The National Native Title Council (NNTC) congratulated the Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional Owners on commencing their settlement agreement with the Victorian Coalition government, celebrated on country in Bendigo at a special ceremony last Friday.
“This is the first settlement in Victoria to be reached by negotiation between the State and the People,” said NNTC Chief Executive Officer, Brian Wyatt. “It shows the spirit of collaboration in which native title agreements can be reached to provide positive outcomes for all parties concerned rather than being litigated through the Courts.
“Native Title Services Victoria and the Victorian Coalition Government have both showed significant leadership on this issue,” said Mr Wyatt. “All players should be congratulated for their positive approach to settling native title, providing economic opportunity for the Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional Owners and a sustainable future for many generations to come.
“The Agreement signals a new permanent relationship between the Dja Dja Wurrung and the Victorian Government and provides certainty for all stakeholders with interest in land.
“The Dja Dja Wurrung Traditional Owners will now have a real say in the management of Country. It opens the door for joint management negotiations for six parks and reserves and provides the framework for the protection of cultural heritage,” said Mr Wyatt.
“The NNTC would particularly like to acknowledge the work of Mr Graham Atkinson for his tireless efforts in striving for the recognition of native title rights and interests for Victorian Traditional Owners as well as other Board members and staff of Native Title Services Victoria,” said Mr Wyatt.
“The struggle to gain recognition of traditional lands is a very difficult and onerous process, but the Dja Dja Wurrung Settlement Agreement shows that positive outcomes can be achieved not only for the benefit of Traditional Owners but for all Australians”.
“Native Title Representative Bodies and Native Title Service Providers across the country work hard to ensure that native title claimants can get the best possible outcome for their communities and Friday’s celebration reflects the ongoing efforts and reward for all those that work in the native title sector”.
The NNTC is the peak body for native title representative bodies and service providers.