The Palaszczuk Government has allocated an extra $20 million for voluntary land purchase to be jointly managed by traditional owners as new national parks and Aboriginal freehold on Cape York, as part of a $38.5 million package.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the funding follows the recent purchase by the government of two of the state’s northernmost cattle properties – Bramwell Station and Richardson Station – to link existing national parks into a one-million-hectare protection zone.
“By returning this land to traditional custodians, we can work together to conserve the significant natural and cultural treasures of Cape York,” the Premier said.
“It will also create jobs and opportunities for locals into the future.”
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said more than 3.85 million hectares of Cape York Peninsula land has been transferred to Traditional Owners by the Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program.
“This is about land justice,’’ Minister Scanlon said.
“We share an ugly and uncomfortable history in this country.
“And our First Nations communities have waited generations to have their land back.
Minister Scanlon said an extra $38.5 million over the next four years had been allocated to continue the CYPTR Program and to manage certain Cape York lands.
“Since the Goss government, we’ve united more than one million hectares of protected areas and Aboriginal land,” Minister Scanlon said.
But there remains about 400,000 hectares of national park and reserves and more than 200,000 hectares of other State land yet to be transferred.
“Last month, I announced the largest land acquisition in the Cape in more than a decade.
“This new funding brings us ever closer to righting the wrongs of the past.’’
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister Craig Crawford said land tenure was the way forward for First Nations people on Cape York.
“This is where we can draw a line in the sand and work jointly with the traditional custodians,’’ Mr Crawford said.
“Many of the Aboriginal groups on Cape York are deeply connected to culture and country.
“But this program allows them to take control of their own economic destiny.
“This is a key part of our journey on the Path to Treaty, truth-telling and reconciliation.’’
Balkanu Cape York Development Executive Director Gerhardt Pearson said the CYPTR program also recognises the importance of economic development to Traditional Owners.
“Revenue is generated through activities such gravel extraction, grazing, tourism, carbon offsets contracts, and ‘fee for service’ land management activities,’’ Mr Pearson said.
“There are social, cultural, health and wellbeing benefits that flow from Traditional Owners owning and managing their homelands.”
The extra funding includes:
Further information on the Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program is available at https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/management/programs/joint-management-cape-york.
Further information on Springvale Nature Refuge is available at www.qld.gov.au/environment/coasts-waterways/plans/catchment-management/springvale-station.
Premier and Minister for the Olympics
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs
The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon