Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Natural Resources & Mines
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Indigenous Land Use Agreements To Open South-West for Opal Mining

    Natural Resources & Mines
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Thursday, November 11, 2004

    Indigenous Land Use Agreements To Open South-West for Opal Mining

    Two new Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) covering the opal fields in south west Queensland have been signed in a ceremony at Parliament House, Mines Minister Stephen Robertson said today.

    Mr Robertson said the South West Queensland Small Scale Mining ILUAs were the result of four years of native title negotiations between traditional owners and opal miners over 50,000 square kilometres of the opal-rich areas around Yowah and Quilpie.

    "Once they have been registered by the National Native Title Tribunal, these agreements will allow the State to grant mining and exploration tenements in the opal fields in the south west," he said.

    "The ILUAs provide for a package of benefits to traditional owners including logistical support for cultural heritage inspections, and traineeships through the Department of Employment and Training.

    "I applaud the efforts of all those involved in these ILUAs, including the Boonthamurra, Budjiti and Mardigan People, the Queensland South Representative Aboriginal Body Coporation and the Yowah and Quilpie opal miners.

    "These agreements will provide immediate confidence and longer-term security for the region's opal mining industry, giving small-scale miners the opportunity to get on with the job of mining Queensland's iconic opals.

    Mr Robertson said the two ILUAs were a testament to the Queensland Government's approach to native title matters, which promotes negotiation and agreement rather than litigation.

    "It's no accident that Queensland is now home to 83 of Australia's total of 139 registered ILUAs," he said.

    "It's our common-sense approach to native title that has seen exploration in Queensland continue to grow.

    "In fact, Queensland's share of Australian exploration expenditure has increased from 12.2 per cent to 15.6 per cent over the last three years - in dollar terms, an increase of over $30 million.

    "This approach to native title is boosting mining and exploration and creating jobs for Queenslanders as well as fulfilling the legitimate aspirations of traditional owners."

    MEDIA: Penny Fox 3896 3694