The Andrews Labor Government has given full control of three properties in Healesville to the Traditional Owners, the Wurundjeri.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins visited the Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council today to give them full control and ownership the properties, which were used by the Galeena Beek Aboriginal Organisation.
Galeena Beek was the previous occupant of the properties but went into voluntary administration in 2011.
The transfer of these properties, totalling 14 hectares, along with a grant of $150,000 to assist with maintenance will allow Wurundjeri to grow and plan for the future.
As a Traditional Owner group and Registered Aboriginal Party, the Council aims to give Wurundjeri people opportunities to connect with and preserve their cultural heritage, and manage land and sites of significance.
The requirement of a first mortgage was a condition unique to Aboriginal organisations and left them with unnecessary red tape – preventing them from delivering the best services they could.
The lifting of first mortgages is about giving power and control back to Aboriginal communities, consistent with the government’s push for self-determination.