20-year struggle ends in victory for Gladstone's Traditional Owners

THE long road to recognition has today resulted in victory for the Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng and Taribelang Bunda People after the Federal Court of Australia handed down a positive native title determination over approximately 420,594 hectares of traditional lands and waters in the Gladstone and Bundaberg regions.

At a special hearing held on country at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre, Justice John Dowsett delivered the positive consent determination before a jubilant crowd of more than 250 Traditional Owners, together celebrating formal recognition some 20 years after first claims of native title were made in 1997.

The claim area boundary extends from south of Bundaberg up to Raglan Creek in the north, and from Monto in the west to the eastern coastline, spanning parts of the Bundaberg, North Burnett and Gladstone Regional Councils.

With the cities of Gladstone and Bundaberg encompassed within the claim area, the Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng and Taribelang Bunda People's native title outcome on the doorstep of regional metropolitan centres is a rare occurrence within the native title sector nationally, a feat QSNTS chief executive Kevin Smith says should be applauded.

"The very existence of towns and cities is proof of the 200-year colonisation process that has impacted the lives of Traditional Owners who have lived on and cared for their Country since time immemorial," Mr Smith says.

"This process has caused widespread extinguishment of native title in urban development areas like the Gladstone and Bundaberg regions, but this court determination today recognises the Traditional Owners' unbroken continuity of connection to their traditional lands and waters in an ever changing landscape."

"This is a tremendous outcome for the Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng and Taribelang Bunda People, serving as a testament to the community's tenacity and commitment to their country and culture, regardless of the trials they have faced throughout history. Strengthened by that powerful legacy and today's legal recognition, a bright future awaits these Native Title Holders."

"The 20-year struggle for native title recognition has been marred by many challenges and sadly, many losses of cherished Elders and other members of the community, but today's outcome must be celebrated in honour of the Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng and Taribelang Bunda Elders both past and present."

QSNTS congratulates the Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng and Taribelang Bunda People on gaining formal recognition as Native Title Holders for the area.

Title Date
20-year struggle ends in victory for Gladstone's Traditional Owners 28 Nov 2017

 

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