• An artist's impression of the planned 'tourism hub' at Jabiru. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Mirarr Traditional owners are celebrating the return of ownership of the Northern Territory town of Jabiru, as amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act pass through the Senate. They hope to turn the town into a tourism hub.
Keira Jenkins

4 Sep 2020 - 11:09 PM  UPDATED 8 Sep 2020 - 4:49 PM

Mirarr Traditional Owners have welcomed historic amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act, which passed through the Senate of the Federal Parliament on Thursday.

The amendments, which were introduced to the Parliament in May, return the ownership of long-term mining town Jabiru to the Mirarr Traditional Owners, who have plans to transform it into a sustainable tourism hub.

Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation - the representative body for Mirarr Traditional Owners - CEO Justin O'Brien told NITV News that the passing of the amendments through the Senate was "cause for celebration".

"Since 2000 the Mirarr have wanted to see Jabiru become an of an Aboriginal-owned township," he said.

"Now a law has passed that can allow the creation of a township entity controlled by Aboriginal people."

In the Senate, during the debate on the amendments, NT Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said this had been a "long time coming" for the Mirarr Traditional Owners.

Senior Mirarr Traditional Owner Yvonne Margarula watched the proceedings in the Senate online as they unfolded, she said the changes are essential to the Mirarr's plans for the post-mining future of Jabiru.

"We Mirarr are glad to see these legal changes happen," she said.

"We look forward to welcoming visitors from all around the world to our beautiful country."

Mr O'Brien said it had been a "long journey" to get to this point, and there's still work to do, but he's glad the plans for Jabiru have made it to this stage.

He said he hopes people will be able to visit and learn about Indigenous culture at Jabiru in the near future.

Mirarr Traditional Owners eager to transform Jabiru into a tourism hub
New legislation introduced to Parliament provides a step on the way for Mirarr Traditional Owners to transform the town of Jabiru from a long-term mining town to an Indigenous-led, sustainable tourism hub.