Native title wins continue to sweep across the Gulf

Building on the foundations laid in the sea claim in 2004, CLCAC has since funded and assisted the following groups to obtain positive determinations of native title:

Lardil, Yangkaal, Gangalidda and Kaiadilt Peoples v State of Queensland

In 2008, CLCAC facilitated the Wellesley Islands Land Claim, which led to the Federal Court recognising the native title rights and interests of the Lardil, Yangkaal, Gangalidda and Kaiadilt Peoples over the Wellesley Islands. The determination recognises exclusive possession over most of the area claimed and covers 127,400 hectares, including outstations, subleases and Aboriginal freehold land. It includes the areas of land on Bentinck and Sweers Island that were handed back under the Aboriginal Land Act in 1994.

Gangalidda and Garawa People v State of Queensland

In June 2010, CLCAC assisted the Gangalidda and Garawa Peoples’ Claim, which led to positive determinations recognising the Gangalidda People’s native title rights and interests over parts of their traditional land and sea country. The Gangalidda People are now recognised as native title holders of 5,810 square kilometres of land and waters, including  exclusive native title rights over the Old Doomadgee Aboriginal Land Trust area and the pastoral leases purchased by CLCAC.

Aplin on behalf of the Waanyi Peoples v State of Queensland (No 3)

In December 2010, the Federal Court made a determination recognising the native title rights and interests of the Waanyi Peoples. The determination  covers 1,730,081 hectares and recognises exclusive possession over the Bidunggu Land Trust area and non-exclusive possession over a number of pastoral properties,  reserves and Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park.

Collectively, these native title determinations represent the expression of a deliberate native title claim strategy initiated by the CLCAC in 1996. Together, they are a significant victory for the traditional owners of the Gulf and a testament to the strength and perseverance of these groups in fighting for the recognition of their native title rights.

Much of the remaining land in the Gulf is subject to native title claims lodged with the assistance of the CLCAC. We are currently assisting the Gangalidda and Garawa Peoples to pursue the remainder of their claim and assisting the Gkuthaarn, Kukatj and Kurtijar Peoples with native title claims in the Normanton/Karumba area. CLCAC has also helped establish three prescribed bodies corporate to hold and manage native title right and interests on behalf of the Lardil, Yangkaal, Kaiadilt, Gangalidda and Waanyi native title holders.