Victory for Tweed/Byron LALC at Kingscliff

Victory for Tweed/Byron LALC at Kingscliff

Members of the Tweed/Byron Local Aboriginal Land Council on the State’s North Coast are celebrating following the NSW Government’s return of 40 hectares of coastal land just south of Kingscliff.

Tweed/Byron LALC CEO Leweena Williams said the Land Council was “incredibly thrilled” that the land, known locally as Lot 490, had been returned to Aboriginal people.

In a ceremony held at Kingscliff, NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Leslie Williams handed over the title deeds to the LALC.

Leweena said a number of potential uses have been suggested for the site, including a public recreational reserve, holiday caravan park or National Park.

Land Council members would carefully consider all proposals but would not be intimidated into a decision.

“Our members will consider a report on culturally significant sites within the area to help them decide what they want to do with the land.

“All options suggested by the community for the site will be considered, but it’s only fair that Aboriginal people – who were the original custodians of the area and are once again its legal owners – have the final say on what should be done with the land,” Leweena said

NSWALC Councillor for North Coast Tina Williams said the claim had to clear a number of political hurdles in order to be granted.

“This land claim is a significant win for the Tweed/Byron Land Council. It’s great that the Government has recognised the importance of this claim and granted title back to its original custodians.

“Now the members of the Land Council will have the right to control this beautiful asset and respectfully manage it in a way that benefits the community,” Cr Williams said.

In 2014 the then Crown Lands Minister, Kevin Humphries tried to introduce legislation that would have extinguished the claim and hundreds of others. In late 2015, Labor sought to have the land converted into a National Park before the claim was resolved.

“Fortunately, neither of these attempts succeeded and the Tweed/Byron LALC members have finally had their land returned,” Cr Williams said.

“Now the members of the Land Council will have the right to control this beautiful asset and respectfully manage it in a way that benefits the community,” Cr Williams said.

National Party State Member for Tweed Geoff Provest told local media that the handing over of the title deeds was “the end of a saga and the beginning of a beautiful future.”

“I think our land council worked extremely hard and has a vision for the future, for their own people as well as the wider community. I have full faith in the custodianship and their ability to manage the future of that land,” he said.

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