PCCC Native Title Applicants hoodwinked by Newman Government by Cherissma Blackman 25 June 2014
he Queensland government is currently in lopsided negotiations with Port Curtis Coral Coast Native Title applicants. The original Port Curtis Coral Coast Claim was filed in the Federal Court of Australia on the 25th July, 2001. This was after a Federal Court Order to amalgamate four (4) Native Title Claims; Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng, Bialai and Tribaleng Bunda. These claims
were lodged from 1998. After several attempts over almost 20 years to resolve land
tenure issues, interested parties ILUA’s – (Local Government, Pastoralists and Mining companies), all seems to be anything but “tangible” in efforts of the Port Curtis Coral Coast claimants over the past 20 years. The rigorous process of Native Title involves processes such as attaining evidence from State government records, interviews with anthropologists, and so forth. This is not a problem for claimants, it’s the timeframe this has taken. The emotional side is gathering affidavits off Elders (many
Kerry Blackman protesting outside SANTOS
who have passed on) to acquire information that fulfils elements of claim to land, and you are still not guaranteed of getting across the line.. This in turn leaves frustrations to younger generations of what is equitable, just and at common law the definition to utilise our bundle of rights in the campaign for Native Title Determination over our Traditional Country. Whilst native title and common law in Australia has evolved, the ancient lore and customs and survival methods of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders will always remain. The efforts to carry on the Dreaming Stories and Song lines which connect our people to Country ironically are the mechanics which keep the elements of a Native Title Claim. How to bring two worlds together has always been the ongoing struggle with Aboriginal People and European Colonisers. This current Newman State Government has granted Unallocated State Land plots in the Determination area without consulting the Native Title Party. They have introduced a policy – Town and Urban Areas Policy to reject the idea of Aboriginal people existing in Town and Urban Areas continuously. If this were any other Interested Party who has leverage of statute, would they be treated the same? ie Mining and Pastoralists. The question of Constitutional Powers remains: Where there are inconsistencies in the State statute doesn’t the federal law override? The Port Curtis Coral Coast People have always rightfully negotiated all ILUA’s in a decisive manner, where compulsory acquisition has never assumed the
position of their agreements. The PCCC people realise they’re obligation to future generations in creating a sustainable economic development base. The major Commodity LNG, (which derives from their fellow countrymen to the west) will be exported off Curtis Island was negotiated unfairly and unequitable for the Port Curtis Coral Coast Peoples. ILUA endorsements were misleading and deceptive on the proponent’s behalf. When questions were asked at the authorisation meeting regarding what the project was worth, the answer was “we are unsure”. Two days later Anna Bligh is on the podium in Brisbane announcing hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties per year for LNG development. On top of the pittance in compensation, these companies have promised Business Development opportunities. Yet we are still wandering around in the dark rubbing two sticks together. The PCCC’s plight of engaging to protect Natural Resources, Environment has also been fruitless in coming to equal terms with government agencies: state and federal. They have also tried to meet with Natural Resource Management groups such as BMRG and FBC to be categorised as “Lest important” on their TO DO lists. There are squatters, on Crown Land on Middle Island and Facing Island, that have shacks (Doctors and Lawyers) which are permanently affixed to this Land. How can you claim adverse possession on crown land? We know in the cycle of the legal process it is going to cost millions of dollars to go to trial with the
state government. We are not that naive to think that the state government would not be stacking every odds against us to wipe our claim out of the courts. This in turn would be defined as never being able to put another claim over country from Port Alma to Elliot River out to the Auburn Ranges. It is all political! Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia experience daily, the legal ramifications to acquire their bundle of rights. We are being knocked from pillar to post just like in the days of our Old People”. Though you try to make better the plight of our people you are at the peril and interest of the Government. If we can get support in the senate to stop this state government in their Town and Urban Areas Policies, • We want these squatters removed off middle island and facing island, • We need at least 10% of our national parks back to manage. (There are 57) • To give us a fair and equitable hearing to a consent determination, • To ensure there is a proper seperation of powers where the courts doctrine is not influenced by the state. In the Words of William Hensley – NANA Alaska Leader – “Without control over our lands, our livelihoods, our Culture, our Future are doomed, I argue passionately maintaining Aboriginal rights to the land could not be trumped by the nascent state nor by private interests”.
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by Cherissma Blackman 25 June 2014 The Queensland Government is currently in lopsided negotiations with Port Curtis Coral Coast Native Title...