Land of the Gulf Country returned to Traditional Owners

Published Thursday, 03 November, 2022 at 01:34 PM

Minister for Resources
The Honourable Scott Stewart

Queensland’s Gangalidda and Garawa people have 20,000 more reasons to celebrate after a land handover at Burketown today in remote north-west Queensland.

The Gangalidda and Garawa Native Title Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC took ownership of more than 20,000 hectares of land on the flat coastal plains and grasslands of Gulf Savannah Country about 250 kilometres east of the Northern Territory border.

Resources Minister Scott Stewart said owning the land would enable the Gangalidda and Garawa Peoples to expand their thriving cultural tourism operations and develop other economic initiatives on Country.

“The land we are transferring today can’t be sold and it remains forever in the hands of the Gangalidda and Garawa Peoples for the benefit of the native title holders,” he said.   

“The Gangalidda and Garawa Peoples have already created some unique cultural tourism ventures in the area hosted by Yagurli tours.

“These include star gazing tours on some of the most picturesque, remote country Queensland has to offer as well as sunset cruises and recreational fishing tours on the iconic Albert River.

“Gangalidda and Garawa rangers are active on Country and play a critical role in caring for and maintaining their ancestral land and waters.

“There is nobody better to look after these sites of cultural significance on the land then the Traditional Owners who have cared for them for thousands of years.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Craig Crawford said the traditional owners have a strong and sacred connection to the lower Gulf Country of over 65,000 years.

“Elders believe the morning glory cloud (mabuntha), a world-renowned meteorological phenomenon that rolls into the Gulf this time every year, was created by the Rainbow Serpent (Walalu), and is of great cultural significance,’’ Minister Crawford said.

“As we build into the truth-telling phase of Treaty, I’m sure the leaders of the Gangalidda and Garawa peoples will share a crucial role on our reconciliation journey.’’

The 20,851 hectares of land—more than half the size of Malta—includes low-lying areas of flat grasslands in the vicinity of Burketown.  

The Queensland Government has transferred more than 6.62 million hectares of land to Traditional Owners to date, reflecting the government’s genuine efforts on the Path to Treaty.

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