Our Win

Celebrating Our Win

Congratulations on the land

Queensland: The Kalkadoon people will not forget 12 December 2011. On this day patience and fortitude were rewarded when the Federal Court of Australia recognised their native title rights.

‘It’s been a long, hard struggle,’ said Kalkadoon applicant Doug Bruce. ‘This is finally where we wanted to be.’

The Kalkadoon people first lodged their native title claim with the Federal Court in 1994.

The Court’s determination recognises the exclusive and non-exclusive native title rights of almost 40 000 square kilometres of the Kalkadoon people’s traditional homeland. The area is located in north-west Queensland around the mining town of Mount Isa.

In plain terms it means the Kalkadoon people now have exclusive title over more than 4000 square kilometres of their traditional country as well as non-exclusive rights to camp, hunt, fish and conduct cultural ceremonies over the remaining land—an area of well over 33 000 square kilometres. The native title will be held by Kalkadoon Native Title Aboriginal Corporation which registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 on 15 November 2011. Its office is in Mount Isa.

It’s been a protracted and complex claim involving the interests of Aboriginal people, pastoralists, miners and three levels of government. Yet the final stage was a show of unity and cooperation. All parties agreed to the historic native title consent determination announced by the Federal Court on 12 December 2011. Hundreds of Kalkadoon people and supporters gathered for the hearing at Mount Isa Civic Centre.

Queensland South Native Title Services CEO Kevin Smith said it took unwavering commitment from the claim group to achieve the tremendous outcome.

‘The result highlights the strength of the Kalkadoon people and their traditional laws and customs,’ he said.

In another great breakthrough for Aboriginal people, the Queensland state government handed back land rights for more than 80 per cent of Mornington Shire to traditional owners. Mornington Shire is located in the Gulf of Carpentaria and comprises 21 islands.

With the transfer of the land deeds on 7 December 2011, the traditional owners (represented by the Gulf Region Aboriginal Corporation) now have decision-making powers over land use, economic development and care of the natural environment.

The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Anthony Beven, said he applauded the recognition of native title claims and returning land rights to traditional owners. ‘It is a cause for celebration,’ he said, ‘and an tangible step forward in closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Photos: A member of the Kalkadoon community shows his support for his people’s native title claim. The full slogan reads ‘Kalkadoon country always was …always will be’. Hundreds turned out at the Mount Isa Civic Centre to hear the Federal Court’s determination. Photo: Paul Sutherland/ABC Rural

Kalkadoon people of Mount Isa region win native title claim over 40,000sq km of Queensland

AUNTY Pat Kyle declared her prayers had been answered yesterday after the Kalkadoon people of the Mount Isa region won a native title claim over 40,000sq km of northwest Queensland.

The Kalkadoon elder claimant said she was glad her people had held it together for the 18 years that it took for the claim to reach a Federal Court determination yesterday.

"There's been some tough times, some stressful times, but we are going to improve things now," she said.

Fellow claimant Doug Bruce said the determination was a massive issue for the older people in the clan.

"The older ladies are really emotional," he said.

Although the claim was filed in 1994, virtually all the significant claim work has been done in the past 16 months.

Mr Bruce said the Kalkadoons would now be able to negotiate with pastoralists for access to their traditional lands for hunting and ceremonial purposes as well as to maintain sites.

The determination is over land that includes the Boulia, Burke, Carpentaria, Cloncurry, McKinlay and Mount Isa Council regions.

The Kalkadoon claimant group consists of about 3000 people representing 29 Aboriginal ancestors.

Native title can be claimed only on vacant crown land, some state forests, national parks, public reserves, oceans, seas, reefs, lakes and inland waters, some leases and some land held for Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders.

John McCarthy, CourierMail

December 13, 2011 12:00am

Kalkadoon native title claim finally granted

The traditional owners of nearly 40,000 square kilometres of north west Queensland have received formal recognition of their native title claim.

The Federal Court made the historic announcement in Mount Isa earlier today.

Almost 300 Kalkadoon people and supporters gathered for the occasion.

A claim for native title recognition was first lodged with the Federal Court in 1994.

In his ruling, the Honourable Justice John Alfred Dowsett said the price the Kalkadoon People had paid for the prosperity of the region would not be forgotton.

The Kalkadoon People will now hold exclusive rights of around 4,000 square kiometres of the land, and non-exclusive rights over the remaining land.

About 30 landholders in north-west Queensland have already entered into Indigenous land use agreements with the Kalkadoon People, which will allow them access to properties for traditional purposes.

Kevin Smith, from Queensland South Native Title Services, says the court case is the end of the 18-year fight for native title recognition.

"We're dealing with issues that go back something like 150 years," he said.

"To get a native title claim, you actually have to prove who the people were at the time of colonisation.

"So you're dealing with history, you're dealing with a number of parties, and with a number of parties you have a number of complex interests that have to be resolved."

Kalkadoon community leader Valerie Craigie says the decision will legally recognise the Kalkadoon people as traditional owners.

"For us, it's about the strong opportunity to protect our country, and that's handed down to the younger generations so that they can manage the Kalkadoon country," she said.

ABC RuralPaul Sutherland, David Lewis and Karyn WilsonUpdated 12 December 2011 at 2:49 pmFirst posted 12 December 2011 at 12:00 am(Paul Sutherland: ABC Rural)
Hundreds of Kalkadoon people and supporters gathered in Mount Isa to hear the Federal Court approve the native title claim.(Paul Sutherland: ABC Rural)