Alyawarr [pronounced Al-YA-war] speakers from the Aherrenge [pronounced AH-run-ga] land holding group will join the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, to celebrate the handback of pastoral lease land in the Northern Territory’s Sandover region.

During a ceremony at Ampilatwatja, 325 kilometres north east of Alice Springs, Mr Wyatt will return approximately 31 square kilometres of station land adjoining the Aherrenge Aboriginal Land Trust to its traditional owners.

During the ceremony at 10 am on Wednesday, 6 November, traditional owners plan to dance to celebrate the handback.

Speaking on their behalf, traditional owner Tony Morton said: “We are really happy for Minister Wyatt to hand our land back to us.”

The handback will complete a native title claim settlement from 2014.

Five years ago, the native title holders agreed not to pursue exclusive possession native title rights over a number of former stock routes and a former stock reserve that run through the pastoral lease.

Instead, they allowed to add those areas to the lease.

In exchange, the pastoralist and the Northern Territory agreed to support adding an area of station land adjacent to Ampilatwatja to the land trust area.

The Central Land Council negotiated for the block to be excised from the station and scheduled as inalienable freehold title under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act.

“That the native title holders agreed to the land swap demonstrates that Aboriginal and pastoralist interests can align in mutually beneficial ways,” said CLC CEO Joe Martin-Jard.

The 2014 native title determination incorporated the Ammaroo, Derry Downs, Murray Downs and Elkedra stations.

The native title application was filed in 2001, in response to traditional owners’ concerns over future mining and horticultural development on their land.

They wanted to ensure they would be able to continue to protect their sacred sites and to be consulted about exploration and development on their country.

The Kaytetye Alyawarr Awenyerraperte Ingkerr-wenh Aboriginal Corporation [pronounced KAY-ditch Al-YA-war AWEN-yir-apur-ta In-GER-wen] Aboriginal Corporation is the native title body corporate that exercises these rights and interests on behalf of its members.

MEDIA CONTACT: Elke Wiesmann | 0417 877 579|