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Native Title Consent Determination in Cape York and the Torres Strait

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Media Release

Minister for Indigenous Australians
The Hon Linda Burney MP

Cabinet Secretary
The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP

Joint media release

The Albanese Government welcomes today's long-awaited native title settlement in Far North Queensland.

At a hearing on country on Thursday Island, the Federal Court formally recognised the native title rights of the Ankamuthi, Gudang Yadhaykenu, Kaurareg, Kemer Kemer Meriam and Kulkalgal peoples over land and sea in northern Cape York and the Torres Strait region.

This significant Traditional Owner-led settlement resolves seven separate and overlapping native title claims and draws upon Indigenous knowledge systems from across the Torres Strait and Cape York regions.

Today's determination represents the culmination of more than 20 years' work by native title holders and demonstrates the importance of the community-led approach to build consensus and seek resolution of overlapping claims.

The determination recognises native title rights over land and seas, including to access and use the area to hunt, fish and gather resources, and to protect places and areas of importance.

Fittingly, this historic settlement coincides with the 30th anniversary of the High Court's landmark Mabo v Queensland (No. 2) decision, which recognised native title in Australian law for the first time. It honours the 30-year legacy of Eddie Koiki Mabo and is a testament to his efforts for full and proper recognition of traditional land ownership for First Nations peoples.

The Government congratulates the Ankamuthi, Gudang Yadhaykenu, Kaurareg, Kemer Kemer Meriam and Kulkalgal peoples, their leaders past and present, as well as their legal representatives, Cape York Land Council and Gur A Baradharaw Kod Sea and Land Council.

Today's historic consent determination also sees Australia meet target 15b under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, which aims for a 15 per cent increase in sea country subject to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal rights and interests by 2030, seven years ahead of schedule.

The Albanese Government will continue to work with First Nations peoples towards the broader objectives of Outcome 15, to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people maintain a distinctive cultural, spiritual, physical and economic relationship with their land and waters.