Miles Doing What Matters _ Cape York land returned to Traditional owners

Published Thursday, 04 July, 2024 at 08:10 AM

Minister for State Development and Infrastructure, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing
The Honourable Grace Grace

  • 130,000 hectares returned to traditional owners on Western Cape York
  • Mokwiri Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC now holds inalienable freehold of the land

A special ceremony has been held in Weipa to mark the return of lands to representatives of traditional owners in the Western Cape York.

Napranum Government Champion and Minister for State Development Grace Grace today handed over the title deeds to 130,000 hectares to the Mokwiri Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (MAC).

The land was formerly part of the Napranum Deed of Grant in Trust lands located to the north of Weipa.

The transfer means MAC holds the land as inalienable freehold: it cannot be bought, sold or mortgaged, and is held in perpetuity for the benefit of the Aboriginal people connected to that land.

The ceremony in Weipa is the culmination of 8 years of negotiations between traditional owners, the Department of Resources, and local communities.

Quotes attributable to Government Champion and Minister for State Development Grace Grace:

“We are fortunate in Queensland to be home to two of the longest, continuing cultures in history, in the Aboriginal cultures and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

“The ceremony was a truly humbling experience, and it was a privilege to be able to hand over the title deeds to the Mokwiri Aboriginal Corporation.

“It will allow the traditional custodians of these lands to continue their traditional practices and customs and to benefit future generations.”

Quotes attributable to Resources and Critical Minerals Minister, Scott Stewart:

“This handover was the result of nearly a decade of consultation between the Department of Resources, traditional owners and the wider community” he said.

“The Miles Government is committed to acknowledging First Nations peoples as the traditional owners of the land.

“The cultures and histories of our First Nations Peoples are unique, and their practices and sacred sites are worth protecting.

“Although we still have a long way to go to address the injustices of the past, we’re committed to meeting our obligations on the Path to Treaty.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Cook Cynthia Lui MP:

“The history of First Nations communities is rich and diverse and intrinsically linked to the land.”

“Today’s ceremony supports our communities to seize new opportunities and ensure that connections to country, history, stories and customs are passed down to many generations for the future.”

Corporation quotes

Further information

  • Under the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 and the Torres Strait Islander Land Act 1991, approximately 6.64 million hectares of land has been granted as inalienable freehold for the benefit of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland.
  • In the 2022–23 financial year, the Department transferred approximately 117,846 hectares of land under these Queensland Acts.
  • Under the Queensland’s Government’s Native Title Compensation Framework, native title groups are negotiating with the state, instead of litigating claims in the Federal Court of Australia.
  • More on land transfers under the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 can be found here.