Native title win crosses border

Native title win crosses border, by Andrew Fraser - The Australian - 10th January 2008
(Credit: The Australian)

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.

Almost 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.

Although 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.

The 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.

The 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.

A letter 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".

This 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."

Mr 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.


Githabul people

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