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Githabul People move closer to native title recognition

The Githabul People have taken another step towards the recognition of their native title rights in New South Wales with the registration of their indigenous land use agreement (ILUA)* at the National Native Title Tribunal.

They reached the agreement (ILUA) with the NSW Government early this year over 112,000 hectares of national parks and State forests in the Kyogle, Woodenbong and Tenterfield area of north-eastern New South Wales.

The registration of the ILUA with the Tribunal finalises this legally binding agreement.

Expected to deliver employment opportunities, freehold land and co-management of national parks, the ILUA is a milestone in the progress towards a consent determination*.

Now that the ILUA is registered the parties will apply to the Federal Court to make a consent determination that will recognise the Githabul People's rights to practise their traditional laws and customs, including the right to access and camp on the areas, as well as to hunt, fish and gather plants for personal use.

Tribunal New South Wales State Manager, Frank Russo, said the parties had managed to resolve issues about their respective rights and interests through negotiation and agreement.

‘Having come to agreement that the Githabul People have native title rights in this area, the parties are now in the position to seek a consent determination with the Federal Court,’ he said.

‘They have demonstrated that by talking the matters through an outcome can be reached that recognises native title while protecting the rights of the other parties.’

*ILUAs are voluntary agreements about the use and management of land, made between Indigenous groups and other people.

A native title determination is a decision by a court or recognised state or territory body that native title does or does not exist in an area.