Kurtjar win native title claim in Qld

·2-min read

More than 1.2 million hectares of land in Queensland has been recognised in a native title determination by the Federal Court.

The Kurtjar People have been granted native title rights over land in the Gulf Country after a determination near Normanton on Tuesday.

The Federal Court recognised non-exclusive native title rights over land and waters for the Kurtjar People from east of Normanton up to the northwest Yagoonya, which traditional owner Fred Pascoe said is an opportunity to protect sacred sites for past and future generations.

"We've got sacred sites in this area, we've got deceased family members that are buried in that country and this gives us a chance to protect those sites, to protect that country," Mr Pascoe said.

"It also gives us a chance to teach our young ones coming up that this is their country as well, and they've got the right to enjoy that country, but they've also got the responsibility of looking after it.

"To me that is the most important aspect of the determination.

"We're looking forward to getting back out there on country, sitting down in the bush, and feeling the spirits of our old people and of that country. It will certainly be a blessing."

There are more than 536,000 square kilometres of land in Queensland recognised under native title, with around 305,000 square kilometres subject to claims.

Acting Resources Minister Mark Furner said the court's determination enshrines a commitment to reconciliation.

"From today onwards the Federal Court formally recognises what the Kurtjar People have always known - that native title rights exist, and will continue to exist, over these lands and waters in the Gulf Country," he said.

"Native title is vital for Queensland's pathway to reconciliation as it can assist to preserve indigenous culture, values and traditions."

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