130,000 hectares of land on Western Cape York have been handed back to traditional owners. 

Grace Grace, Queensland Minister for State Development and Infrastructure, presented the title deeds to the Mokwiri Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC (MAC) during a special ceremony in Weipa this week.

The land, which was formerly part of the Napranum Deed of Grant in Trust lands located north of Weipa, has been transferred as inalienable freehold. 

This means that the land cannot be bought, sold, or mortgaged and is held in perpetuity for the benefit of the Aboriginal people connected to it.

The ceremony marked the culmination of eight years of negotiations involving traditional owners, the Department of Resources, and local communities. 

The return of the land is intended to empower the traditional custodians to continue their cultural practices and customs, benefiting future generations. 

The handover is the result of nearly a decade of consultation between the Department of Resources, traditional owners and the wider community. 

The transfer of the land aligns with the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 and the Torres Strait Islander Land Act 1991, which have facilitated the granting of approximately 6.64 million hectares of land as inalienable freehold for the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Queensland. 

Under Queensland’s Native Title Compensation Framework, native title groups are now negotiating with the state, rather than litigating claims in the Federal Court of Australia. 

This framework aims to streamline the resolution of native title claims and enhance the protection of Indigenous land rights.

More information on land transfers under the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 can be found here.