Native title claim ‘not land grab’

Native title claim ‘not land grab’

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September 23, 2006

THE man behind a native title claim over the Gold Coast says it’s not a land grab and will not bring a ‘pot of gold’ to Aborigines.

National Indigenous Council member Wesley Aird and 1000 other descendants of the Yugambeh people have filed a claim covering 1330sq km of vacant Crown land in the region.

“We’re very pragmatic out of what we expect for this claim,” said Mr Aird yesterday.

“We know the Gold Coast is developed and there are only parcels here and there.

“We’re not expecting a pot of gold. We are not expecting title in the conventional sense. I don’t think anybody’s going to get rich out it.

“I don’t think it’s going to change our lives significantly, but we’re certainly going to have a tremendous amount of community spirit that would come from a successful claim.”

The claim covers an area from Logan River to Tweed River, west to Tamborine Mountain and east to the Gold Coast islands.

It does not have total support among local Aboriginals.

Mr Aird, a Federal Government indigenous affairs adviser, denied a feud but admitted there were opposing views.

He blamed ‘scaremongering and misconceptions’ for any fears.

But elder Graham Dillon, of the Kombumerri (traditional owners of the Gold Coast) and Ngarang-Wal Land Council said native title was ‘not a good instrument’, causing only bitter divisions.

“If you look back in history, you will find that up until native title, people lived reasonably well and in harmony,” he said.

He said the Government needed to sit down and talk to traditional Aboriginal custodians about the issue he called a ‘festering sore’.

‘User-friendly treaties’ in different areas could be a solution, he said.

The Kombumerri tribe also made unsuccessful title claims over the Gold Coast.

Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke said the group had a right to claim but residents should not worry about any impact on their lifestyle, regardless of the outcome.

However, Gold Coast Liberal MP Steven Ciobo was worried.

“My concern is that this claim would appear to be directed at obtaining large cash payouts over unallocated Crown land,” he said.

A spokesman for Natural Resources and Water Minister Kerry Shine said no work had been done on the Gold Coast claim yet because it had been lodged only recently.


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