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Limmen Bight land claim granted

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The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Senator Peter Baume, announced today that the land claim to Linanen Bight in the Northern Territory would be granted to Aboriginal traditional owners.

In a statement to Federal Parliament today, the Minister said he had accepted the recommendations of the Aboriginal Land Commissioner, Mr justice Toohey.

The claim comprised a narrow strip of coastal land in the Gulf of Carpentaria adjoining the southern boundary of Arnhem Land, including several offshore islands and reefs. It involved 768 square kilometres.

Senator Baume said tile Commissioner had found that tiiere was a strong attachment by the claimants to most of the land claimed, but not to Maria Island - the largest of the offshore islands.

"I am satisfied that except for a small excision the land other than Maria Island should be granted to an Aboriginal Land Trust as recommended by the Commissioner".

"The Commissioner had commented that such a grant would be likely to result in some detriment to commercial fishermen, and to residents of the town and district of Katherine who use the rivers in the claim area for recreational or leisure purposes".

"I accept the Commissioner's suggestion that an excision of 20 hectares be provided near the mouth of the Roper River for use primarily by commercial fishermen and also by tourists and Katherine residents".

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"I shall make no decision on the precise location of the area to be excised until the Northern Territory Government, the Northern Land Council and representatives of commercial fishermen had discussed the matter and agreed on boundaries.

There are two roads on the claim area over which the Commissioner found the public has a right of way and these will be excluded from the grant as required b y .the Aboriginal Land Rights Act," Senator Baume said.

The claim is the eighth to be heard by the Aboriginal Land Commissioner under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act.

Canberra A.C.T. 12 May 19 81..