The Jangga People and three north Queensland regional councils today signed an indigenous land use agreement (ILUA) that protects Aboriginal cultural heritage and sets out how councils will provide services and develop infrastructure in the agreement area.
Representatives of the Jangga People, the Charters Towers Regional Council, Isaac Regional Council and Whitsunday Regional Council signed the agreement at a special ceremony at Mt Coolon, 120km west of Mackay and 150 km south of Townsville.
The ILUA, which was registered by the National Native Title Tribunal on 11 February, is over about 20,700sq km of land surrounding Mt Coolon and clarifies how native title rights and interests will coexist with local government interests.
Tribunal Member Graham Fletcher, who mediated between the parties, said the local governments had recognised the Jangga People as traditional owners of the land under the agreement.
“The Jangga People have a relationship and connection with this land, on which there are culturally significant sites and areas. This ILUA protects the Jangga People’s rights to maintain these sites and their relationship to this land,” Mr Fletcher said.
“The regional councils also have interests, rights and responsibilities to their respective communities in the parts of the agreement area that fall in their local government jurisdictions.
“This ILUA establishes how future activities by the councils, such as the construction of buildings and roads, will comply with the Native Title Act and the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act. It includes a cultural heritage protocol to help protect cultural heritage.”
The agreement is based on a template ILUA developed by the Local Government Association of Queensland and representatives of several native title claimant groups.
“The template ILUA provided a starting point for the parties and a framework for the negotiations,” Mr Fletcher said. “As a result they were able to negotiate the agreement in two and a half years.”
As at 30 June 2010, 433 ILUAs have been registered in Australia, including 226 in Queensland.