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Minister Scullion: Fraser Island returned to the Butchulla people
A Fraser Island Native Title claim was determined today after five decades of tireless campaigning by the Butchulla Peoples for land and sea claims in the area, also known as K’gari, meaning Paradise.
Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion said he was pleased to see the K’gari determination finalised for the land which covers the whole of Fraser Island.
“I am pleased that the determination, which is for non-exclusive rights and interests over the Island, has been finalised.
“It is my hope that that the Butchulla People will be able to leverage the economic opportunities presented by this determination.
“The Butchulla People have struggled since the early 1970s to have their land rights recognised, in order to protect their country and sacred sites from sand mining and other environmental threats.
“Aboriginal people have inhabited K’gari for 5,000 years and the Butchulla Traditional Owners have fought tirelessly to protect the rights of the land and their people, with mining operations ceasing in 1977 and the site being World Heritage Listed in 1992.
“Today’s determination ensures the Butchulla People will be able to continue their long held relationship with the land - celebrating culture on country and protecting the natural beauty of the island.”
The determination allows for the Traditional Owners to take responsibility for maintaining places of importance and areas of significance to the native title holders under their traditional laws and to protect those places and areas from physical harm. Traditional Owners will also be able to hold meetings and teach on the area about the physical, cultural and spiritual attributes of the area.
The Butchulla Aboriginal Corporation has been established as the Prescribed Body Corporate to manage the native title rights on behalf of all native title holders and traditional owners.