Joint Media Release with Member for O’Connor Mr Rick Wilson MP
The Manta Rirrtinya native title holders from the Western Desert Region of Western Australia are celebrating the historic native title determination today.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion, congratulated the native title holders and their representative, Central Desert Native Title Services, on this historic determination.
“Today’s determination date falls almost one-year after the Manta Rirrtinya claimant application was filed with the Federal Court,” Minister Scullion said.
“This determination represents one of the fastest resolutions of a native title matter since the introduction of the Native Title Act in 1993.
“The claim was filed on 15 September 2017 and accepted for registration on 21 December 2017 with the hearing taking place today before the Honourable Justice Charlesworth of the Federal Court of Australia.
Member for O’Connor, Rick Wilson, said today was a special day for the Traditional Owners.
“The determination area covers approximately 23,500 square kilometres of land and water, with exclusive possession being recognised over the majority of the area.
“I would like to congratulate all those who have worked on this determination over the last year. This is another major milestone for people of the Western Desert Cultural Bloc in having more of their land formally recognised.
“I would also like to wish the Wakamurru (Aboriginal Corporation) well. Wakamurru will be the body responsible for holding the native title rights and interests in trust for the Manta Rirrtinya native title holders.
“Native Title will also ensure that the traditional owners will be able to pursue greater social, cultural and economic opportunities which will benefit the entire community,” Mr Wilson said today.
Both the Federal Court hearing and celebrations were held today on-country at Empress Spring, about 1,300 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs – which was widely attended by members of the local community.
“Today we also acknowledge and pay respect to the elders who have passed away over the years of prosecuting the claim and did not live to see this day.”
Minister Scullion said the Coalition Government is committed to progressing outstanding native title applications and land rights claims as a priority to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land owners certainty over their land and their future.
“Since we have been in government, I am pleased to say that there have now been more Native Title determinations than applications.
Across Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have had their native title recognised for approximately 40 per cent of land and we are committed to seeing all outstanding claims resolved as soon as possible.
The Morrison Government is also investing more than $20 million to build capacity in Prescribed Bodies Corporate so that Native Title holders can realise the economic, cultural and social aspirations for their land.