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Wakaya Alywarre

February 1990

Land Rights News Vol 2, No 17 Feb 1990

Jack Punch and his family received Northern Territory title to about 5,000 square kilometres of their traditional land in the desert east of Tennant Creek in December.

On the eve of the Wakaya/Alyawarre land claim hearing early last year, the NT Government offered the claimants grants of NT title if they dropped their claim under the Federal Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

Eight of the nine claimant groups rejected the offer, preferring to proceed with the claim in the hope of gaining the much stronger Aboriginal freehold title. NT title does not give landowners control over mining and development projects or control over access to their land.

The Director of the Central Land Council, David Ross, criticised the NT Government for its last minute bid to prevent the land claim proceeding.

"The Wakaya/Alyawarre land claim was lodged in 1980," he said, "Since then thousands of dollars have been spent researching and preparing the claim.

If the Government was sincere about providing land to Wakaya and Alyawarre groups, it would have made the offer before all the money was spent. "The NT Government's record in opposing land rights is well known."