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Title win for Juru people

The Juru people of north Queensland have won non-exclusive native title rights and interests over about 176,000 square hectares of land and waters between Bowen and Ayr.

Juru Native Title Working Group member Jenny Prior said it was an emotional time.  “It’s taken four generations to get our great grandfather’s country back,” she said.

“He would have been 136 today, so for me I’m going to join in the celebrations with the eight Juru families, privileged to be with my children and my grandchildren, but to also appreciate the struggles they went through.

“Now it’s full steam ahead to make sure we can create employment, small business and training opportunities for all our Juru people.

“Our mob’s also very privileged to have our sea country claim recognised, which is a first for the North Queensland Land Council as well.”

The determination covers an area 10km out to sea.

“The Juru people and Elders in the past has a vision to make sure that our rights were determined in term of our land and sea, and i think the ... ancestors who have been identified as the traditional owners of this country, would appreciate the recognition of these rights everyone deserves,” claimant Angelina Akee said.

“Their commitment to that recognition as the traditional owners was about this and future generations to have native title to their country.”

Mrs Akee called on the Queensland Government to act responsibly when considering the question of townships.

“The Sate Government needs to be responsible in recognising our rights within townships and we’re asking that they should consider the history of this country and what they know is rightfully ours,” she said.

Kevin Murphy, the director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Services at the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, said the determination brought the number of native title claims determined in Queensland to 106, 93 of which have been resolved by the consent of the parties.

Second determination

The determination is the second for the Juru people.  “In 2011, the Federal Court recognised the Juru people’s non-exclusive native title rights over the Cape Upstart National Park, confirming them as the native-title holders for that area,” Mr Murphy said.

“The Juru people lodged their second claim in December 2010 and have since been involved in extensive negotiations with the state and local governments, service providers and the coal industry.

“Negotiations are continuing to resolve outstanding issues over the recognition of native title over area of unallocated state land throughout the claim area and the town and urban areas of Bowen, Home Hill and Merinda.”

The Juru people have successfully negotiated Indigenous land use agreements with the state and other parties for the management and protection of areas within the determination.

Source: The Koori Mail, Edition 580 16/07/2014