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Githabul People's Native Title Recognised In NSW

Githabul People's native title recognised in NSW

Today the Githabul People are set to have their native title rights recognised in nine national parks and 13 state forests in northern New South Wales in an historic consent determination.

Justice Branson of the Federal Court of Australia is scheduled to make the consent determination at Woodenbong, recognising the Githabul People's native title rights and interests over 1,120 sq km just south of the Queensland border.

Today's consent determination will finalise the Githabul People's native title claim in NSW, which was first lodged in 1995. It will be one of the most significant consent determinations in eastern Australia, and the first determination that native title exists in NSW in 10 years.

The Githabul People's non-exclusive rights to practise their traditional laws and customs will be recognised, including the right to access and camp in the areas, as well as to hunt, fish and gather plants for personal use and protect places of significance to the group.

The determination is the result of negotiations between the Githabul People, NSW Government, and numerous other parties including local authorities. It follows the registration of an indigenous land use agreement (ILUA) in August this year.

Tribunal Member John Sosso, who mediated between the groups, congratulated all of the parties for their positive approach and willingness to listen, talk and negotiate so that a consent determination could be achieved.

'The Githabul People were able to provide strong evidence of their continuing connection to country, and through constructive negotiations with the parties have their native title recognised for the first time under Australian law,' he said.

'The Githabul People have joined the growing number of native title holders in Australia, who have achieved successful native title outcomes through negotiating agreements with other groups with interests in the claimed area. To date 62 consent determinations and 308 ILUAs have been registered Australia-wide.'

Mr Sosso said many benefits would flow through to the Githabul People, including involvement in the management of national parks and reserves, consultation in state forests, protection of culturally significant areas, employment and the transfer of 102 ha of Crown Land in freehold.

'One of the outstanding results from the settlement of this application has been the overwhelming goodwill shown by all the parties. Hopefully the settlement of this application will provide a platform for ongoing positive community relations built on mutual understanding and respect.'


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