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Land Title Claimants, Councils Reach Understanding

Native title claimants and local councils reach memorandum of understanding

Native title claimants, four local councils and a water corporation will sign a memorandum of understanding today that paves the way to resolving two native title claims by agreement in Queensland's Wide Bay region.

Under the MoU, the Butchulla peoples and the Hervey Bay City Council, Maryborough City Council, Tiaro Shire Council, Woocoo Shire Council and the Wide Bay Water Corporation have agreed to explore opportunities to settle the claims, including negotiating an indigenous land use agreement (ILUA).

The Butchulla peoples have two native title claims over approximately 8,440 sq km which fall into these local government areas.

The MoU sets out the steps and workplans for mediation between the groups, which is to be conducted by the National Native Title Tribunal, and establishes the scope of negotiations.

Tribunal Deputy President, John Sosso, said the Butchulla peoples, local councils and the water corporation all had interests in the claimed area and were seeking to reach an agreement that recognised how their respective rights and interests could be carried out on the ground.

"I congratulate the parties on their cooperative approach," Mr Sosso said. "They have chosen to negotiate about native title and reach an agreement they're all happy with, rather than go down the divisive path of litigation.

"As a result they'll have certainty about their future in these areas and through negotiations have the opportunity to strengthen their relationships and achieve the best outcomes for their communities.

"More and more groups around Australia are choosing to settle native title through negotiation and as a result 308 ILUAs have been registered Australia-wide. The majority of these ILUAs (166) have been made in Queensland."

ILUAs are agreements about the use and management of land and waters made between one or more Indigenous groups and other people.


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