NSWALC call’s for Government to come clean on dealings with Darug

NSWALC call's for Government to come clean on dealings with Darug

March 17, 2011

The NSW Aboriginal Land Council has called on the NSW Government and the Opposition to make public its position on the future of its dealings with the unsuccessful Darug native title claimant group.

Recently, the Federal Court of Australia dismissed a native title claim by the Darug group, at Darug's own request, because the Darug could neither demonstrate their claim nor could they maintain cohesion among their group.

The case was dismissed by the Court, with orders restricting their capacity to bring a new claim.

Despite this, the current NSW Government continues to negotiate with the Darug as a traditional owner group and is planning to meet with the unsuccessful claimants this weekend to further negotiations for the future management of Sydney's National Parks.

NSW Aboriginal Land Council Councillor for the Sydney-Newcastle region, Roy Ah See, said the NSW Government was damaging the Aboriginal community with its divisive approach.

"How can the NSW Government on the one hand claim it respects native title determinations, yet on the other continue negotiations with a group who has asked for its own native title application to be thrown out of court," Cr Ah See said.

"The Government has decided to continue to work with the Darug, to the exclusion of representative Aboriginal organisations around the Sydney basin .

"This is an outrageous position for the NSW Government to adopt. It would be like a developer negotiating with your neighbours to decide what is going to happen to your backyard.

"We're all subject to the same laws. We all have to play by the same rules. If you cannot prove native title status, then you have no right to negotiate with government as a native title holder.

"This battle has dragged on for years.

"It is now time for the NSW Government, and the NSW Opposition, to commit to negotiating with the legitimate Aboriginal leadership structures of the Sydney basin region, in particular the democratically elected Aboriginal land councils.

"I call on the NSW Government to reconsider its position and come clean.

"It cannot continue to deny or be ignorant of the friction and anxiety that has been created by its current and continuing actions.

"As an absolute minimum, the NSW Government must immediately cancel the meeting scheduled for Saturday.

"This 'divide and conquer' strategy promotes anger and frustration in my community, and it must no longer form a part of any NSW Government's future engagement with Aboriginal people."

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