In a big week for native title holders in Central Australia the Federal Court this week recognised the native title rights of groups at both Kalkarindji and Bushy Park Station.
The Court sat in Kalkarindji – a keystone of the modern land rights movement – on Wednesday 7 May 2014 to hand down a determination of native title by consent over the Kalkarindji township in favour of the local Gurindji people and today the native title holders for Bushy Park Perpetual Pastoral Lease (PPL) gathered on the station at Edwards Creek, approximately 115 kilometres northeast of Alice Springs, for another sitting of the Court to recognise the native title rights of the Ilkewarn, Atwel/Alkwepetye and Ayampe people.
At the Kalkarindji hearing the Director of the CLC, David Ross, congratulated the traditional owners: “Standing with you here in your country, it is wonderful to see the long and proud tradition of Gurindji people is continuing, fighting for and achieving just recognition of your rights in traditional lands.” Mr Ross also noted that with the successful outcome of negotiations between the Northern Territory Government and traditional owners the development of Kalkarindji was well provided for.
In a speech following the court hearing at Kalkarindji Roslyn Frith, a senior traditional owner and director of the Gurinidji Aboriginal Corporation, the prescribed body corporate, also celebrated the persistence of the Gurindji people: “We hold the land in our hands and recognition here today is another milestone in the continuing campaign for Aboriginal land rights.”
Ms Frith also thanked the Federal Court and the Central Land Council and its staff for their assistance in lodging and pursuing the claim, together with the Northern Territory Government for its consent to the settlement.
The Bushy Park PPL Native Title determination application was filed with the Court on 13 December 2012 and Justice White presided over the Court to recognise the non-exclusive native title rights of the Ilkewarn, Atwel/Alkwepetye and Ayampe landholding groups.
The CLC Director passed on his congratulations to the Ilkewarn, Atwel/Alkwepetye and Ayampe native title holders and senior native title holder Eric Penangk attested to the recognition from the court:
“Ceremony and culture has to pass to the young people. Aboriginal law and whitefella law can work together.”
Bushy Park PPL is located in the east off the Plenty Highway and covers an area of 1695 square kilometres. The perpetual pastoral lease will continue to run as a pastoral lease.