Friday, 8 October 2010

Native Title restored to 100,000 hectares on southern Atherton Tablelands

Just days after Queensland Premier Anna Bligh dished out 75,000 hectares of park known as Archer Bend to the Wik Mungkan people on Cape York, the traditional owners of land in the Tablelands will be given native title rights today after a 10-year campaign.


The Federal Court of Australia has agreed to three consent determinations that recognise the Jirrbal people's rights over land near Ravenshoe. The 100,000 hectares includes the Tully Falls National Park.

"We will now be able to camp and hold traditional burials on the land," Margaret Freeman of the Jirrbal working group, told ABC. "The other key highlight is it enables them now with some blocks having exclusive possession for the elders to go back out on country and pass some of that knowledge on in a traditional way, particularly our hunting and gathering, our basket weaving."

"Initially the elders first looked at the idea around 20 years ago when the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area was listed and the announcement actually happened in Ravenshoe which is the heartland of our country," Margaret Freeman says. "We officially started the native title process around 2000, so it's been 10 years in the making to get the decision."

However the giving back of 75,000 hectares at Archer Bend to the Wik Mungkan people on Cape York, has been seen a cynical by Federal Member for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch. He accused Anna Bligh of giving with one hand and taking with the other.

“This is so typical of the Labor Government, they are giving the Wik Mungkan people back their land, but in the next breathe locking it up under proposed Wild Rivers legislation so the people cannot use it," Warren Entsch said. “They are giving with one hand and taking away with the other and it is deceitful and appalling and they should be ashamed of themselves."
“The Labor Government is renowned for taking away the most vital and economically productive land from the indigenous peoples an only allowing them use of ‘fringe‐land’ for economic benefit."
Warren Entsch says that Anna Bligh should not be proud of her announcement, but should be hanging her head in shame as the Cape York people deserve better.

"They deserve transparency and the right to determine their own futures instead of being held to ransom by the Labor Government. If Ms Bligh really cared about the indigenous people and their land rights, she would stand up and oppose Wild Rivers legislation," Entsch says. “I ask Ms Bligh if she is going to stand up and fight for the indigenous peoples over the destructive Wild Rivers legislation that the Labor Government is imposing which will see the livelihoods of Cape York landowners severely constrained."

“This is not a day for Ms Bligh to gloat, but rather a day for the truth to be heard,” Warren Entsch says.

1 comment:

Leuco Gaster said...

Here we go again - Warren Entsch says "This is so typical of the Labor Government, they are giving the Wik Mungkan people back their land, but in the next breathe locking it up under proposed Wild Rivers legislation so the people cannot use it."

It is just not true.

Mr Entsch was our MP in the Howard govt for 11 years - a decade when Aboriginal living standards, health and employment went backwards - now he wants to be their new best friend!