The Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion continues to support the Leader of the Opposition’s Wild Rivers Bill, which will give back the people of Cape York their voice, and has expressed his frustration at the bill being referred to what is now a fourth parliament enquiry.
Senator Scullion said under the Queensland Government’s Wild Rivers Act 2005 (QLD) the Cape’s wild rivers could be declared without the written consent of traditional owners.
“The people of Cape York are holders of land which without argument has some of the most wonderful and complex biodiversity in the world,” Senator Scullion said.
“It has been maintained in its wonderful state by the very people the Queensland Government considers are not deserving of having a say.
“Why would you ignore the single group of people who have protected this iconic area since time immemorial?
“Our bill is about ensuring that the Aboriginal people of Cape York have more control over their land and their economic destiny.
“It is about allowing them to work for a better future for their families and the important issue of economic development for and by Indigenous Australians should be above politics and this bill should have support from across the Parliament.
“But the three times Tony Abbott has presented the bill to the house, and the twice I have introduced it in the Senate, the government has refused to do the right thing and instead deliberately delayed the bill by referring it to an inquiry.
Senator Scullion said Federal Labor was supporting a bad Queensland Labor law by deliberately ignoring the wishes of traditional owners even though there are numerous examples where joint management and control, such as Kakadu in the Northern Territory, demonstrate how it should be done.
“The Coalition will continue to do whatever we can to help the Indigenous leaders in Cape York get back their voice, regain control of their land, and provide a future for their children,” said Senator Scullion.
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Give Cape York people back their voice on Wild Rivers.pdf