A NATIVE title claim has been filed for an area including the Tenterfield, Glen Innes Severn, Clarence Valley, Kyogle and Richmond Valley local government areas.
A native title determination application filed by the Western Bundjalung people covering an area of about 5773 square kilometres in the state’s north has been accepted for registration by the National Native Title Tribunal.
Tenterfield Shire Council voted to register an interest in the matter ahead of the closing date on August 29.
The application does not cover freehold land, residential leases, and agricultural and pastoral leases.
A spokeswoman for the applicants said the application covered the northern rivers area of NSW including Baryulgil, Malabugilmah, Lionsville, Rocky River, Malera, Timbarra, Sandy Hill, Drake, Pretty Gully, Tabulam, Mallanganee, the Hogarth Range and Coaldale.
The spokeswoman said the application sought recognition of exclusive traditional rights and interests in the area, including the right to access and to participate in cultural and spiritual activities in the area.
“The Western Bundjalung people are committed to ensuring the protection of their traditional sites and places of cultural importance for the benefit of their future generations, and the community as a whole,” the spokeswoman said.
“They believe that the native title application is one mechanism which will help to achieve this.”
An extract from the Register of Native Title Claims lists the applicants as Tim Torrens, David Mundine, Kathy Malera-Bandjalan, Bronwyn Bancroft, Leonard Gordon, David Walker, Terrence Robinson, Andrew Donnelly, Gary Brown and Graeme Walker.
The native title claim group includes all descendants of 20 ancestors, including: Richard “Old Dick” Donnelley (born in Timbarra circa 1870); Thomas “Tom” Donnelly (born in Tenteerfield circa 1877); Harry Joseph Mundine (born in Tabulam in 1868); Teresa Agnes “Ponjam” Derry (born in Tabulam in 1872); and Mick “Bucky” Robinson (born in Timbarra/Tenterfield circa 1859).
Any person or organisation who believes they have an interest can apply to the Federal Court of Australia before August 29 to be a respondent party to the application.
Tenterfield Shire Council voted at the July council meeting to apply as an interested party to keep up to date with and have input into the determination.
Once the Federal Court has decided on the interested parties, there may be mediation between parties to agree on issues involved in the application.
If there is no agreement, the matter then may be subject to a court trial to make a decision about whether native title exists or not.
There can be only one determination of native title in any area.