The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, today met with the traditional owners of the Kenbi Land Claim to celebrate a significant milestone in the settlement of this long running land claim.
The Kenbi settlement covers about 64,000 hectares of land – of which about 52,000 will be Aboriginal land – on the Cox Peninsula adjacent to Darwin.
“This is one of the longest running land claims in the history of land rights in Australia and today we have moved one step closer to settlement,” Minister Scullion said.
“Consultations undertaken over the past few months with the Kenbi traditional owners, other Larrakia families and the Belyuen community on Cox Peninsula are now complete.
“My priority has always been the interests of the traditional owners of this area, led by Raylene Singh, and I am delighted to hear the final settlement proposal has the consent of the traditional owners.”
The Kenbi Land Claim was lodged in 1979 and has since then survived numerous challenges in the courts, right up to the High Court. In December 2000, the Aboriginal Land Commissioner released his report and recommendations on the Kenbi (Cox Peninsula) Land Claim.
“This settlement is recognition of what already exists. It is recognition of a connection to country and traditional ownership that has continued despite the sweep of history,” Minister Scullion said.
“I congratulate all parties on the innovative settlement that includes the voluntary extinguishment of native title to enable the granting of freehold title that traditional owners will be able to develop.
“I look forward to seeing other innovative agreements being struck across the Northern Land Council region in support of traditional owners who want transferable and commercially viable interests from land and native title rights.
“I am pleased that this settlement provides opportunities for traditional owners to pursue economic development and other aspirations they may have.”
The Coalition Government has supported the settlement through funding of $31.5 million for the remediation of land affected by contamination on the Cox Peninsula.
“This Government recognised the importance of this work and I am delighted to see the remediation of the contaminated land on Cox Peninsula is now under-way, with Indigenous employment a key part of these projects,” Minister Scullion said.
“I also welcome the Northern Territory Government’s settlement package announced by Chief Minister Adam Giles today.
“I look forward to the final steps being completed for this settlement, including the appointment of members to the Kenbi Aboriginal Land Trust by the Northern Land Council and finalisation of Commonwealth processes to allow for the transfer of land.
“I acknowledge the Northern Land Council’s commitment to transfer its share in the Larrakia Development Corporation to Larrakia ownership and I expect the Land Council to do this as soon as possible ahead of the hand back.
“Today’s announcement paves the way for final settlement of the land claim by the middle of this year. This will provide certainty for all parties and allow for future economic development and cultural protection of the Cox Peninsula that has Indigenous people at its centre.”