title win crosses border, by Andrew Fraser - The
Australian - 10th January 2008
THE Queensland Government has reversed its position
on a contentious native title claim over Mt Lindesay
on the border with NSW and is set to grant the
claim from the Githabul people.
a year ago, the Githabul were granted native title
over an area of northern
NSW, but they claimed their traditional territory
crossed the border and covered
parts of Queensland.
the NSW Government granted them native title last
year - and made a
point of the handover during the March state elections
- the Queensland
Government failed to recognise the claim on its
side of the border, despite using the same studies
covering anthropology, history, linguistics, genealogy
and musicology as the NSW Government did.
most contentious issue was Mt Lindesay, which
straddles the border. The
Githabul gained native title access over the southern
base of the mountain but not
the summit, which is in Queensland. Correspondence
obtained by The Australian
shows that the Queensland Government negotiating
team's position has changed.
claimant on behalf of the Githabul, Trevor Close,
yesterday lodged at the
Federal Court in Sydney an amended land claim
that only covered the area around
Mt Lindesay, rather than the broader claim that
encompassed an area from Mt
Lindesay to south of Stanthorpe and covered four
Queensland national parks.
from the Queensland Government's negotiating team
to Mr Close says that
although a definite determination is yet to be
made, the negotiating team "would be willing
to recommend to the minister that the state agree
to a consent determination that native title exists
over a new claim filed in the Federal Court by
the Githabul people over the summit area only
of Mt Lindesay".
is in contrast to earlier correspondence from
the state Government to Mr Close, which stated:
"The state will not consent to a determination
that native title exists over the areas subject
to the application in Queensland."
Close said yesterday a successful claim would
not prevent non-indigenous
people from visiting the mountain, and he was
confident there was the political will in Queensland
to grant the claim.
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