The Gungarri people will be able to rebuild their cultural and physical connection to more than half a million hectares of their country after a Federal Court determination on Monday.
Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the Court was expected to recognise their native title rights over almost 700,000 hectares of land and waters near Mitchell.
“This determination recognises the Gungarri people’s rights to hunt, fish, hold ceremonies, pass on dreaming stories and bush lore,” he said.
Monday’s decision will be the Gungarri people’s third determination in seven years and adds to adjoining land spanning 8,122 square kilometres in the Maranoa region.
Gunggari applicant Grant Jackson said Monday’s determination was of great importance to the Gunggari people.
“We will be able to rebuild our cultural and physical connections at sites that our ancestors conducted their cultural activities on for thousands of years,” he said.
“All aspects of connection to country are very important to the Gunggari people and even though we maintained a physical and spiritual connection to our homelands, we did not have any rights under law, until now.
“Native title rights give great strength to the Gunggari people to heal and rebuild into the future and means the spiritual and cultural healing of our people can now recommence.
“There is no longer a tear in the fabric of the ongoing connection the Gunggari people have to Gunggari country.”
Gunggari Native Title Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC director, Saraeva Mitchell said that the Gunggari people were the true and rightful custodians of the Country they belonged to and could now practice their traditional rights and interests to the land and water.
“I will be reflecting on the 23-year journey our Elders and leaders endured to achieve consent determination and paying my respects to them both past and present,” she said.