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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Native Title determination reaches in to Coral Sea

    Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy and Minister for Trade
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Thursday, June 25, 2009

    Native Title determination reaches in to Coral Sea

    More than 197,000 hectares of the Coral Sea and surrounding islands have been recognised in an historic native title consent determination today.

    Natural Resources, Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson joined Federal Court judge, Honourable Justice Greenwood, at Portland Roads, near the remote Lockhart River community in Cape York to formally acknowledge the native title rights of the Kuuku Ya’u People.

    Today’s consent determination marks the 44th native title determination in Queensland.

    “This is the first time a consent determination in Australia has recognised such a large area of sea,” Mr Robertson said.

    “The area extends almost 14 nautical miles (30 kilometres) offshore from Iron Range National Park on the mainland.

    “The consent determination recognises exclusive possession over most of the land claimed and non-exclusive rights over the remainder.

    “It provides certainty for people with interests in the region by determining who holds the native title rights and interests, and the extent of those rights and interests.

    “The State Government’s policy has long been to settle native title determinations via negotiation wherever possible.”

    The determination was reached by negotiation with the Queensland Government, Kuuku Ya’u People, Cape York Land Council, Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Queensland Seafood Industry Association, Lockhart River Shire Council and Cook Shire Council.

    Mr Robertson said to support the consent determination, three Indigenous Land Use agreements (ILUAs) had been signed with the Kuuku Ya’u People, two of which included the State of Queensland as a signatory.

    “These cover 197,000 hectares of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park along the coast north of Lockhart River; and 120 hectares of national park islands,’’ he said.

    “The ILUAs, particularly the reef agreement, are a landmark achievement recognising the Kuuku Ya’u People’s centuries old custom under traditional law to hunt dugong and green turtles.

    “I applaud the support and involvement of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) as this is the first ILUA the authority has been involved in.

    “The terms specify the number of turtles and dugong that will be taken and that other rare, endangered and vulnerable fauna will not be harmed.

    “The second agreement relates to the exercise of native title rights over the Forbes Islands, Piper Islands and Quoin Island National Parks.’’

    Public access for recreational purposes to Forbes Island National Park, Quoin Island National Park and Piper Islands National Park will remain.

    Access to the surrounding seas where native title is determined will also be maintained as will access to the reserves within the determination areas.

    Mr Robertson said he expected the ILUAs would be registered with the National Native Title Tribunal by the end of 2009.

    Media: Minister’s Office 3225 1819