Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Gunaikurnai Native Title Recognition

Joint Media Release with:

  • Hon Robert McClelland MP, Attorney-General

Attorney-General, Robert McClelland and the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, today welcomed the Federal Court’s recognition of the Gunaikurnai people’s native title rights in the Gippsland region of Victoria.

The consent determination is the first settlement reached under the new Victorian Native Title Settlement Framework and allows the Gunaikurnai people to exercise non-exclusive native title rights and interests, such as the right to hunt and fish, over a significant part of the Gippsland region.

“I would like to congratulate all the parties involved. Today’s settlement is a significant achievement for all involved and is a good example of the approach we can and should be taking to resolve native title claims, which result in enduring benefits,” Mr McClelland said.

Ms Macklin said the determination followed a 13 year pursuit by the Gunaikurnai peoples to have their rights as the traditional owners of the land recognised.

“Settlements such as this are integral to empowering Indigenous people and furthering their aspirations for economic development,” Ms Macklin said.

The Victorian Native Title Settlement Framework was developed by a steering committee, chaired by Professor Mick Dodson, to improve the process of resolving native title in Victoria.

The Australian and Victorian Governments both contributed $6 million to develop the $12 million settlement package.

“The Australian Government’s contribution reflects our commitment to national native title reform, and the resolution of native title claims through negotiation, rather than litigation,” Mr McClelland said.

Mr McClelland attended the Gunaikurnai native title on-country consent determination hearing today in Stratford, Victoria.