Iman People win native title rights

Published Thursday, 23 June, 2016 at 05:30 PM

Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines
The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham

The Iman People of Central and South Western Queensland have welcomed the opportunity to move on from a turbulent colonial past and rebuild their cultural “purpose and pride” following a Federal Court decision that recognises them as the traditional owners of their land. 

Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham said the native title decision, made during a Federal Court hearing in Taroom today, would give the Iman people control over their destiny. 

“Future generations now have their rights protected,” he said. 

“As the recognised traditional owners, they will be able to pursue economic or cultural development on their very own soil, creating the potential for jobs and opportunities.” 

Dr Lynham said the Iman People had also successfully negotiated a Revenue Sharing Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with the Queensland Government to encourage economic development and the development of future land management plans. 

“The ILUA provides for the future freeholding of nine parcels of unallocated State land within Taroom and Wandoan to facilitate growth and economic development opportunities. 

“Revenue from the sale of these properties will be shared between the Government and Iman People to support current and future generations of the Iman people and their country,” he said. 

Iman traditional owner Ken Waterton said today’s determination allowed for reconciliation to occur within local communities on the lands of his ancestors. 

“This determination means that the Iman People have been officially recognised as the first inhabitants of our traditional lands and this will give us a sense of purpose and pride in our culture,” he said. 

“It’s the culmination of nearly twenty years of struggle to have our people recognised as the traditional owners and is proof positive that our people, culture and traditions survived the onslaught of white settlement.” 

Mr Waterton said there were many places within Iman country that held special significance for him. 

“My Great Grandfather was born there and members of my family still visit his grave site. My totem is the snake, ‘Cabbula’, which travels on our country through the rivers and creeks. There is a special place where Cabbula is painted on a rock wall. 

“These areas reflect my family history and they are important for my spiritual beliefs and culture,” Mr Waterton said.

The determination area covers about approximately 498,800 hectares of land and waters between Roma and Banana and includes Carraba Regional Park and parts of the Expedition and Palmgrove National parks. 

It recognises the Iman People’s exclusive native title over parts of this land as well as their non-exclusive native title rights to access, hunt, fish and gather, conduct ceremonies and teach on the remainder of these lands. 

More information about Indigenous land is available on the Department of Natural Resources and Mines website at


[ENDS]           23 June, 2016

Note editors/producers: maps of determination area:


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