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Mabo Day celebrations open to south east Queenslanders on June 3

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission

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Mabo Day celebrations open to South East Queenslanders on June 3


People wanting to attend Mabo Day celebrations tomorrow can do so at the Jimbelunga Nursing Home, 259 Riverhills Road, in Eagleby, Robbie Williams, the ATSIC Commissioner for Queensland Metropolitan Zone, said today.

June 3 is the 11th anniversary of the historic Mabo decision by the High Court.

Mabo Day at Jimbelunga runs from 9.00am to 4.00 pm and includes a flag raising ceremony, displays, guest speakers and performances by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers.

Cmr Williams said the celebrations at Jimbelunga Nursing Home have been organised by the Wagga Dance Group as a major part of Reconciliation Week activities in South East Queensland.

He urged the wider community as well as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to attend.

The 1967 referendum and the High Court’s Mabo decision, are two of the most important events in this country’s history for both Indigenous people and for many other Australians, he said.

“Both results inspired great hope and held much promise, for many Australians, particularly Indigenous people.

“Yet nearly four decades on from the referendum, and a decade after Mabo, both black and white have every right to be disappointed with what governments have done with that trust and to that promise.”

Now in its eighth year in power, the current Federal government’s record on Reconciliation and in Aboriginal Affairs generally, is poor.

“Like Reconciliation,” he said, “Native Title is at the cross roads in this country.

“For us it has turned out to be a mixed blessing.

“The native title we see played out in the Courts today is limited and mean-spirited.

“It is not a child born of the Mabo decision.

“Native Title is vulnerable to adverse decisions by the Courts and to the legislative whim of governments.

“Uncertainty, confusion, delay and frustration, and very high costs, are the hallmarks of the native

title processes in Australia today. Our native title bodies are chronically under funded and therefore the least equipped compared with other major players.

“This means the only rights that are lost as a consequence are Indigenous rights. There is now an ever increasing gap in Australia between native title law and justice.”

He said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will use Mabo Day to renew calls to the Federal Government to reconsider the native title regime.

“It’s now time to negotiate a comprehensive national land settlement We are ready to negotiate changes to the Native Title Act that recapture the spirit of Mabo and make native title meaningful.

“We intend to explore strategic alliances with other stakeholders, including State, Territory and local governments and industry, to do this,” he said.

Media Contact: Cmr Robbie Williams, mobile 0427 034 446 Further Information on Mabo Day activities at Jimbelunga: ATSIC Councillor Steve Mam at the Wagga Dance Group, 07 32752055.