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Native title recognised over Barron Gorge National Park


The Djabugay people of North Queensland will today have their native title rights recognised over Barron Gorge National Park in Queensland's world heritage listed Wet Tropics.

Justice Jeffrey Spender of the Federal Court of Australia is scheduled to make orders determining that the Djabugay people have non-exclusive native title rights and interests in the 2,800 hectare park, 9 km north-west of Cairns.

The consent determination is the first to be made over a national park in Queensland without litigation and is the 11th determination to be finalised in the state this year.

The Djabugay people made their application for a determination of native title on 26 May 1994. The National Native Title Tribunal has mediated the claim since September 1994.

National Native Title Tribunal President Graeme Neate, who has mediated the claim since 1997, said the determination was significant for the Djabugay people, as it recognised that they were the traditional owners of the area.

‘It gives the Djabugay people the opportunity to become more involved in the management of the national park,’ Mr Neate said.

‘Throughout the negotiations, the Djabugay people have expressed their willingness to exercise their rights in a manner compatible with the management of the national park.’

‘1.6 million Australian and overseas tourists visit the park each year. This determination of native title raises awareness of the significance of the area to its traditional owners, while visitors' rights to enter and enjoy the park have not changed. It is a win-win outcome for all.’

Mr Neate said the determination should open the way for other determinations over national parks in Queensland and Australia in the future.

The determination will come into effect once an indigenous land use agreement (ILUA) between the applicants on behalf of the Djabugay people, the State of Queensland and the Djabugay Native Title Aboriginal Corporation has been registered.

 Background information

Nicolette Kormendy
08 9268 7315