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Forum told Native Title fundamental to our future

by Bryce Gray 5 June 2014

Native title is fundamental to our future, and it is fundamental to Australia’s future. “I have always argued that native title is a cornerstone of all policies related to Indigenous Affairs and essential for us to achieve economic independence,” said Brian Wyatt, a keynote speaker at the National Native Title Conference. “Through negotiating agreements, we continue to take advantage of many opportunities; economic development, employment, education scholarships, land management, housing. Through investing in our communities we are investing in our regions. “The next step for negotiation opportunities is greater access and benefit sharing, we must continue to think outside the box about how we achieve this. “It is imperative that sectors and governments work with us as native title becomes a significant driver in our economies whilst at the same time we continue to build our own cultural and social capital.” Conference co-­convenor and AIATSIS Council Chairperson Professor Mick Dodson agrees and said the conference enables participants to reinforce cultural values and country and to workshop learned experiences. “It’s about provoking thought on how we engage, negotiate and influence the political environment for native title as well as discuss how we can achieve real benefits for traditional owners and communities.”

“Living with native title remains a struggle for many of our communities,” said Professor Dodson. “At forums such as this conference, people come together and are open and frank in their discussions on a range of issues including legal requirements, agreement making and corporate

governance in native title. “But at the end of the day, people are also really supportive of one another, who share common ground: to support community aspirations to be part of sustainable enterprise and economic development that native title affords us whilst maintaining our cultural obligations to our country.”

Eddie Mabo’s grandson Ezra Mabo, represented the Mabo Family at 2014 Mabo Lecture on Mabo Day.

Ngambri Elder, Aunty Matilda House with the youngest (and cutest) conference delegate, 4 month old Marandu.

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Leah Brown, Principal Solicitor with Marrawah Law in Cairns speaks about PBC Resource Hubs.

It is imperative that sectors and governments work with us as native title becomes a significant driver in our economies whilst at the same time we continue to build our own cultural and social capital - Brian Wyatt

Eddie Briggs from the Gumbaynggirr Traditional Owners.

Dr Wen-Chi Kung from Taiwan who delivered the 2014 Mabo Lecture and Senator The Hon. Nigel Scullion

Gumbaynggirr Elders Choir were a highlight of the Conference Welcome Reception.

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Native title is fundamental to our future