News

Native title for Bandjalang

CELEBRATION: Bandjalang people at Evans Head yesterday after receiving the third and fourth native title determinations by the Federal Court of Australia in NSW’s history .
CELEBRATION: Bandjalang people at Evans Head yesterday after receiving the third and fourth native title determinations by the Federal Court of Australia in NSW’s history . Alex Utting

AFTER 17 long years of legal proceedings, the Bandjalang People have finally come home.

The Bandjalang People were yesterday recognised by the Federal Court of Australia as the traditional owners of land surrounding Evans Head.

Under the determination they were given non-exclusive rights to hunt, fish, camp, take waters and perform traditional ceremonies on land that extends between Casino, Evans Head and Whiporie and includes significant portions of national park and state forest.

Justice Jayne Jagot handed down her determination in a courtroom that had been set up at the Evans Head RSL Club where almost 300 indigenous and non-indigenous people gathered to hear the outcome.

When she stated the Bandjalang People had satisfied the provisions of native title legislation, showing they had a long-standing connection to the land and were recognised as the traditional owners, the gallery stood and applauded.

Family representatives of the Bandjalang People hugged each other in tears and addressed the audience with sentiments such as "Now I can say I am from Evans Head".

Justice Jagot noted in her

determination that the authors of the Native Title Act had not contemplated the length of time matters would take to completion.

"My hope is that as a result of today further outcomes will be more readily achievable," Justice Jagot said.

At the end of the proceedings Bandjalang representatives were handed a copy of the determination and congratulated by the legal team.

One Bandjalang family representative and now native title holder, Afzal Khan, was ecstatic about the outcome after spending years meeting with government and legal representatives.

"Today is all about reconciliation and closing the gap so that indigenous peoples are equal within our community," Mr Khan said.

"Today is a coming together of our culture and heritage and ensuring it is preserved in the future."

Head of National Parks and Wildlife Services, Ann King, also read an apology from Minister for Environment and Heritage Robyn Parker.

CEO of Native Title Services Corp Natalie Rotumah said yesterday was a "proud day" for the Bandjalang People.

"It's a proud day for Bandjalang Peoples, it's a proud day for Aboriginal peoples and it's a proud day for the North Coast," Ms Rotumah said.

"This determination shows what can be achieved when parties approach negotiations with goodwill and open minds."

Principal solicitor for the Bandjalang People, Mishka Holt, has been working on the matter for five years.

She said it was a "thrill" to see the indigenous people given rights to their traditional lands.

"It has been a privilege to with the Bandjalang People and they've spent a long time getting to the day where their rights are finally recognised," Ms Holt said.

The native title claims were resolved by the Bandjalang People and the State of NSW, with consultation with parties including commercial fishers, beekeepers and local councils who made submissions to the Federal Court asking for native title to be recognised.

Topics:  evans head, native title




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Having battled PND four times, Mel says the secret is sleep

'I just thought, don’t all mothers get no sleep?’

'My husband lasted 6 weeks as a stay at home dad'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images. Katie Dykes being interviewed for the webisodes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

FROM the outside, being a stay at home mum looks like a breeze.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

New dog officer is 'waging war' on pet owners

'Bizarre' and 'ridiculous' fines for local dog owners.

'Bizarre' and 'ridiculous' fines for minor off-leash breaches

Six big projects in the pipeline for Ballina

Bruce Golsby at the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport.

Ballina is set to boom with these developments under way

Lismore CBD safety is ‘beyond a joke’

Lismore CBD, Keen St.

'Countless' altercations, 'too dangerous' at night: YOUR SAY

Latest deals and offers

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%

DIY: How to build a backyard fire pit

DIY stars and Weekend magazine columnists Ayden and Jess Hogan.

Would you build this for your backyard?