Historic land claim victory for Mithaka people

Issue 
Windorah, south-west Queensland, October 27.

Thirteen years after launching their land claim, the Mithaka people of south-west Queensland were granted native title over more than 33,800 square kilometres of their land and waters on October 27.

This is one of the largest successful native title determinations in Queensland history: the claim area covers land and waters in the Diamantina and Barcoo shires, and in the expansive Channel Country of outback Queensland.

Mithaka elder Scott Gorringe, one of the applicants, said: “This achievement now presents Mithaka with a strong social and economic footing from which to continue our cultural obligations and responsibilities, and it strongly positions Mithaka at the table with decision makers on protection and development of this country.

“[It] presents a time of renewal for Mithaka, [we] can now pursue the dreams and aspirations of our people while remaining connected to our obligations to each other, and to country.”

The Mithaka people had been fighting against coal seam gas companies, who held exploration leases over roughly one third of the original land claim area of 50,000 square kilometres.

The Brisbane Times reported on December 4 that Gorringe said: “There is strong agreement that we don't want coal seam gas or shale gas operations anywhere near that country or anywhere near those flood plains.”

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