QUEENSLAND: The Kowanyama peoples have won native title rights to more than 16,000 square kilometres of pastoral property in far north Queensland.
Sitting in Kowanyama, on the western side of the Cape York Peninsula, the Federal Court on Tuesday approved a consent determination giving the traditional owners non-exclusive rights to the land.
The ruling gives the Kowanyama people – including the Yir Yoront, Koko Bera, Kunjen and Koko Berrin tribes – a range of rights, including the ability to hunt, fish, participate in ceremonies and be buried on the land.
It gives them exclusive rights to the Kowanyama township area to possess, occupy, use and enjoy it to the exclusion of others.
Cape York Land Council chairman Richie Ahmat says the recognition should lead to a new era of co-operation between pastoralists and traditional owners.
“It has been a long and difficult process, but this determination demonstrates that great outcomes can be achieved if there is a will to work co-operatively to achieve mutual recognition of relevant issues,” he said in a statement.