Milestone agreement reached for Kariyarra people

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

A milestone native title agreement has been signed by the State Government and the Kariyarra people.

The Indigenous Land Use Agreement will enable development in specific areas of Port Hedland and in return award land and monetary benefits to the Kariyarra people worth $38 million over the life of the agreement.

Overlooking the waterfront at the Town of Port Hedland Civic Centre Gardens, Lands Minister Rita Saffioti and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt joined elders and representatives of the Kariyarra people in a formal signing ceremony of the agreement.

Ms Saffioti said the Government was committed to providing a level of support to the Kariyarra people for the next five years, to help ensure the outcomes are achieved.

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“Our hope is that the benefits to be provided will create new opportunities for improved economic, social and cultural outcomes, and empower the Kariyarra people to take a greater role in determining their future,” she said.

“This agreement involved a number of complex issues which have been resolved through the hard work of the Kariyarra people, their representatives from Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation, and staff from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, the State Solicitor’s Office, the Department of Communities, LandCorp and the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.” The agreement comes after six years of negotiations and means significant areas of freehold land will now be controlled by the local traditional owners and provide opportunities for self-determined economic acti-vity.

Kariyarra Elder Kerry Robinson said the agreement would benefit Kariyarra people in all areas across Port Hedland.

“We’ve been waiting so long for this to happen and hopefully it will go a long way,” he said.

“It’s about time we got something going and hopefully in the future something more will happen to get stronger and even more results of our people.”

Benefits for the Kariyarra people include reserved use and direct management of various crown land parcels of significance to the Kariyarra people, and the transfer of a range of urban and rural lots in freehold, including several with refurbished houses and units and the recognition and protection of heritage sites.

The agreement will also deliver monetary benefits to Kariyarra people in the form of 5 per cent payments on residential, commercial and industrial lots on crown land, with an agreed area of South Hedland, as well as financial assistance supporting effective implementation of the agreement.

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