NSW Premier praised for his courage and foresight over land hand back
Monday, November 16, 2009
The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council's South Coast representative, Councillor Jack Hampton, today congratulated the NSW Premier, Nathan Rees, for his courage and foresight in handing back to Aboriginal people a huge area of land at Nowra.
"It's 20,000 hectares - the biggest single hand back in the State's history," Councillor Hampton added. "That's more than a mere gesture - it's trendsetting and took courage to make.
"So, too, is the Premier's directive that the oldest 166 land claims must be determined by the end of the year".
The Chairperson of the Nowra Local Aboriginal Land Council, Kathleen Davis, echoed Councillor Hampton's praise.
"It's wonderful news - one of immense significance to Aboriginal people, specifically the Yuin people.
"It settles three outstanding land claims.
This announcement brings great joy to our people".
Chairperson Davis said all three land claims had been lodged over a decade ago.
"We were hopeful that they would succeed but given how many land claims throughout the State are still unsettled - let alone how many have been refused - we couldn't afford to get too optimistic.
"Now we can celebrate".
Councillor Hampton said the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council had been pushing for some time for the State Government to take action on unsettled land claims.
"Some go back to the very beginning of the Land Rights legislation - that's over 25 years ago," Councillor Hampton said.
"I must also thank my fellow Councillor, NSWALC's elected representative for the Sydney Metropolitan area, Councillor Roy Ah See, for the work he and his land councils have undertaken to hasten the settlement of land claims".
Both Councillor Hampton and Chairperson Davis said the land to be handed back ran along 30 kilometres of the eastern boundary of the Morton National Park and covered Yarramumum Creek, Boolijong Creek and parts of Yerriyong State Forest.
"We just hope the Premier can visit Nowra and do the hand back personally. That would be wonderful," Chairperson Davis said.
Further information: Councillor Jack Hampton: 0447 290 591 or Kathleen Davis 0413 838283