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Kowanyama People's Native Title Determination
14 Nov 2009
Published To
Description

On 22 October 2009, the Federal Court of Australia made a consent determination recognising the Kowanyama People's native title rights over about 2,731sq km of land and waters in south-western Cape York, 460 km northwest of Cairns.

It is the first time the Kowanyama People's native title rights have been recognised under Australian law.

The consent determination settles one segment (Part A) of the Kowanyama People's 19,800sq km native title claim. The group has taken a three-staged approach to their pursuit of native title recognition with Parts B and C, the remaining segments of their claimed area, yet to be settled.

The Part A determination area is south of the Coleman River and north of Topsy Creek from the coastline of the Gulf of Carpentaria in the west to the Mitchell Alice Rivers National Park in the east and a coastal strip of sea and coastline from the Coleman River in the north to a point about 4.5 km south of the Staaten River in the south.

EXCLUSIVE NATIVE TITLE RIGHTS RECOGNISED

The Federal Court has recognised the Kowanyama People's exclusive native title rights over about 2,518sq km of Deed of Grant in Trust land in the claimed area. This means the native title holders have the right to possess, occupy, use and enjoy this area exclusively.

NON-EXCLUSIVE NATIVE TITLE RIGHTS RECOGNISED

The Kowanyama People's non-exclusive native title rights have been recognised over about 213sq km of sea, beach and tidal areas. Their non-exclusive rights over the land areas include to:

* access, traverse and camp on the areas

* light fires for cultural, spiritual or domestic purposes

* take, use, share and exchange traditional natural resources for non-commercial, cultural, spiritual, personal, domestic or communal purposes

* maintain and protect places of importance and areas of significance under their traditional laws and customs.

Their non-exclusive rights to the water include to:

* hunt, fish and gather for non-commercial, cultural, spiritual, personal, domestic or communal purposes

* take and use the water for non-commercial cultural, spiritual, personal, domestic or communal purposes.

WHAT THE CONSENT DETERMINATIUON MEANS

A determination is a decision by the Federal Court about whether native title exists in a claimed area. This consent determination followed agreement between the Part A parties to the Kowanyama People’s native title claim.

Given that the parties had reached an agreement, the Court made the determination after it was satisfied that the native title claimants had established their continuous connection to the determination area in accordance with their traditional laws and customs.

Respondent parties to Part A of the Kowanyama People's native title claim were:

* Commonwealth Government

* Queensland Government

* Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council

* Telstra

* commercial fishers, members of the Queensland Seafood Industry Association.

During negotiations the respondent parties agreed to recognise the Kowanyama People as the native title holders of the determination area. They also agreed on how their respective rights and interests would coexist with the native title rights.

Text taken from National Native Title Tribunal

For more information contact:

Kowanyama Aboriginal Land and Natural Resource Management Office Telephone: + 61 7 4060 5187 Email: viv@klco.org.au

Tags
Environment Indigenous Kowanyama native title
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