Aborigines claim Cape York land


Aborigines claim Cape York land

By Philippa Stanford

BRISBANE — A furore broke out in Queensland when it was discovered that Aborigines are seeking more than 60 million hectares of Cape York land (including the proposed Cape York space base site) after a state government pledge to enact land rights legislation.

The Goss government plan to enact land rights legislation by the end of the year has raised opposition from mining, industry and rural groups. Opposition leader Russell Cooper argues that the claim would spell the end of the space base.

Cape York Land Council spokesperson Noel Pearson said the protection of sacred sites and traditional lands was more important than the proposed $350 million space base.

"The protection of those sites and the maintenance of Aboriginal people's relationship with the land has got to be our first priority over and above considerations such as the space base", he said. "The negative impact on sacred sites that a space base would have is something we're not willing to accept."