Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Precedent-setting Aboriginal native title grant over large area of SA Eyre Peninsula

Hear-This-wayAUDIO: Barngarla people granted partial native title over large area of SA Eyre Peninsula

ABC News By Nicola Gage and Natalie Whiting 23 Jan 15 A two-decade native title claim which covers about two thirds of South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula has been granted in the Federal Court.

The Barngarla people filed a native title claim for the area in April 1996.

Justice John Mansfield delivered his judgment on their right to the land on Thursday.

     The group’s claim covered 44,500 square kilometres, an area almost triangular in shape and encompassing the coast between Port Augusta and Port Lincoln and the surrounding land and sea……..

Judgment could set precedent for claims in SA, interstate

Solicitor Philip Teitzel said the case was one of the first in the nation to go over densely settled areas and could have broad implications…….http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-22/barngarla-people-granted-partial-native-title-in-eyre-peninsula/6033826

January 23, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, South Australia | Leave a comment

For the convenience of uranium mining, Aborigines are moved off remote homelands

handsoffWaging a war over land rights MEENA MENON , THE HINDU,January 19, 2015  ‘Protests are continuing in various parts of Australia over mining’

In her book of poems, Love Dreaming, aboriginal writer Ali Cobby Eckermann from Australia writes, “Every grain of sand in this big red country is a pore on the skin of my family.” Her writing and her new book, Too Afraid to Cry reflect the alienation of the ‘Stolen generation’ of children who were selectively taken away from their families and raised by white people and also the plight of her people who are waging a war over land rights.

Thousands of people from indigenous communities plan to hold massive protests over land issues on Australia Day on January 26, she says. Protests are continuing in various parts of Australia over mining uranium and minerals and even Kakadu National Park, on the UNESCO World Heritage Site is under threat.

In New Delhi to deliver the annual Navayana lecture, she told The Hindu in an interview that a serious lack of understanding between cultures persists in Australia at a political level and with mining it has expanded. “We worry for our children. Now the Western Australian government wants to use bulldozers and close 150 or 180 small aboriginal communities — they say it is not sustainable to keep these communities going. Where do these people go? They can wander to the city to become a makeshift community under tarpaulin as they are not going to rehouse them,” she says.

The sudden move, she suspects, is to do with mining and removing people from the area so that even that little bit of resistance is gone. That’s the scary part but the aboriginal people will survive. It’s all about land, the war is over land, she says and no one really articulates it like that. “Why would they want these remote areas which are mineral rich to be emptied of people. Western Australia is among the richest mining areas but why is not the government saying some percentage of that mining rights should go to the community. That doesn’t happen, the miners don’t pay tax and we watch the money fly away,” she points out. Continue reading

January 20, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Western Australia | Leave a comment

John Pilger discusses his film “Utopia” on Australia’s land steal from Aborigines

film-UtopiaJohn Pilger Interview: White Australians Would Like Aboriginal People to DisappearSunday, 18 January 2015 00:00By Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview Noted journalist John Pilger directed and is the lead investigator in an extraordinary documentary, Utopia: An Epic Story of Struggle and Resistance.

Pilger incisively and tenaciously reveals the brutal conquest and continued racist treatment of the Aboriginal people in Australia. Against this appalling historical documentation of conquest, discriminating and neglect, Pilger also highlights the continued resistance of the original inhabitants of the land stolen by British settlers.

The following is a Truthout interview with John Pilger about Utopia. Continue reading

January 19, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Western Australian Government’s plan to extinguish native title & land rights in one hit

Deal to extinguish native title & land rights in one hit, The Stringer by Gerry Georgatos January 14th, 2015 More than 300 Noongar people gathered at a Perth park last Saturday to speak out against the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council’s (SWALSC) support for the Western Australian Government $1.3 billion in-kind package proposal. The Government offer if accepted by Noongar people will come on the condition that their native title rights are extinguished, and therefore whatever shot they have at land rights are extinguished.

It was the largest gathering of the Noongar community, with many high profile Elders, together in the one place on the issue of the Government proposal. The SWALSC have held many community consultations but not one of these community meetings brought together as many Noongars as were present at the ‘No Surrender’ event. The majority of SWALSC community consultations have had less than a dozen people attend.

One of the ‘No Surrender’ campaign organisers, Mervyn Eades said that if the Government proposal is passed through authorisation meetings then “our land and cultural rights will be extinguished.”

“There is nothing in this deal by the Government that provides any certainty over our land rights. We must not accept this deal. We must preserve our lore over the White man’s law.”

“There have been more than 300 native title determinations and more than 900 Indigenous land use agreements but our people wherever in this country have not benefited. Native title has divided and sold out our people. We will not sell out Noongar people,” said Mr Eades.

Noongar cultural advisor and language speaker, Joe Collard, said the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council is short-changing the claimant groups.

“Our native title representative body, our champion, the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council has let down our people. It has got nothing right in any of this. It does not even know or have any idea of our rightful claimant areas, of our clans, of our family run lines.”

Mr Collard said there is enough support in the Noongar community that if it is galvanised can topple the executive leadership of the SWALSC……….

Senior Elder Margaret Culbong said, “We never ceded this land, so we are not going to just give it up. Native title I never agreed with and this deal is less than native title. Neither is native title or this Government’s offer anything to do with land rights.”

Authorisation meetings commence at the end of the month. hestringer.com.au/deal-to-extinguish-native-title-land-rights-in-one-hit-9339#.VLlxTdKUcnk

 

January 17, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Will constitutional recognition really make any difference to Australia’s indigenous people?

Baird calls on states to support Indigenous recognition. But what difference will it make?, Guardian, - 15 Jan 15 “……………-If, after consultation, a preamble statement is what we’re left with when we go to vote, then the examples set by the states do not leave me with a great deal of confidence. Why would we believe that federal recognition would lead to a great shift of consciousness and more collaborative and equitable governance based on state records?

Baird may have success convincing other Australian premiers and chief ministers that they need to support constitutional recognition but he is going to have a much harder time convincing the Indigenous electorate. We have a lot of experience of being handed pyrite by politicians dressed up as gold.

While we may have differing views on constitutional recognition across the spectrum, you can be certain we will always question the motives of governments who talk of the importance of our rights on one hand, yet attempt to strip our rights on another. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/15/baird-calls-on-states-to-support-indigenous-recognition-but-what-difference-will-it-make

January 16, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Western Australia’s dramatic drop in indigenous sites receiving heritage listing

handsoffSlump in recommended indigenous sites receiving heritage listing VICTORIA LAURIE, THE AUSTRALIAN JANUARY 10, 2015 A STEEP drop in Aboriginal sites being added to Western Australia’s heritage register is leading to “a vast sea of ignorance” that will thwart heritage protection, according to Carmen Lawrence, the chair of the Australian Heritage Council.

The dramatic drop in Aboriginal sites being registered — from 80 per cent of sites recommended to the Department of Aboriginal Affairs to only 6 per cent — has occurred over three years, from 2011 to May last year.

At least 27 sites registered under the Aboriginal Heritage Act have also had their status cancelled in the past year.

Ms Lawrence said the failure to register sites would make it even harder to identify the state’s heritage, lore and culture, which needed protection. “I’m concerned that we’re going back in time to a place we’d abandoned, the respect and protection levels of the 1950s,” she said.

“In the case of Burrup rock art in the Pilbara, it was unprotected for many years because nobody knew anything about it and Aboriginal voices weren’t heard.”………

Ms Lawrence said amendments to the Aboriginal Heritage Act, now before parliament, removed the requirement for a specialist anthropologist to ­assess sites. She was also concerned a “sacred” site applied only to those places where ­religious activity was ­conducted.

“I’m deeply concerned that song cycles and dreaming lines are explicitly excluded from consideration in this state due to a narrowing of definition,” she said. “Leaving that out is a major part of indigenous heritage. James Price Point is a good ­example: there are middens and burial sites along the Lurujarri Heritage Trail near Broome, but a lot of the significance relates to songs and dreaming tracks.”

She said a 2011 State of the Environment report found indigenous heritage was neither well protected nor well recorded……..http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/indigenous/slump-in-recommended-indigenous-sites-receiving-heritage-listing/story-fn9hm1pm-1227180010783?sv=dc1f2218356b75c3fbcaafe8c6f6e071

January 10, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Once again, Aboriginal Land Rights are Under Attack

handsoffWGAR News: Land Rights Act is under attack… yet again: Land Rights News – Central Australia 3 January 2015 

Contents:

* Analysis / Opinion: Ian Viner AO QC, Land Rights News – Northern Edition: The plan to undermine the Land Rights Act
* Analysis / Opinion: Dr Murray Garde, Land Rights News – Northern Edition: Lost without translation: what the Bininj missed
* News: Land Rights News – Northern Edition: Land Rights under attack
* News: Land Rights News – Central Australia: Land Rights Act is under attack… yet again
* Analysis / Opinion: Northern Land Council: Land Rights News – Northern Edition: In response to the Forrest Review
* Timeline: Respect and Listen: Land Rights: Timeline
* Northern Land Council Background: Land Rights News-Northern Edition
* Central Land Council Background: Land Rights News-Central Australia
* Respect and Listen Background: Land Rights under attack
* Respect and Listen Background: Dismantling the Land Rights Act – 99 year leases
* WGAR Background: Undermining the Aboriginal Land Rights Act (NT) through 99 year leases and privatisation

* Analysis / Opinion: Central Land Council: Land Rights News – Central Australia: Nuke dump dilemma
* WGAR Background: Proposals to dump nuclear waste on Aboriginal lands

WGAR News Public Google Group: https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en-GB#!forum/wgar-news
WGAR News – Working Group for Aboriginal Rights (Australia)………… https://indymedia.org.au/2015/01/02/wgar-news-land-rights-act-is-under-attack-yet-again-land-rights-news-central-australia

January 5, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

The Maralinga nuclear bomb test scandal lingers on

Lingering impact of British nuclear tests in the Australian outback http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-30640338 Jon DonnisonSydney correspondent 1 Jan 2015,  “It seems remarkable today but less than 60 years ago, Britain was exploding nuclear bombs in the middle of Australia.  In the mid-1950s, seven bombs were tested at Maralinga in the south-west Australian outback. The combined force of the weapons doubled that of the bomb dropped on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in World War Two.

In archive video footage, British and Australian soldiers can be seen looking on, wearing short sleeves and shorts and doing little to protect themselves other than turning their backs and covering their eyes with their hands.

Some reported the flashes of the blasts being so bright that they could see the bones of their fingers, like x-rays as they pressed against their faces.Much has been written about the health problems suffered by the servicemen as a result of radiation poisoning.

Far less well-documented is the plight of the Aboriginal people who were living close to Maralinga at the time.

“Every night I cry for them,” Hilary Williams tells me as she sits around a campfire for an impromptu picnic of kangaroo tails laid on for our visit.

Her mother and grandparents all witnessed at least one of the explosions from just a few kilometres away.

Ms Williams said all three of them died young after suffering lung problems.

“It’s so sad. They’re not here anymore,” she said, adding that she had heart problems she believes were also linked to the bombs.Locals around Maralinga spoke about a black mist of radioactive dust over their communities following the explosions.

“A lot of people got sick and died,” said Mima Smart, an aboriginal community leader.

“It was like a cancer on them. People were having lung disease, liver problems, and kidney problems. A lot of them died,” she said, adding that communities around Maralinga have been paid little by way of compensation……….

Robin Matthews, caretaker of the Maralinga Nuclear Test Site. “They thought they’d pick a supposedly uninhabited spot out in the Australian desert. Only they got it wrong. There were people here.”

Maralinga-notice

During the 1960s and 70s, there were several large clean-up operations to try and decontaminate the site. All the test buildings and equipment were destroyed and buried. Large areas of the surface around the blast sites was also scraped up and buried.

But Mr Matthews said the clean-up, as well as the tests themselves, were done very much behind closed doors with a high level of secrecy. “You’ve got to remember that this was during the height of the Cold War. The British were terrified that Russian spies might try and access the site,” he said.

The indigenous communities say many locals involved in the clean-up operation also got sick..

‘Sick land’

Maralinga has long been declared safe. There are even plans to open up the site to tourism. But it was only a few months ago that the last of the land was finally handed back to the Aboriginal people. Most, though, say they have no desire to return there.

Mima Smart told me she regards Maralinga as sick land. “I don’t want to go back. Too many bad memories.”

And even almost 60 years on, the land still hasn’t recovered. Huge concrete plinths mark the spots where each of the bombs was detonated.

Around each, the blast area would have stretched for several kilometres.The orangey red soil of the outback sparkles strangely green.If you look closely, you can see the ground is covered with what looks like broken glass, where the soil got so hot it literally melted and turned to silicon.

And even after all this time, the natural vegetation still won’t grow back. “The grass here only ever grows a few inches,” said Mr Matthews. “Even the birds and the kangaroos still stay clear of this area.”

More than half a century on, most people here still regard Maralinga as a dark chapter in British Australian history

January 2, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, South Australia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Cabinet papers 1988-89; Bob Hawke and the Aboriginal Treaty that never came

Cabinet papers 1988-89 SMH: Aboriginal Treaty SMH Damien Murphy 1 Jan 15 “……...The treaty that never came Bob Hawke attended the Barunga festival in the Northern Territory in June 1988 and promised an historic treaty with the Aboriginal people.

text-historyThe Hawke government had been promising to improve representation of Aboriginal interests and issues, but by 1985 attempts to frame a “national model” for land rights had stalled in compromise, amid farmer and miner opposition and distrust from Aboriginal groups. So Hawke’s treaty had more than a touch of the sun about it. Continue reading

January 2, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, history | Leave a comment

Australian government’s budget cuts threaten remote Aboriginal communities

Aboriginal communities under threat Ft.com December 26, 2014 Jamie Smyth in Sydney Dickie Bedford was born in the 1960s at a time when thousands of aboriginal people were being evicted from pastoral cattle stations. Half a century later a new generation of indigenous Australians faces a similar fate as budget cuts threaten to close hundreds of remote communities.

“They will turn us into fringe-dwellers again if they go ahead with these closures,” says Mr Bedford, executive director of the Marra Worra Worra aboriginal corporation in Western Australia.

“Withdrawing municipal services from these remote communities will force people to move into overcrowded hub towns where they are much more likely to encounter drugs, alcohol and family dysfunction,” he says.

Western Australia has warned that 150 of its 270 remote indigenous communities may have to close as the state cannot afford to pay for road, power, water or waste services. A further 60 aboriginal communities in South Australia are under threat as the federal and state government argue over who should fund basic services.

About 16,000 indigenous people live in these remote communities, which have received federal government funding for more than 50 years. Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, has decided to phase out federal funding and shift responsibility to state governments following final one-off payments of A$90m (US$73m) to Western Australia and A$10m to South Australia………

In May, the federal government unveiled the toughest budget in two decades, which included a A$500m cut in aboriginal funding programmes, to tackle a $48.5bn budget deficit. Western Australia, which is heavily dependent on taxes from mining companies, is selling state assets and considering spending cuts.

Advocacy groups say aboriginal people, already the most marginalised group in society, are bearing the brunt of the tougher economic climate. They say the threat to close hundreds of communities harks back to an earlier era when indigenous people were forced from their land by white settlers following a court ruling that they must be paid a basic wage.

“Forcing aboriginal people to move from their communities is a form of cultural genocide,” says Tammy Solonec of Amnesty International Australia………..

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, an advocacy group, has written to Mr Abbott urging him to intervene.

A federal government spokeswoman said the issue was a matter for states to settle.

South Australia’s government is resisting the federal government’s decision to withdraw services, accusing it of using “gun-toting” tactics to force states to accept “insulting” final payments from Canberra.  ………http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f12f376c-81ba-11e4-b9d0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3N84itvYv

December 28, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Grim reality of government moves to get Aborigines off their homelands

Aboriginal communities under threat Ft.com Jamie Smyth in Sydney December 26, 2014 Dickie Bedford was born in the 1960s at a time when thousands of aboriginal people were being evicted from pastoral cattle stations. Half a century later a new generation of indigenous Australians faces a similar fate as budget cuts threaten to close hundreds of remote communities.

“They will turn us into fringe-dwellers again if they go ahead with these closures,” says Mr Bedford, executive director of the Marra Worra Worra aboriginal corporation in Western Australia.

“Withdrawing municipal services from these remote communities will force people to move into overcrowded hub towns where they are much more likely to encounter drugs, alcohol and family dysfunction,” he says.

Western Australia has warned that 150 of its 270 remote indigenous communities may have to close as the state cannot afford to pay for road, power, water or waste services. A further 60 aboriginal communities in South Australia are under threat as the federal and state government argue over who should fund basic services.

About 16,000 indigenous people live in these remote communities, which have received federal government funding for more than 50 years. Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister, has decided to phase out federal funding and shift responsibility to state governments following final one-off payments of A$90m (US$73m) to Western Australia and A$10m to South Australia………

In May, the federal government unveiled the toughest budget in two decades, which included a A$500m cut in aboriginal funding programmes, to tackle a $48.5bn budget deficit. Western Australia, which is heavily dependent on taxes from mining companies, is selling state assets and considering spending cuts.

Advocacy groups say aboriginal people, already the most marginalised group in society, are bearing the brunt of the tougher economic climate. They say the threat to close hundreds of communities harks back to an earlier era when indigenous people were forced from their land by white settlers following a court ruling that they must be paid a basic wage.

“Forcing aboriginal people to move from their communities is a form of cultural genocide,” says Tammy Solonec of Amnesty International Australia………..

The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, an advocacy group, has written to Mr Abbott urging him to intervene.

A federal government spokeswoman said the issue was a matter for states to settle.

South Australia’s government is resisting the federal government’s decision to withdraw services, accusing it of using “gun-toting” tactics to force states to accept “insulting” final payments from Canberra.  ………http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/f12f376c-81ba-11e4-b9d0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3N84itvYv

December 27, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Australian governments force Aborigines off their remote lands

Env-Aust Cheap in the deep sense: the sorry business of Indigenous affairs  The Conversation Alison Holland Senior Lecturer in Australian History at Macquarie University 16 December 2014,“……..It might be said that the Abbott government’s decision two months on to stop funding essential services in remote communities was one of the first real policy deliveries since that visit. This would be potentially disastrous for these communities, forcing them off country, escalating dislocation and exacerbating problems of health and well-being in communities already under significant threat.

It also has a flow-on effect as without Commonwealth financial support, the states would have to close the communities.

This is not only cheap policy, but it is deeply grounded in history. It rehearses a profoundly entrenched view in some channels of government that these communities cannot continue and are unviable in the long-term. In this sense, pouring in money is wasting resources better spent elsewhere. In an otherwise fraught policy landscape, cheapness has been one of the cold hard facts of Indigenous affairs………….

Commonwealth expenditure in Aboriginal affairs has historically been very poor when compared to the states and when compared to governments around the world who are similarly placed, like those of North America. The lowest levels of expenditure for much of the 20th century was by governments with the largest nomadic populations – that is, remote communities……….

The discussion at that 1937 conference was quite explicit in relation to the remaining “full-blood” people who, at that stage, were still the majority Indigenous population. The very strong inference was that we couldn’t afford them.

The direction of policy after the Second World War was to concentrate on assimilating those classified as “half-caste”. Most of the bureaucrats held the view that, if left to themselves, the “full-blood” Aborigines would simply die out……….

a history of extraordinary parsimony in this policy arena, particularly for remote communities. It also puts the Closing the Gap initiatives of the former Labor government into perspective. In 2008, the Labor government invested A$3.4 billion in Indigenous affairs in the Northern Territory across ten years to address chronic underfunding. Much of this was directed to remote communities.

Since the change of government, and despite being part of COAG’s national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health plan, the Coalition government has reduced fundingsignificantly. It has rationalised 150 programs to five……….

If he really wants to avoid the failures of his predecessors and of being cheap in the deep sense, Abbott will need to restore funding and respect to remote communities. When in Gulkula in September, he was sitting with representatives of one of the oldest living cultures on earth. In the long-term, ensuring its health and survival might well be less expensive – for us all.https://theconversation.com/cheap-in-the-deep-sense-the-sorry-business-of-indigenous-affairs-34591

December 16, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL | Leave a comment

Pope Francis and Bishop Saunders on Australia’s inhumane Aboriginal policies

“Severing the ties of Aboriginal people from their land and thus their culture, spirituality and very foundation of their being, is unethical, immoral, un-Christian and heartless.”

Australia’s human rights record shambolic according to Pope Francis and Bishop Saunders http://thestringer.com.au/australias-human-rights-record-shambolic-according-to-pope-francis-and-bishop-saunders-9207#.VI8joNLF8nk by The StringerDecember 14th, 2014 Chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, Bishop Christopher Saunders says Australia’s human rights record is being undermined by inhumane policies. Bishop Saunders pointed to the asylum seeker asylum policies which deny refugees sanctuary and the push by the Western Australian Government to close up to 150 of the State’s 274 homeland (remote) communities. He is also concerned that the South Australian Government may follow Western Australia’s lead and close as many as 100 communities. Continue reading

December 14, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Uranium industry will NOT go ahead in Cape York land, as Aboriginals win land rights

handsoffOlkola reclaim traditional Cape York land after three-decade struggle, Guardian, , 10 Dec 14  More than 6,300 square kilometres of former cattle grazing land in Queensland is formally handed back to Indigenous owners, spelling the end of uranium exploration in the area and the start of a quest to develop tourism opportunities One of the largest returns of land to traditional owners in Queensland’s history has killed off the prospect of uranium mining in a key part of Cape York.

The Olkola, who reclaimed more than 6,300 square kilometres of former cattle grazing land in a formal ceremony on Wednesday, are instead seeking business opportunities in adventure tourism.

Just over 1000 sq km of Olkola land is licensed for uranium exploration by French corporation Areva, which has spoken of north Queensland’s potential to match Kazakhstan as a source for nuclear fuel.

But the deal negotiated by the Olkola has forced Areva to give up its exploration licences in areas given over to a national park, and the clan has no intention of allowing mining elsewhere.

The traditional owners are instead in talks with a global adventure travel agency about a possible joint venture.

It comes just months after the Newman government began to accept uranium mining applications across the state with a view to ending a 25-year ban.

The Australian Conservation Foundation has praised the Olkola people’s move, along with their decision to give over almost a third of their land to a protected national park.

For Mike Ross, the chairman of the Olkola Aboriginal Corporation, the joy of reclaiming country after nearly 30 years of negotiations was tempered by the need to find viable ways for his people to make a living………http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2014/dec/10/olkola-reclaim-traditional-cape-york-land-after-three-decade-struggle

December 13, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Queensland | Leave a comment

Audio: Push to develop Northern Australia linked to push to dismantle Aboriginal land rights

Hear-This-wayTop End traditional owners fear land rights will be dismantled in push to develop the north (AUDIO) ABC Radio PM Sara Everingham reported this story on Thursday, December 11, 2014  MARK COLVIN: The Northern Land Council says it’s deeply concerned that the push to develop Northern Australia could dismantle hard-fought Aboriginal land rights in the Northern Territory.

A COAG taskforce met today in Canberra to nut out the detail of its review of Indigenous land administration as part of the white paper on developing Northern Australia.

Sara Everingham reports from Darwin.

SARA EVERINGHAM: In Kakadu National Park, about 80 traditional owners from across the Top End have spent the week in talks as part of the Northern Land Council’s full council meeting………………

The Northern Territory has set up its own working group, with at least eight staff, including former Northern Land Council lawyers.

The Northern Land Council doesn’t know what the review will look at but suspects it will explore greater use of 99 year leases on Aboriginal land.

The council also says it’s been informed by the Federal Government it will revisit an amendment to the Northern Territory Land Rights Act which would devolve powers of the land councils to smaller Indigenous corporations.

The deputy Land Council chairman John Daly says traditional owners must be consulted.

JOHN DALY: We’ve got a Prime Minister for Indigenous Australia and they put out press releases prior to them winning the elections that they would have no reviews, no amendments to the Land Rights Act and things like that, Native Title, without the consent of traditional owners and the land councils. ……http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2014/s4147070.htm?site=indigenous&topic=latest

December 13, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Audiovisual, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

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