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Gunditjmara to achieve Australia's 100th native title determination

Australia is set to register its 100th native title determination following the formal recognition of the Gunditjmara People's native title rights and interests in Victoria's western district today.

National Native Title Tribunal President Graeme Neate said today's consent determination by Justice Tony North again highlighted the importance of negotiating outcomes and not getting bogged down in expensive and time consuming litigation.

‘The parties have shown that native title can deliver positive results to all involved when people get together to talk the issues through and move forward through agreements,’ he said.

Mr Neate said 99 determinations were currently registered, two-thirds of which recognised that native title exists. Most of those had been recognised with the consent of the parties.

The determination recognises the Gunditjmara People's non-exclusive native title rights and interests over 140 000 hectares of vacant Crown land, national parks, reserves, rivers, creeks and sea north-west of Warrnambool.

Today's outcome formalises the in-principle agreement the Victorian Government and the Gunditjmara People made last week and finalises the majority of the Gunditjmara People's two native title claims.

Tribunal Member Gaye Sculthorpe said: ‘This is a great result for the Gunditjmara People who were able to provide the necessary evidence to support their native title claims in a state where native title has historically been difficult to prove.’

‘It's also a good outcome for the other parties as their rights and interests have been protected under the agreement.’

‘As native title holders the Gunditjmara People now join the Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagalk peoples who were the first in Victoria to have their native title rights recognised by consent, in December 2005.’

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