The Yuin people of New South Wales have moved to allay fears from the non-Indigenous community about the impact of their recently lodged native title claim with the Federal Court.
The claim spans from the Royal National Park south of Sydney all the way down the south coast past the town of Eden and three nautical Miles out to sea.
More than 850 members of the Yuin community approved the Federal Court submission, which if successful will grant traditional fishing rights over a 17,000 square kilometre portion of the south coast.
Traditional Owner, Wally Stewart, said south coast residents have nothing to fear.
“They don’t have to worry about anything, it’s like we said, we can’t take nothing away from what they get and what they’ve got, we just want to get something for our community, we’ve got a high unemployment rate and we want to create some employment," he told NITV News.
"You know we want our rights recognised as traditional owners and we want to be on an equal playing field and to have a say in land and sea management.”
Out of the 850 Yuin members present at the native title authorisation meeting, Mr Stewart was nominated to be one of 12 representatives of the claim, a responsibility that he doesn’t take lightly.
“In that sense alone it’s very honourable to be part of that and to be elected on the day," he said.
"I’m there to do my best for our community and I’m not going to lead this claim without listening to what the people tell me and their aspirations.”
Law preventing Lore
Mr Stewart believes that Yuin culture is at dire risk of fading away if measures aren’t undertaken soon to protect traditional practices.
“I know that Yuin people have been prosecuted down here for fishing and it’s almost severed our whole way of life," he said.
"We’ve actually done case studies on the impact that that has had on us, so that’ll be one of our fights. We have a whole heap off other aspirations though which we want as a community and that’s what we will be standing up and fighting for.”