Australia

Queensland native title decision recognises rights of Quandamooka people

Morton Island Native Title applicant and Quandamooka Ngugi Elder Uncle Bob Anderson (left) is congratulated by traditional dancer Joshua Walker. Source: AAP

The Quandamooka people have welcomed a Federal Court decision recognising their native title rights over Moreton Island in Queensland.

Traditional owners say their formal recognition as native title holders over Moreton Island off southeast Queensland means they can now use traditional fire management practices on the island hit by bushfires just last week.

Cheers of elation rang out in the Federal Court at Brisbane on Wednesday when the Quandamooka people were formally recognised as traditional owners of the island following a legal process first launched more than two decades ago.

Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation CEO Cameron Costello (2nd right) and Aboriginal dancers pictured outside the Federal Court in Brisbane.
Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation CEO Cameron Costello (2nd right) and Aboriginal dancers pictured outside the Federal Court in Brisbane.
AAP

In handing down a consent determination negotiated between the native title holders and all levels of government, Justice Darryl Cameron Rangiah said it was a formal recognition of what the traditional owners have always known.

He said it was a day of celebration for the Quandamooka people but the suffering they experienced through colonisation should also be remembered.

The orders grant native title over 98 per cent of the sand island, also known as Mulgumpin, but have no impact on freehold land or the Tangalooma resort leasehold.

Lead applicant, Robert Anderson, also known as Uncle Bob, said it was a special day but felt he could also weep.

The decision provides certainty over the island following a legal process dating back to 1995, said Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation boss Cameron Costello.

He said a similar agreement was reached for North Stradbroke Island in 2011 and it would not disrupt day-to-day activities on Moreton Island.

The Quandamooka people are recognised as the traditional owners of Moreton Island just off southeast Queensland.
The Quandamooka people are recognised as the traditional owners of Moreton Island just off southeast Queensland.
Twitter/QYACceo

Mr Costello said the recognition also means traditional fire breaks could be used on the island aimed at preventing blazes like those on the island earlier this month.

"We're now looking at traditional fire management practices which are going to help," he said.

"We've just had fires on the island, we're really keen to bring our knowledge and modern science to maintain the beautiful island that it is."

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