A decade long struggle by the Mirrar people in the Northern Territory for ownership and control of their land in the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park met with success on Friday when they were granted native title rights.
A special on-country hearing was held at Lake Jabiru where Mirrar native title holders, led by five senior women, were given hard copies of the native title determination over areas of the Jabiru township, which lies at the heart of Kakadu about 250kms south east of Darwin.
The women were Yvonne Margarula, the senior traditional owner of Jabiru and leader of the Mirarr people; Nida Mangarnbarr, Annie Ngalmirama, May Nango and Ruth Gamarrawu.
Northern Land Council chief executive officer Joe Morrison said the claim was part of a bigger struggle by the Mirrar people for recognition of ownership and control of their land.
“The Mirrar, led by Yvonne Margarula, and before that her late father, have long fought for better protection of their country and this native title determination helps secure for all time important protection and recognition of the Mirarr People’s rights and interests under Australian law,” he said.
The application for native title over Jabiru Township and its immediate surrounds, which covers about 13 square kilometres, was first filed with the Federal Court in 1998 on behalf of the Mirrar people.
The Mirarr estate includes areas currently affected by the Ranger UraniumMine and a Jabiluka mineral lease.
Friday’s decision gave effect to a judgement handed down in 2016, the NLC said.
By Wendy Caccetta