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Media release


17 September 2001

Premier and Trade, Peter Beattie


Cape York Agreement is a Framework for the Future

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie today signed the historic Cape York Heads of Agreement committing the Queensland Government to working with local people and organisations to resolve land use and conservation issues.

"My Government has repeatedly demonstrated that the best way to resolve Native Title, land use and conservation issues is by working closely together to negotiate outcomes that will work on the ground," said Mr Beattie.

"It also provides a framework for the future.

"Cape York is a unique place and requires a unique approach to deliver certainty for the communities, economic rewards and conservation outcomes. This agreement is the blue print for that.

"Combined with the work we are doing through Cape York Partnerships and the Cape York Peninsula 2010 process, the Heads of Agreement provides a framework for the stakeholders to resolve competing interests in a spirit of cooperation.

"The original parties to this agreement, representing Aboriginal, Pastoral and Conservation interests had the foresight to get together in 1996.

"I said in 1997 as Opposition Leader that the key to future success, not only in this region, but wherever native title is an issue, is finding and developing the common ground and goodwill between indigenous and non-indigenous residents and conservation and development interests.

"Unfortunately, the Coalition let it wither on the vine. Since Labor came to office in 1998, we have been working away to breathe new life into the agreement.

"Today is a major step forward in achieving agreement on a sustainable future for Cape York.

"Like the resolution of Native Title for the Mining industry and the South East Queensland Forest Agreement, the Cape York Heads of Agreement shows that working with people was the best way to get results.

"Cape York is a special and remote part of Queensland and Government has an obligation to make sure that residents have economic and lifestyle opportunities that do not threaten the high conservation values of the region - the very nature of what makes it so special.

"A key element is the adherence to the CYPLUS requirement to assess the regional, national and international environmental and cultural significance of the region.

"This will ensure that one of the last wilderness frontiers of this nation is properly protected for future generations.

"The comprehensive approach, which we developed in Opposition, also recognises the ongoing occupation of the Cape by traditional owners, their legal rights and their future participation in the development and wealth of their region.

"And the Agreement will provide for tenure upgrades of pastoral properties in the Cape to give added certainty to the industry.

"The people of the Cape showed great commitment to working together through the CYPLUS process, and it is incumbent on Government to seize the opportunity offered by this consensus."

Media contact: Steve Keating 07 3224 4500

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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