The Tweed Byron Aboriginal Land Council has won a land title claim over Lot 490, the last remaining piece of undeveloped Crown Land at the coastal village of Kingscliff.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest announced the finalisation of the claim on the 26ha coastal lot on Monday, following an investigation by Lands and Natural Resources minister Niall Blair, whose department concluded the Crown Land was claimable in accordance with S36 of the Aboriginal Lands Rights Act 1983.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest said once the property was transferred to the Tweed Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council it would be up to the Land Council to decide on the future of the site.
“The claim was granted over both lots within Lot 490, including the area that had been proposed for tourism development,” Mr Provest said.
“The investigation found the fact that the land had been vested in Government Property NSW did not affect the land being claimable under the Act as the date that the claim was lodged was prior to the land being vested.”
Mr Provest said he was pleased the issue had finally been resolved.
“I’ve always respected the rights of the local Indigenous people and supported them in their endeavours and I’m pleased there has been a successful result for them,” Mr Provest said.
Aboriginal Affairs minister Leslie Williams, who recently met with the TBALC to discuss the issue, welcomed the decision.
“This decision is welcome as the land claims process exists as a compensatory measure to provide economic, social and cultural benefit to Aboriginal communities,” Ms Williams said.
Lot 490 spokesperson Jerry Cornford said the group was unsure what plans the Tweed Byron Aboriginal Land Council had for Lot 490 and urged elders to commit to turning the land into a national park.
“The majority of the Aboriginal people in the area that we have spoken to appear to favour leaving the land as it is, as some sort of recreational park,” Mr Cornford said.
“We hope that Tweed Byron Aboriginal Land Council share the same views as Save Lot 490 for the future of the land, which is not to have any commercial development on there.
“It needs a plan of management, because just turning it into a regional park doesn’t stop it from being developed by the State Government.”
Mr Cornford said he hoped the Tweed Byron Aboriginal Land Council would take into consideration a petition signed by 16,000 asking for the land to be preserved as a park.
North Coast Greens MP and spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs and Crown Lands Jan Barham had called on the State Government in October to urgently process the Lot 490 land claim, which was in the queue with a backlog of over 10,000 other claims.