Tomorrow marks a special day for Mirarr people in the township of Jabiru.
After years of fighting, the Federal Court of Australia will hold a special on-country hearing to recognise the native title rights over their land.
“This claim is one part of the bigger struggle by the Mirrar people for recognition of ownership and control of their land within the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park,” Northern Land Council CEO Joe Morrison said.
“The Mirrar, led by Yvonne Margarula, and before that her late father, have long fought for better protection of their country and this native title determination helps secure for all time important protection and recognition of the Mirarr people’s rights and interests under Australian law,” he said.
The Mirarr estate extends beyond Jabiru to include the areas currently affected by the Ranger uranium mine and the Jabiluka mineral lease.
“We support Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation’s plans for the future of Jabiru and the rehabilitation of the uranium mining areas, ensuring Traditional Owners have control and an economic stake in the future of their traditional lands,” Mr Morrison said.
The application for native title over the Jabiru township and its immediate surrounds (around 13 square kilometres in size) was first filed with the Federal Court in 1998 on behalf of the Mirrar people.
“Friday’s determination gives effect to Justice Mansfield’s judgement on August 24, 2016 that the Mirrar
hold native title rights over the Jabiru Township,” Mr Morrison said.
“Justice Mansfield’s hearing of the claim began in 2013 into whether any executive or legislative acts since European settlement had extinguished native title in the area. Negotiations on the final terms have now been finalised and we look forward to celebrating this milestone on Friday.”
Five senior Mirrar women – Yvonne Margarula, Nida Mangarnbarr, Annie Ngalmirama, May Nango and Ruth Gamarrawu – who have been central to the claim will be presented with hard copies of the determination tomorrow.
Native title holders and their families, friends and special guests are invited to attend the ceremony starting at 1pm at Lakeside Park, Jabiru.
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