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Uluru (Ayers Rock - Mount Olga) National park

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Senator the Hon. E M. Chaney


The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Senator Fred Chaney, said today that he was particularly concerned at reports appearing in the press asserting that the Commonwealth had "stolen the legal title" to Ayers Rock and the Olgas to prevent an Aboriginal land claim being made by the Central Land Council.

. Senator Chaney said that it was necessary for the facts to be laid out before the public so that it could be seen by those interested that the National Park had been declared in consultation with the Central Land Council and the traditional

land owners and that no action was taken by the Commonwealth in relation to the Park which was not known to the Central Land Council. .

The facts are that a park has been in existence since 1958 under Territory legislation. On the 7 September 1976 a notice of intention was issued seeking public comment on the proposal to declare the Ayers Rock Mount Olga Park area a National Park under the National Parks and Wild Life

Conservation Act. This notice appeared in the Government Gazette and major newspapers throughout the country. No objection was received from the Central Land Council upon the proposal to establish the National Park.

On the 10 January 1977 a meeting was held, between the Central Land Council, traditional land owners, the Northern Territory reserves Board, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and the Australian National Parks and Wild Life Service to discuss the establishment of the National Park. The Central

Land Council and the traditional owners agreed with the concept of the establishment of a National Park under the Federal Legislation but indicated that they wished to lay claim to areas adjoining the proposed National Park including an area known as the Sedementaries. As a result of this meeting'the Commonwealth delcared the National Park on the 24 May 1977 but excluded from the National Park that area known asT the

Sedementaries so that an Aboriginal claim could proceed in respect of that area. This claim is currently being heard.

The freeze which the Central Land Council asserts has been broken by the Commonwealth was explained by Mr. Viner on 2 November 1976. Mr. Viner said then in a statement to the House of Representatives:-


"that all those claims of which notice had been given, or those claims which had been lodged, would be protected in the sense that there would be no alienation prior to determination of those claims. All that

the 2 land councils need to do is give notice of intention to make claims in respect of areas of vacant Crown land."

The Central Land Council did not lodge a claim over the Uluru National Park until January 1979, 2 years after the first notice of intention to proclaim the Park had been issued. Furthermore at no time did the Council .

indicate an intention to lodge a claim before January 1979.

The Central Land Council and the traditional owners, following proclamation of the NationalPark of 1977, have been consulted in the preparation of the plan of management for the Park and have indicated approval in principle to a draft of a plan of management. . ~

Senator Chaney said he regretted that there had been suggestions of bad faith on the part of the Commonwealth. We have proceeded at all times in consultation with interested aboriginals and the Central Land Council. . · . . . ·

Canberra, A.C.T.

5 April 1979 79/25