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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
    The Honourable Andrew Cripps

    New Bill tackles Indigenous land issues

    Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
    The Honourable Andrew Cripps

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    New Bill tackles Indigenous land issues

    New legislation introduced into State Parliament this week will provide greater opportunities for Indigenous Queenslanders to own their homes on Indigenous land.

    Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Andrew Cripps said the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Holding Bill 2012 would address a number of long standing issues arising from the poor operation and implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Land Holding Act) 1985.

    “The current Act is outdated, inflexible and has achieved limited success in supporting Indigenous home ownership. The new Bill will repeal the old legislation and replace it with a new, more effective and relevant Act,” Mr Cripps said.

    “The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Holding Bill will address anomalies that have impacted upon the delivery of important social housing, the transfer of land and home ownership in indigenous communities.”

    Mr Cripps said the Land Holding Act had failed to allow the State’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to obtain perpetual leases for residential purposes, and leases for other purposes over Queensland’s Indigenous community lands.

    “The Bill tackles complex tenure issues that have been problematic for far too long. While 223 leases were granted, many other applicants who were found to be eligible for these leases never received them, denying more than 200 eligible Queenslanders their rights to own leasehold property,” he said.

    “This led to a raft of tenure anomalies, housing not constructed within or even on the lease area, and other infrastructure either encroaching or being entirely constructed on lease or entitlement areas.

    “This new Bill seeks to rectify these problems by establishing a process and framework to grant as many as 436 perpetual leases in 19 communities and, where appropriate, for lessees to be confirmed as a ‘home owner’.”

    Mr Cripps said the new Bill also created opportunities for stronger relationships between Queensland’s grazing sector and Aboriginal people.

    “Important amendments will provide greater encouragement and clearer guidelines for graziers to enter into indigenous access and use agreements or Indigenous Land Use Agreements,” he said.

    “These changes will remove some of the barriers, such as public liability concerns, which have prevented agreements from being reached and, unfortunately, limited the use of pastoral leases by traditional owners.

    “The amendments are the result of engagement with stakeholder groups including the State Rural Leasehold Ministerial Advisory Committee, Queensland Indigenous Working Group, AgForce, North Queensland Land Council and the Queensland South Native Title Services.

    “The National Native Title Tribunal has facilitated negotiations with key stakeholder groups to ensure the proposed amendments complement the Federal native title process.”

    [ENDS] 23 August 2012

    Media contact: Jane Paterson 0417 281 754 or Paul Sutherland 0409 891 342