State Gov handsback 160,000 hectares to traditional owners

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State Gov handsback 160,000 hectares to Daintree park

The Queensland government has handed back 160,000 hectares of land to traditional owners of the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people. The announcement concludes a 30 year native title court battle .

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From Cairns post 30.0921

A 30-year native title battle has come to a conclusion after more than 160,000 hectares of land in Cape York has been handed back to the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people.

It comes almost three decades after the Aboriginal people of the Daintree were sidelined by the Federal Government’s nomination of the rainforest for World Heritage listing.

It led to protests, an Anti-­Discrimination Tribunal matter and finally, years of negotiating the State Government.

State environment minister Meaghan Scanlon, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partnerships minister Craig Crawford and representatives from the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people signed an agreement on Wednesday at a special ceremony in Bloomfield, north of Wujal Wujal.

More than 160,000 hectares of land in Cape York has been handed back to the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people.

The agreement will see the hand back of four national parks, including the world-famous Daintree National Park, and stretch from north of Port Douglas to south of Cooktown, while a new nature refuge will also be created.

Eastern Kuku Yalanji traditional owners Negotiating Committee Member Chrissy Grant said the land would eventually be “solely and wholly managed by the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Bama”.

“Our goal is to establish a foundation to provide confident and competent people with pathways and opportunities for mentoring, training, apprenticeships, work experience and employment for our Eastern Kuku Yalanji Bama to fill positions from a wide range of skilled trades, land and sea management, hospitality, tourism, and research so that we are in control of our own destinies, ” she said.

Kuku Yalanji woman Tahlia Burchill-O’Brien at the historic handover of 160,000ha of land in Cape York including the Daintree National Park.

Kuku Yalanji woman Tahlia Burchill-O’Brien at the historic handover of 160,000ha of land in Cape York including the Daintree National Park.

Minister Scanlon said Australia had an uncomfortable and ugly shared past, and the hand back was a key step towards reconciliation.

“These national parks will protect important Aboriginal cultural sites, diverse ecosystems including rainforests, woodlands, wetlands and mangroves, and form part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area,” she said.

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