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    Finance, Natural Resources and The Arts
    The Honourable Rachel Nolan

    Handover of land supports traditional ownership on remote Aboriginal community

    Finance, Natural Resources and The Arts
    The Honourable Rachel Nolan

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Handover of land supports traditional ownership on remote Aboriginal community

    The Aboriginal people of Hope Vale have been granted 110,000 hectares of freehold title land under the State’s Aboriginal Land Act.

    They will also receive an ex-gratia payment of $6.5 million in compensation for the mining royalties collected by the Government from the site.

    Natural Resources Minister Rachel Nolan said handing over the Hope Vale Deed of Grant in Trust (DOGIT) formally recognised Indigenous ownership of the land under the State’s tenure system.

    “It is a logical step for the people of Hope Vale as Aboriginal people have lived on and used this land from time immemorial,” Ms Nolan said.

    “Hope Vale is an Aboriginal community located about 350 kilometres north of Cairns and is home to about 1,000 people.

    “There are 13 Guugu Yimithirr clan estates within the Hope Vale DOGIT, which is home to many traditional owners as well as other Aboriginal people.

    “The freehold title acknowledges the rights of Aboriginal people to manage, use and enjoy the land now and into the future.”

    The deed was presented by Member for Cook, Jason O’Brien to Hopevale Congress Aboriginal Corporation Registered Native Title Body Corporate (commonly known as Congress) at a ceremony conducted “on country” at Hope Vale.

    He said Congress would hold title to the land for the benefit of all Aboriginal people associated with Hope Vale including the traditional owners and residents of the community.

    “The appointment of the Hope Vale Congress Aboriginal Corporation Registered Native Title Body Corporate as grantee of the land was an important step to allow not just the native title holders but all Aboriginal people, including the historic owners, concerned with the land to be involved in the use, enjoyment and future of this land,” Mr O’Brien said.

    “Cape Flattery Silica Mines Pty Ltd operates within the Hope Vale DOGIT and I am pleased to announce that the Queensland government is meeting its commitment to make an ex gratia payment to the people of Hope Vale.

    “Considerable work has been undertaken by the Government, with the assistance of P&E Law and KPMG, to establish a funding allocation and disbursement model.

    “This will ensure that the families most affected by the mining receive an entitlement, and that a number of charitable trusts are established to provide broader community benefit.

    “The community has worked hard to ensure the clans most affected by the mine and the broader community would benefit, and that the benefits are enduring.

    “The combined effect of the land transfer and the payment gives the Hope Vale community an extraordinary opportunity to achieve social and economic improvement like never before.

    “The grant and ex gratia payment would never have been possible without the hard work of many people; particularly the people of Hope Vale.

    “It is a fitting result for their efforts and I especially thank them for the patience and dedication they have shown. Without those efforts we would never have achieved such a successful result.

    “With the grant of this land, the Aboriginal Land Act has returned ownership of around 2.5 million hectares to Aboriginal people throughout Queensland.

    “That makes this grant a landmark event for all of the State’s Aboriginal people.”

    ENDS

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