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Media release


26 October 2001

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (NSW) has today
welcomed the decision by the NSW Government to create a new national park
that recognises Aboriginal native title rights.

After more than seven years of consultation, the Arakwal National Park will
be officially declared this Sunday and will mark the registration of a
historic Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) for NSW native title

"The decision to recognise the native title owners of this area will have
far reaching effects for Aboriginal people involved in future native title
negotiations within NSW." Chairperson of the Many Rivers Regional Council,
Mr Jimmy Budd, said today.

The Arakwal people have been involved in discussions regarding the
establishment of a national park for many years.

The ILUA follows a process of extensive consultations with the NSW State
Government, community groups, native title claimants and the Byron Shire

tThe creation of the park recognised the traditional rights of the Arakwal
people but also demonstrated what could be achieved through proper
negotiation and consultation, ATSIC Commissioner for the NSW Eastern Zone,
Mr Des Williams said.

"This agreement was reached without the need for a lengthy, expensive and
protracted court battle. It augers well for future discussions with the
Arakwal people and the NSW Government on native title issues," he added.

The new national park will provide for the transfer of land for a cultural
centre and houses, as well as training and jobs for members of the local
Aboriginal community and a valuable recreational facility

The finalisation of the ILUA also signifies the initiation of stage two
negotiations involving the resolution of a range of native title issues for
the Arakwal people.

Contact: Jimmy Budd 0418 441 257, Des Williams 0418 494 279
Media: Grant Gilluley 0418 413 274, Phillipa McDermott 0418 467 020

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Native title and protected areas project
E-mail: The project coordinator
Mail: QCC, PO Box 12046,
George Street Post Shop, Brisbane, 4003
Ph: 07 3221 0188 Fax: 07 3229 7992