The Muluridji People have today been recognised as native title holders of about 12 030 hectares of land and waters in the locality of, and to the north-west of Mareeba, about 30km west of Cairns in North Queensland including areas of the Hann Tableland National Park, Mareeba Tropical Savanna, Wetland Reserve Nature Refuge, and unallocated state land, pastoral lease and other reserve lands.
At the Federal Court hearing in Mareeba, Justice Logan made two consent determinations recognising the Muluridji People’s native title rights and interests. These consent determinations finalise the Muluridji People’s two claims lodged in 1998 and 2001.
The Muluridji People hold exclusive native title rights in relation to about 745 hectares of land. The Federal Court also recognised the Muluridjji People’s non-exclusive native title rights over about 11 285 hectares of land and waters. The non-exclusive rights recognised include the right to access and be present on the area, to hunt, fish and gather on the land and waters of the area for personal, domestic, and non-commercial communal purposes, and to maintain places of importance and areas of significance to the native title holders under their traditional laws and customs.
The Muluridji Tribal Aboriginal Corporation has been established to manage the native title rights and interests on behalf of all native title holders.
National Native Title Tribunal Member Graham Fletcher, who assisted the parties to reach agreement, has congratulated all of the negotiation parties on the outcome. “The resolution of these applications results in the formal recognition of the Muluridji People’s ancient and ongoing ties to these lands and waters. Three Indigenous Land Use Agreements between the parties set out how the parties’ rights and interests will be carried out on the ground and bring benefits and certainty to the parties involved.”
“The successful mediation and Court case management of these claims involved the participation of various persons representing the Muluridji People, the State of Queensland, Ergon Energy Corporation, and the Tablelands Regional Council.”
“The National Native Title Tribunal convened a number of mediation conferences with the parties which also included the parties negotiating indigenous land use agreements (‘ILUAs’) to resolve practical on the ground issues. The Federal Court of Australia then held intensive case management conferences from September 2011 to manage the applications to determination,” Mr Fletcher said.
“When the parties are willing to work co-operatively, native title outcomes and broader agreements with positive benefits for all parties can be achieved by talking through the issues in mediation. The agreement-making process establishes positive relationships for co-operative co-existence between native title holders and other interest holders in land and waters. Parties are encouraged to take a co-operative approach to resolving native title issues, as the parties have done to resolve the Muluridji People’s claim, by agreement.”
Note: There have been 64 determinations of native title in Queensland to date; 61 of these were resolved by consent. There have been 300 Indigenous Land Use Agreements registered in Queensland.
See also the determination brochure which includes a map of the claim area.