Victorian TOs welcome state’s biggest ever native title settlement

A map of the Taungurung native title settlement area.

Taungurung Traditional Owners in Victoria have secured the biggest native title settlement in the state’s history in a deal worth nearly $34 million.

They are now formally recognised as the Traditional Owners of a large area of central Victoria, with the settlement area stretching from Rochester and Kyneton in the west, to Bright in the east, Euroa in the north, and to Kinglake in the south.

Taungurung Clans Aboriginal Corporation chief executive officer Matt Burns said it was an opportunity to make a meaningful difference to the Taungurung community through employment, investments, and allocating returns into community programs in areas like education and health support.

“The benefits of this settlement will come in many forms through management of parks, employment of park rangers and operational staff, control and decision-making rights on Crown land, but more importantly, pride,” Mr Burns said.

“Pride that while not all people made it to the end of this journey who began it, the pride that the Taungurung people persevered and saw this to the end.”

The settlement was completed under the Victorian Traditional Owner Settlement Act (2010), which allows for out-of-court native title settlements recognising the rights of Victorian Traditional Owners.

First Nations Legal and Research Services lawyer Dan Kelly, who negotiated Taungurung’s claim, said Taungurung people now had rights to access Crown land to hunt, fish, camp, and gather natural resources.

“This recognition is a significant milestone because it provides Taungurung with formal recognition by the State of Victoria and brings to an end their struggle to obtain rights over their own land,” he said.

“This settlement refocuses the relationship between the State and Traditional Owners and gives greater recognition to Traditional Owner rights over country and self-determination compared to previous settlements, so we hope it sets a new benchmark for future settlements to be resolved more efficiently.”

“We must remember that while this resolves land issues on Taungurung Country, and is a massive milestone, the journey isn’t over yet. We’re yet to see a Treaty with the State to finally settle our First Peoples’ dispossession of their land.”

1 Comment on Victorian TOs welcome state’s biggest ever native title settlement

  1. Not all the Traditional Owners welcome this settlement. The Taungurung Traditional Owners also claimed lands that weren’t traditionally theirs. To do this, as part of the settlement process, they also claimed ancestors from other tribes – to as their apical ancestors – which they weren’t. Using the protection of the “privacy laws” they hid this faulty ancestry research from the rightful traditional for many years. Early this year the faulty research was discovered. The Taungurung claim group were approached many times in an attempt to discuss and correct the faults that were made in the First Nations Legal Research Service (FNLRS)which allowed them to claim ancestors and country of the Ngurai illum Wurrung peoples – the traditional owners of country they claimed in central Victoria. I still hope that this mistake can be rectified, our claim group is still working on it. It is my belief that Traditional Owners should have the right to claim Native Title over their ancestral traditional lands. There was said to be 38 traditional owner Nations in the land we now know as Victoria. With false claims being allowed, this Australian history is being is being lost – amazingly it is being genocided by bureaucratic bungling and hostile claim groups in 2018. Unfortunately the good intentions of the Labor Government, who are trying to get things moving on long overdue treaties, are being manipulated by groups who refuse to follow the government’s essential “Threshold Guidelines” when making their claims.

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