TEN pastoral stations and a township in the Katherine region have been awarded with native title rights.
Northern Land Council Chief Executive Officer Mr Kim Hill has welcomed native title determination over the township of Daly Waters and ten surrounding pastoral stations.
Mr Hill said it was a significant occasion for Aboriginal peoples in the region.
“Determinations like this first and foremost give traditional owners recognition of their culture and land rights,” he said.
“In addition, it awards a right to have an input in any future non-pastoral use of this, their traditional land.”
At a ceremonial sitting of the Federal Court, Justice Lander awarded non-exclusive native title rights over the stations of Amungee Mungee, Beetaloo, Mungabroom, Vermelha, Maryfield, Forrest Hill, Kalala, Hayfield, Shenandoah and Ucharonidge. This is an area of almost 30,000km².
Non-exclusive rights were also granted over the township of Daly Waters.
Mr Hill said celebrations like this one remind us that the land rights movement that began in earnest in the 60s and 70s is still alive and well all these years later.
“Sadly, many people who pioneer these claims don’t live to see them come to fruition but that’s what makes it so important for this generation to continue the fight.”
Mr Hill commended the Northern Territory Government, pastoralists and other stakeholders for reaching agreement without the need for lengthy contested proceedings.
The native title recognition followed a consent determination in March this year for the township of Mataranka.
“This sets an example to the rest of the country about how to do things with little fuss,” NT?Cattleman’s Association President David Warriner said.
“If we look at the Northern Territory today we see almost the entire area blanketed by mining and petroleum exploration leases, and until recently, unresolved native title claims.
“In the past three to four years we have begun to address this collectively with the native title claimants to see Native Title accepted and agreed.
“It provides certainty for all parties and is being undertaken with goodwill.
“(Now) we see native title holders getting the recognition that they have sought, and importantly development of local and regional relationships,” Mr Warriner said.