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Minister Scullion: $20 million to support native title rights over sea and freshwater country

6 Jun 2017

Media release

The Coalition Government has today reaffirmed its commitment to working closely with First Australians across the country to ensure they are able to take advantage of the opportunities presented by native title, including rights over sea and freshwater country. 

Speaking at the National Native Title Conference in Townsville today, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, announced the Coalition Government was investing $20 million to support economic opportunities provided to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through Indigenous rights over sea and fresh water country.

“For too long, traditional owners have not had their rights over sea and fresh water supported in the same way that rights over land has been supported,” Minister Scullion said.

“That is why the Government is providing this investment that will support the priorities of traditional owners, including fishing businesses. 

“The 25th anniversary of the historic Mabo decision is a timely reminder of the challenges and opportunities native title brought to First Australians dedicated to their land, waters and communities.

”As Eddie Koiki Mabo said: ‘What is on the land and in the sea belongs to me and my people’.

“Since the 1992 Mabo decision, almost 400 native title determinations have been made by the Federal Court and about 170 Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBC) established to represent the rights and interests of native title holders.

“To assist PBCs with the work they undertake, the Government will provide the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) with $158,500 to redevelop and improve the Native Title Corporations website.

“The new website, due for completion in late 2017, will help to build greater awareness of PBCs and their achievements. It will also help to facilitate knowledge sharing between native title holders to ensure their aspirations for economic development, by leveraging their native title rights, are realised.

“The redevelopment of the website will see it become a comprehensive, high-quality and convenient source for PBCs as well as for people wanting to know more about the role PBCs play.”

AIATSIS CEO, Craig Ritchie said: “Access to information and knowledge anchored in experience is critical. The new website will directly contribute to the development and success of PBCs by providing native title information, training modules and information products to assist relationship building and growth through PBC promotion and networking.”

Find out more

Visit the Minister's website to view the original media release.

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