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Queensland Premier Campbell Newman

Historic Handover Of Cape York Park

Victor P Taffa

The Newman Government will today hand back Mungkan Kandju National Park, in central Cape York Peninsula, to its traditional owners the Wik Mungkan, Southern Kaanju and Ayapathu People.

Premier Campbell Newman will be joined in Coen by the Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Andrew Powell, The Minister for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander & Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier, Glen Elmes and local MP and Assistant Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs David Kempton. Traditional Owners, and Members of the Cape York Land Council and Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation will also be there.

Premier Newman said the handover of the park between Coen and Aurukun was a momentous event, consistent with the LNP’s commitment to work with Aboriginal people to give them real economic and social futures.

“The handover of the 381,560 ha national park followed an historic agreement signed today by the Queensland Government and the Oyala Thumotang Land Trust representing Wik Mungkan, Southern Kaanju and Ayapathu People.” Premier Newman said.

“This action demonstrates the Government’s commitment to including Indigenous people in the joint management of our treasured Cape York Peninsula national parks, something the LNP strongly believes in.”

Premier Newman said an additional 75,074 ha of land previously revoked from the Archer Bend section of the park would also be transferred to the Oyala Thumotang Land Trust, consistent with the social, economic and cultural aspirations of the Wik Mungkan People.

“The return of this land as freehold serves in part to rectify a past action whereby Wik Mungkan People was prevented from purchasing the Archer Bend Pastoral Holding as a pastoral lease.”

“With the return of this land, we are closing a chapter of history and building a joint approach to conservation, as well as forming a strong working relationship with Traditional Owners.”

The Premier said the Government would provide support to the Wik Mungan People, assisting them to pursue their plans for sustainable economic and cultural activities for their land at Archer Bend.

“We’re providing this support because we believe Aboriginal people need real economic and social futures and we want to assist to make them economically self -sufficient and to actually help the leaders take their communities forward.” Premier Newman said.

About 32,200 ha of the Archer Bend revocation area is the subject of a conservation agreement between the Land Trust and the Government and will shortly be declared the Yuukingga Nature Refuge.

Premier Newman thanked the Wik Mungkan, Ayapathu and Southern Kaanju People as well as their representatives, Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation and the Cape York Land Council, for their commitment and hard work in arriving at today’s historic outcome.

“The Queensland Government is committed to continuing to work with Traditional Owners and others with a strong interest in future tenure arrangements in the Cape York Peninsula region, including negotiating the granting of title and the joint management of existing national parks.” Premier Newman said.

Premier Newman said that following today’s handover a total of about 1,957,350 ha of Cape York Peninsula land had been transferred to Aboriginal ownership, of which approximately 1,253,502 ha were jointly managed with Traditional Owners as national parks.


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