguished in the 1830s when the Crown sold the land to a private landowner. The Commonwealth later compulsorily acquired the land in 1915.
Justice John Burns yesterday threw out the request for an injunction, saying Mr Mortimer failed to satisfy the first legal step.
To secure a court-ordered injunction a plaintiff must show they have a ''prima facie'' case - or a case at first glance.
But the judge said it was clear the sale of the land in the 1830s extinguished native title, and refused the injunction.
It is not the first time Mr Mortimer has gone to the courts to challenge the ongoing development in Canberra's outlying suburbs.
He has previously attempted to stop the sale and development of land on the edges of the capital by lodging an unsuccessful indigenous land rights claim on the suburbs of Crace and Lawson in 2008.
He also presented a petition to the then chief minister Jon Stanhope in 2007 to assert rights to claim ancestral origins in the ACT and its surrounds.