Indigenous groups have joined forces to make the nation’s biggest native title claim in the country’s history.
he claim covers 14.6 million hectares of land spanning the Cape York peninsula, in Queensland’s far north.
The Australian reports Olkola elder and cattleman Mike Ross, who is leading the title claim, is seeking the highest form of native title under commonwealth law.
This would see developers, mining companies and government negotiate terms with just one body corporate.
“There are about 45 tribal groups on the Cape but this brings us back to being one clan, with one goal and builds the strength we need to force people to the table to negotiate,” said Ross.
The move by the group follows the Queensland government’s plan to open the region to more mining and agriculture developments.
While the group plans to have the claim passed in three years, the average time it takes to finalise a contested native title claim is six years.
Last year Leo Akiba, on behalf of the Torres Strait Sea claim group, won a native title claim in the High Court, determining 37,800 square kilometres of sea between the Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea were applicable for native title. This set a legal precedent for clan claims.
According to The National Native Tribunal, native title is “the recognition by Australian law that some Indigenous people have rights and interests to their land that come from their traditional laws and customs”. The law was established after the Mabo High Court decision in 1992.
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