AUSTRALIA: Land Rights
- Wednesday, 2 April 2003, 10:04:04 AEST
Land offered as 'goodwill' to traditional owners
The Western Australian Government will grant freehold title
over 50,000 hectares of Crown land in the east Kimberley if
the traditional owners agree to settle their native title
The Miriuwong-Gajerrong first lodged a claim for 6,000 square
kilometres of northern Western Australia and the Northern
Territory nine years ago.
It was seen as a test case for native title over pastoral
land and the claim see-sawed through the federal and high
courts without resolution.
Aboriginal MP Carol Martin says the offer of land outside the
strict definition of native title is a gesture of goodwill.
"We've got a lot as Kimberley people to be proud of that
we've got a Government that wants a resolution where native
title is concerned," she said.
The traditional owners have long claimed the land parcel was
promised to them 30 years ago when their sacred sites in the
east Kimberley were flooded to make way for the creation of
the Argyle Dam.