16 June 2015
Barkandji Native Title determination welcomed by NSWALC
The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has welcomed today's historic determination of the Barkandji native title claim which recognises land owned by local Aboriginal people under the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act.
NSWALC Councillor for Western Region Des Jones said the determination was the largest in the State's history and covers five Local Aboriginal Land Councils - Broken Hill, Dareton, Wilcannia, Mutawinji and Menindee.
"The claim was first registered in 1997 and now 18 years later, the traditional laws and customs of the Barkandji people have been recognised by the Federal Court," he said.
Cr Jones said the decision was further proof that native title and land rights could coexist and work together in New South Wales.
"While native title and the land rights system in New South Wales are very different, they both benefit Aboriginal people.
"The recognition of the Barkandji people's native title rights over these cultural and spiritual lands is significant.
"Never again will the proof of onus, the identity and cultural link to traditional lands be questioned.
"The determination empowers Barkandji people's hopes and aspirations which were once uncertain but now a reality.
"The new challenge for the Barkandji is to support the leadership and to build a proud nation of traditional owners.
"The NSW Aboriginal Land Council supports these new arrangements. The majority of the Barkandji traditional owners were at the forefront of the fight for land rights," Cr Jones said.
Cr Jones also thanked NTSCORP (the Native Title Service Provider for Aboriginal Traditional Owners in NSW and the ACT) and the Steering Committee for delivering the Federal Court determination.
Media contact: Andrew Williams 0429 585 291