Sunday, December 16, 2007

Traditional laws and customs for Githabul People set to live on forever - 30th November 2007

Yesterday’s Federal Court decision recognising the native title rights and interests of the Githabul People of northern NSW is one of the most significant native title determinations in the state for 10 years, according to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma.

The decision, which recognises native title rights for the Githabul to an area including nine national parks and 13 state forests, resolves the claim which was first lodged in 1995.

“This is a truly outstanding outcome and testament to the cooperation and goodwill of not only the Githabul People themselves but also the NSW Government,” Mr Calma said.

Under the agreement, the Githabul’s non-exclusive native title rights have been recognised enabling access to the land for spiritual purposes, to camp, fish, hunt and gather animals and plants for personal use. The agreement also protects places of importance to the Githabul People.

The consent determination follows the signing of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) earlier this year which outlined use and management of the land by the Githabul People, the northern NSW community and the NSW Government.

Mr Calma congratulated all parties for their constructive and cooperative approach which made reaching the agreement possible and again highlighted how ILUAs helped pave the way for a successful native title outcome.

“This is a historic moment for the Githabul People and the entire reconciliation and Indigenous land reform process,” Commissioner Calma said.

“This consent determination proves yet again that traditional owners want to work with government and other bodies in true partnerships.”

Media contact: Louise McDermott (02) 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597

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