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Water handed back to Quandamooka people as reserves are established on Minjerribah

Callan Morse -

Two water reserves on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) have been established for Queensland's Quandamooka people.

61,190 megalitres has been made available for the Traditional Owners of Minjerribah, with half allocated for economic use and half for environmental and cultural use.

It comes following the progressive expiration of water licences for sand mining operations on Minjerribah, which ended in 2019.

Half of the water previously held for sand mining will be allocated to support the environment and for cultural values, permanently be set aside by the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC), which represents the Quandamooka people. The remaining half of the water reserve will be available for numerous purposes, including ongoing land rehabilitation and economic opportunities.

QYAC chief executive Stephen Wright said the establishment of the reserves represented "a great day for the heath of Quandamooka Country".

"I am pleased that the Queensland Government has recognised the Quandamooka People as the Traditional Custodians of Minjerribah's land and waters," Mr Wright said.

"We believe the successful implementation of this proposal will enhance and safeguard the globally significant cultural landscapes of Minjerribah while fostering a management regime which can nurture the social and economic aspirations of the Quandamooka People, and the broader community."

The reserves were made possible by the end of sand mining in the area and Minjerribah's 2011 Native Title determination, with community feedback, conducted in October, supporting the establishment of the proposed reserves.

Queensland Minister for Water, Glenn Butcher, said he was pleased to see strong support for the establishment of the reserves through the consultation process.

"These reserves are important for the future environmental health of the island and its ongoing rehabilitation," Mr Butcher said.

"They also provide future economic opportunities for the Quandamooka People and support ongoing cultural values."

In announcing the water reserves on Wednesday, Mr Butcher said there will be no impact on existing entitlements or existing rights for taking water.

These including licenses for local drinking water supplies, those held by Seqwater, commercial operations, or temporary water permits.

The establishment of the reserves will also not have any impact on the right to take water for a variety of established purposes, including watering stock, for domestic purposes, camping, fighting fires and the right for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to take water for traditional activities or cultural purposes.

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