Traditional Owners celebrated the handback of land in the Northern Territory this week with a visit from Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt.
On Wednesday, Minister Wyatt took part in a ceremony with the Alyawarr people from Aherrenge land holding group to return approximately 31 square kilometres of land on Ammaroo Station in the Sandover region to Traditional Owners.
The return of land on Ammaroo Station will complete a Native Title claim settlement from 2014.
Traditional Owner Tony Morton said the Alyawarr people are relieved to have the land returned to them.
“We are really happy for Minister Wyatt to hand our land back to us,” Mr Morton said.
Minister Wyatt attended the ceremony at Ampilatwatja, about 325 kilometres north east of Alice Springs, and was hosted by the Central Land Council (CLC).
CLC also celebrated the Native Title determination of seven different land holding groups to the Tennant Creek Station Traditional Owners in July.
CLC CEO Joe Martin-Jard said the Traditional Owners of the portion of land on Ammaroo Station were able to successfully negotiate with farmers to ensure the land handback would benefit all groups involved.
“That the Native Title holders agreed to the land swap demonstrates that Aboriginal and pastoralist interests can align in mutually beneficial ways,” CLC CEO Joe Martin-Jard said.
During his week-long visit to the Northern Territory, Minister Wyatt will undertake other duties to form better connections with Traditional Owners in the Territory.
Minister Wyatt said he is using his week in the Northern Territory as an opportunity to provide a voice to local communities and organisations.
“It is important that governments listen to local communities, and work in partnership to develop policy and programmes that best suit their needs on the ground,” Minister Wyatt said.
“I want to listen to as many Indigenous Australians as possible, and ensure that their voices are being heard. By building stronger partnerships with organisations and communities we can drive the progress of work that will shift the pendulum and improve the lives of Indigenous Australians in the NT.”
Last Wednesday, Minister Wyatt announced a Senior Advisory Group will establish models to ensure First Nations people’s voices will be represented at all levels of government.
He has also recently voiced his commitment to Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services to transitioning the Kimberley Aboriginal Suicide Prevention Trial, which ends in June 2020, to a permanent program.