Native title granted for 30,000sq km in NT

During his 87 years Aboriginal man Stephen Roberts has had to endure seeing much of his ancestral lands under control of other people.

BUT on Wednesday he shook the hands of Federal Court judge Bruce Lander, as he was told one of Australia's largest native title land claims had been determined in favour of his people.

"I think it is a historic day - I am happy," Mr Roberts said.

It has been a long process. His people began the native title action in 2000.

"The land to me is important It is where my dreamtime stories are," he said.

The local Mudburra and Jingili people now have rights to access the land, conduct ceremonies and hunt on it.

Existing pastoralists will be able to continue their operations but will have to consult the traditional owners on some matters.

Several parcels of land were included in the determination, totalling nearly 30,000 sq km in an area north of Tennant Creek and south of Katherine.

Chief executive of the Northern Land Council, Kim Hill, said the Native Title Act contained a number of road blocks which made negotiations a drawn-out process.

But now a determination has been made in favour of the traditional owners, they will have a right to have a say over things including natural resources that may be buried beneath the area's red soils.

"There is a petroleum interest, particularly gas and oil," Mr Hill said.

"So if those are viable no doubt these traditional owners will be at the table," he added.

In all, 10 cattle stations are affected by Wednesday's court ruling, which was made at a special ceremonial sitting of the Federal Court in Newcastle Waters, about 700 km south of Darwin.

Indigenous people were also granted some native title rights over the entire town of Daly Waters.

Gregory Jackson expressed his delight that the next generation of his family will have rights to land that he hasn't enjoyed.

"It took us years and years to fight for the place," Mr Jackson said.

"Today is a special day for us - the old people and the young fellas," he said.

Val Dyer, who has helped run Hayfield Station since 1974, said the native title process went smoothly.

"We are accustomed to them (Aboriginal people)," she said.

"We have worked with them for a very long period of time and we haven't had too many issues," Ms Dyer said.

Justice Lander said he was grateful and privileged to make the native title determination at a court sitting in Aboriginal land.
National & World news, sport, entertainment, business, property, travel | Northern Territory News | Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia |
Excellent news. Some of the huge amounts of tax I pay to the ATO should be spent on many truck loads of beer and alcohol so they can celebrate this 'win'. In fact the more alcohol the better.
We are talking about Oz here? Sounds like Canada (or anywhere in north America) to me.

Tribe suing beer companies for alcohol problems | Fox News

It was this paragraph that really caught my eye

"The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court of Nebraska also targets four beer stores in Whiteclay, a Nebraska town near the reservation's border that, despite having only about a dozen residents, sold nearly 5 million cans of beer in 2010."

Mark The Convict

We needn't worry about fracking poisoning the water - after all, it's not as though the locals drink it or wash in it...
With that much land I would guess a lot of aborigines will be able to chuck out the alarm clock and quit their jobs.

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