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Native title recognition for the Gunggari People of Queensland


Native title rights for the Gunggari People in Queensland have today been recognised at a Federal Court hearing at the town of Mitchell, approximately 580 kilometres west of Brisbane.

Justice John Reeves made a consent determination to recognise the Gunggari People’s non-exclusive native title rights and interests over land and waters in central southern Queensland, covering approximately 118, 449.2 hectares. The Determination Area includes areas of reserve, and pastoral and other leases.

The Gunggari People first filed a native title application in March 1996. The application was then effectively split into two parts in 2001, with the first part resulting in a signing of an Indigenous land use agreement between the Gunggari People and the State of Queensland in December 2008.

The second part, which was subject to today’s consent determination, resulted from negotiations between the Gunggari People and the various government parties, businesses, pastoral groups and individuals, including the State of Queensland, Balonne Shire Council, Murweh Shire Council, Maranoa Regional Council, Ergon Energy and Telstra.

Both parts of the Gunggari People’s native title claim have been the subject of mediation by the National Native Title Tribunal.
Tribunal President Graeme Neate, who assisted the parties to reach agreement for today’s determination, has congratulated all of the negotiation parties on the outcome.

“The parties are to be congratulated for their willingness and commitment to work together co-operatively to resolve native title by agreement,” said Mr Neate.
“The resolution of these applications results in the formal recognition of the Gunggari People’s ancient and ongoing ties to these lands and waters.”

As part of the settlement, the Gunggari People have also negotiated seven Indigenous land use agreements that establish how rights and interests will be exercised on the ground.

“The agreement-making process establishes positive relationships for co-operative co-existence between native title holders and other interest holders in land and waters.

“This is the best approach to settling native title.”

The Gunggari People’s determination recognises their non-exclusive native title rights to access, hunt, fish, camp, gather and use the natural resources within the relevant area. The determination also recognises their ability to undertake cultural activities, conduct ceremonies and meetings and protect places of cultural and religious significance.

This determination brings the total number of native title determinations in Australia to 187, and in Queensland to 66.

Fact file

  • The National Native Title Tribunal has produced a brochure outlining the Gunggari People native title determination. The brochure can be accessed here.


Petra Vanessie