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Northern Territory Aboriginal land rights



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FOR PRESS

NO RTHEIhT TE;. IT0' IY-ABORI GTiIAL LAND RIGHTS

( Statement by the Minister for the

Interior, the Honorable P P J.NN Tixon,M.P. )

Darwin today-The Minister for the Interior, .Ir Peter Nixon,

today urged that the question of land rights for Aboriginals

be considered in a wider context than the emotional -,)lane

on which it is frequently presented.

He said .-- ?The Government is in favor of Aboriginals

gaining title to land but believes that this should be under

the land tenure system which applies to the rest of the

community and under conditions which will give them real

prospects of improving their position in life.

'The Government's aim is to ensure in the most

effective way possible that all of the opportunities which

the Australian community offers for a full and satisfying

life are open to every Aboriginal and that all Aboriginals

are equipped to take advantage of those opportunities in the

way which most appeals to them.

"Singling out the issue of land rights and pressing

for areas of land to be granted to groups of Aboriginals in

remote places would not serve this purpose. On the contrary, j

we could end up Frith a series of depressed Aboriginal

communities ties, to a form of sub standard living with a

barmier between them and the rest of the Australian communityP

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U

2.

Separatism and segregation of Aboriginals would

create here _!-)roblerfls now being faced in other countries.

The Aboriginals in the Northern Territory are not

deprived of land rights .A substantial part of the Territory

---nearly one--fifth---had been set aside by reservation for

the use and enjoyment of Aboriginals

"Government efforts are 'being concentrated on the

best way of establishing Aboriginals on the land in econor n—

is areas.

This is 'being done by an exa mination of resources of

reserves to assess the opportunity for development and land

settlement.

"Legislation to provide for titles of land on

reserves to be granted to Aboriginals is at present before

the Legislative Council for the Northern Territoiyy.Funds

will come from royalties for mining and forestry projects

on reserves which are paid to a special trust fund to

assist Aboriginals.Also the Prime Piinister has announced

that a special fund will be set up to lDrovide capital

assistance for Aboriginal enterprises.

i7 As further land is required, Aboriginals will be

given opportunity to obtain economic blocks.` ire Aboriginals'

future in the Northern Territory is not a bleak prospect--

it is a prospect of great promise.

"Government policies are directed towards the objective

of the assimilation of Aboriginal Australians as fully

effective members of a single Australian society. r^

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3.

The Government wishes to avoid measures which are

likely to set Aboriginal citizens Permanently apart from

other Australians through having their development based on

seperate or different standards

"Demands for land grants built up from protests with

only vague generalisations about intended use,and with no

thought about hoerthe people could live at a reasonable

standard and what opportunity there is for the children,

will be detrimental to Aboriginals.

"So far as the claim made on behalf of some of the

Gurind ji tribe in the Territory for rights to traditional

land is concerned,it is by no means clear that the Aborig-inals themselves had in mind an area of 500 square miles on

which. to run their o,-in cattle station.

?'They ;.sere asking for a residential area where they and their :families could live with possibly the opportunity

to run a contract droving and mustering business if any of

them so wished.

The Government, has answered this p

roposal by agree-

ing to establish a residential area on Crown land at stave

Hill where facilities for education and medical care of

Aboriginals in the area have been established for some Team

and to provide land to run horses if any of the people set

ups as contract musterers and drovers.

In time this residential area, will be developed as

a ,o'in to serve the needs of all the people in this part

of the Territory.

d

a

`Neither Tattie Creek nor the site for the township is

known to contain sites which. are of s^Decial sacred

significance.

As previously announced,a r angemen ts are being mace

to ensure that Aboriginals who have been living; at ]attie

Creek will not be disturbed in their occupancy should they

:Tish to remain there .The laws of the Norther n Territory

also protect the rights of Aboriginals Who wish to camp,

roam or hunt anywhere on the pastoral properties in the

Northern Territory.

'There are perhaps 130,000 reo_`ple of Aboriginal

descent in ii s country-there are about 20,000 full-blood

Aboriginals in the Territory.A signi ficant proportion of

people of Aboriginal descent are living ancL making their

own way in the community withou t- s p ecial assistance.

The majooi ty, horrever,neeci some form of assistance

and guidance.They all have a legitimate claim to particip-

ate in this assistance-no one group has a greater right

than the rernainder. , hatever is done for one must be

capable of application and be applied to all who might

seek the same help.

17Sorne Aboriginals will find their future as land-owners.Others will choose to follow a different vocation.

The Government's ap::roach is that those who ,.rant to take

up land and work it in the sane way as other Australians

do should be asssisted to secure land_ under normal titles.

Those who ~.rant to find their future in other occupations

should also be assisted where necessary.

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5.

"Lana rights should be regarded not as an end in

themselves but a means to an end.

' ?Tlze ultimate end the Government seeks is full

1aarticipation by Aboriginals w i Lh other Australians in the

life of a single Australian community.

...bOo:.. 9/8/68.