15 August, 2014
Gumbaynggirr Native Title Decision: Land Rights & Native Title work together
Friday, August 15th 2014
The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) welcomes today's historic native title determination, which includes land owned by local Aboriginal people under the NSW Land Rights Act.
"This is the fourth Native Title determination in NSW and it is the first over land owned by Local Aboriginal Land Councils and we are proud to have been part of making it happen," said NSWALC Councillor Peter Smith.
"Today's Federal Court decision, and the decades of work leading up to it, confirms that native title and land rights can co-exist and work together in NSW.
"The decision confirms the intertwining strength of property rights and cultural rights over land by recognising native title, freehold title through land rights, and joint management.
"NSWALC congratulates the Gumbaynggirr people on the recognition of their native title rights over these significant cultural and spiritual lands which include land jointly owned by the Nambucca Heads Local Aboriginal Land Council and Unkya Local Aboriginal Land Council and leased to the State Government as a National Park known as Gaagal Wanggaan.
"NSWALC recognises that native title and land rights are both important systems that provide rights for and advance the interests of Aboriginal people in NSW," Councillor Smith said.
The first Aboriginal land claim in the area was lodged in October1984, with further claims in 1992 and 1995. When these claims were refused by the State Government in 1996 NSWALC joined with the Local Aboriginal Land Councils to fight the decision. The native title claim over the area was lodged in the same year.
Unkya Local Aboriginal Land Council Chair Michael Donovan said this was a hugely significant day for all involved.
"We have collectively proven that by working together we can achieve positive outcomes.
"That we have survived and our Gumbaynggirr native title rights and interests have also survived is testament to Gumbaynggirr peoples' resilience and resolve," he said.