Today the Queensland Government returned 6483 hectares of land on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) - almost 24 per cent of the island - to Traditional Owners the Quandamooka people.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad joined Traditional Owners and Elders at an event at Adams Beach for the historic handover of land deeds, mainly made up of areas under current and expired mining leases, to the Quandamooka People.
The Premier said from today, the Quandamooka people will not only have land tenure ownership but the end of mining will allow access to sacred cultural sites that have been denied to them since mining began in 1949.
“It is an honour to return the lands of Minjerribah to the care of its Traditional Custodians, the Quandamooka people, who have been caring for and sharing this beautiful sanctuary with visitors for thousands of years,” the Premier said.
“This is an important next step for Elders, with almost 25 years passing since the first native title claim for the island was lodged and more than eight years since the 2011 native title determination.
“The Quandamooka people are continuing this tradition of sharing their lands and today I can also announce that the Queensland Government has been working with the Traditional Owners to identify more areas across the island suitable to become national park.
“This re-affirms the commitments made by previous Labor Governments that 80 per cent of the island would become national park and today we take the next step towards making this a reality with the release of the Minjerribah Protected Area Expansion Strategy.”
The Deputy Premier congratulated the Quandamooka people, represented by the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC), and the sand mining company Sibelco for working together in forging a common path forward and ensuring a smooth transition from mining operations into land rehabilitation.
“In a second historic moment today, Sibelco and QYAC signed a significant agreement, Baru yaguliba gubiyiya (time to heal and regrow), which cements their commitment to working collaboratively to restore the natural environment while creating employment and training opportunities for Quandamooka people and the wider community,” Ms Trad said.
“Over the next decade, QYAC will work alongside Sibelco to rehabilitate the environment harnessing the knowledge and skills of the Traditional Owners.”
QYAC CEO Mr Cameron Costello said native title had brought great benefits to the Quandamooka people, in particular the rights to care for and connect with country and to create new economic and employment opportunities for their young people.
“We look forward to working closely with the Queensland Government and Sibelco over the next decade to restore the natural beauty of Minjerribah and to reinstate Quandamooka peoples’ relationship to Country,” Mr Costello said.
“We are excited that appropriate areas will be unlocked for eco cultural tours to educate visitors from across Australia and the world.
“Nothing makes the Elders or myself prouder than to see our young people out working on country, caring for country, as Land and Sea Rangers.”
Sibelco CEO Tom Cutbush said Sibelco will continue to be a key contributor to the Minjerribah economy and community during the decommissioning of Enterprise Mine and in the rehabilitation process.
“Sand mining has been a part of the community for decades. As the final operators of a mine, Sibelco are now looking forward to successfully meeting our obligations for rehabilitation of land disturbed by mining,” Mr Cutbush said.
“Sibelco will continue to invest in the Minjerribah economy and community through our rehabilitation activities. We recognise the Quandamooka people’s role in caring for country and are committed to working with QYAC and the Queensland Government.
“Positive progress has already been made with 2,249 hectares of mining lease under the responsibility of Sibelco already surrendered and transitioned.”
The Queensland Government has invested $24.75 million to transition the Minjerribah economy from its reliance on sand mining to a new future as a globally recognised cultural and eco-tourism destination.
Three major construction projects creating more than 50 jobs are set to begin in early and mid-2020. These are the redevelopment of the old Dunwich Secondary campus into the new education and training centre, Minjerribah Ganaba (Place to Hear, Think and Understand): the Quandamooka Art Museum and Performance Institute (QUAMPI); and Yalingbila Bibula (Whale on the Hill). Next year will also see the completion of the campground upgrades and a number of new recreational trails.
For more information on the Queensland Government’s Minjerribah Futures program visit qld.gov.au/minjerribahfutures
Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Jackie Trad