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Court studies Native Title application of Yuwibara

The area of the Native Title claim which has been lodged by the Yuwibara People.
The area of the Native Title claim which has been lodged by the Yuwibara People.

THE Federal Court is considering if Mackay's Yuwibara People hold the Native Title of more than 6000sq km of land encompassing Mackay.

Earlier this year the Native Title Registrar accepted the claim for registration from the Yuwibara (often spelt as Yuibera) People and the Native Title claim is now in one of the final stages of determination by the Federal Court.

Key applicant and Yuwibara descendant Gary Mooney said he'd been working on the Native Title application since the 1990s and that this was a "big deal".

"It's important because what we've got now we'd like to see that it is preserved and protected," he said. "It is our cultural heritage and environment.

"And also to make people aware that there are Aboriginal people in this area."

The area extends from about Midge Point and out to the tablelands and south to Ilbilbie. It also extends out into the ocean.

In getting the Native Title claim application together, Mr Mooney gathered stories from relatives and other people from the area.

"This claim is a big thing for me, on behalf of all the Yuwibara People and my mother. She's the one that got me started on it and I respect her for that and now I'm taking hold of it and moving on.

"My passion is to make sure we get a determination at the end of it."

Mr Mooney said one of his goals was for all bodies, including businesses, developers, national and marine parks, to consult with the traditional owners through the proper protocols.

"I know we can't stop progress but we can make sure it's going to be done properly," he said.

Under the Native Title Act 1993, there can only be one determination of native title for a particular area. Anyone who wishes to become a party to the claim has until June to write to the Federal Court Registrar.

Topics:  aboriginal federal court of australia native title claims



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