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Historic Queensland Homelands Forum reaffirms right to return to country as top priority for all governments.

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Media Release

Historic Queensland Homelands Forum reaffirms right to return to country as top priority for all governments


10 November 2000


The rights and needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Queensland to move back to their land, was today overwhelmingly endorsed at a historic meeting of Indigenous representatives and leaders from around Queensland, as an urgent and top priority for all governments.

The meeting, which represents the state-wide views of more than 120 traditional, historical, community and ATSIC elected representatives, has called for the Federal Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Senator Herron, and the ATSIC Board to disband the Indigenous Land Corporation, and hand the ILC’s funds and functions to ATSIC and its Regional Councils.

ATSIC Commissioner for North Queensland, Jenny Pryor, who organised the forum, said there was overwhelming dissatisfaction with the ILC from across the State.

Other key resolutions passed by the delegates include:

· support for a treaty and regional agreements in Queensland by 2001 · a Queensland Homelands policy · a national public holiday in recognition of the late Dr Kumantjayi Perkins · a Queensland Land Summit involving all government agencies · and new funds to be made available by all levels of government to support the homelands movement.

The meeting also called for the Queensland government to abolish its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Board, which is appointed, and replace it with the Queensland Indigenous Leaders Forum, who are all elected representatives.

The forum passed 14 resolutions (attached) which will now be forwarded to the ATSIC Board and to State and Federal governments, for action.

Commissioner Pryor said “the forum delivered a strong and clear message from the indigenous people of Queensland to all governments on how and where they want to live.”

She said State and Federal policies, funding, resources and even understanding of the need

was “ abysmal”.

Commissioner Pryor said the forum had identified both a strong outstation and homelands movement has been under way for more than 20 years in parts of Queensland, and a new and growing range of demands from people wanting to return to country all round the state.

“But these needs are not being met and often not even on the agenda of governments, ministers or their bureaucracies.”

“The strong message today from this forum to government is not just that they must be on the agenda, but they need to be right at the top of the list, “she said.

Commissioner Pryor said “ the Federal government is sitting on a multi billion dollar budget surplus, so governments can no longer say the money is not there, because the government’s own official figures say it is there.”

She called for both the State and Federal Ministers for Aboriginal Affairs to now get commitments from their respective cabinets for new funding and programs to support the homelands movement.

“If they are not prepared to do this, and acknowledge the needs of our people, then they should step aside for a minister who will,” Commissioner Pryor said.

Media Contact: Commissioner Jenny Pryor, mobile 0419 702 533

Resolution 1

Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC)

That the Queensland Homelands Forum call on the ATSIC Board of Commissioners and the Federal Minister of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, the Hon John Herron to disband the Indigenous Land Commission and redirect all of its funds and functions to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Such funds and functions to be administered through the relevant ATSIC Regional Council programs in acquiring lands for Aboriginal people, in particularly it is intended to provide direct assistance in strategic management of such land and to address the issues of dispossessed Aboriginal people of Australia

Resolution 2

Annual Public Holiday to commemorate Dr Perkins’ life

As the federal government has given the late Dr Perkins a state funeral, this forum of a wide range of Indigenous peoples, supports the request of a public holiday annually in Dr Perkins honor as he has paved the way in Indigenous Australian Affairs.

Resolution 3


That because our Homelands lands, waters and seas were colonised without our consent in agreements or treaties, the Queensland Homelands Forum want a negotiated settlement by way of Regional Agreements or Treaties by the end of Federation Year 2001 as a step towards implementing a Queensland’s Homelands Policy.

Resolution 4

Resourcing of the Queensland Homelands Movement

That funds be made available by all levels of government to resource the Queensland Homelands movement, including but not limited to infrastructure, policies and strategic planning.

Resolution 5

ATSIC Queensland Regional Council Plans to incorporate Homelands Policies

That all as a matter of priority ATSIC Queensland Regional Councils immediately start to develop Homelands Policies which will be included as part of their Regional Council Plans.

Resolution 6

Policies and Programs for Homelands

That all levels of government develop and implement appropriate programs and policies specific to Homelands and provide equitable funding.

Resolution 7

Review ATSIC National Homelands Policy

That ATSIC review the National Homelands Policy and its restrictiveness which does not allow for self-determination in the way in which we live.

Resolution 8

Second Queensland Forum on Homelands

That this Forum invites appropriate decision-makers from all tiers of government and all relevant external agencies to attend a second Forum on Homelands which will develop a strategy for developing and supporting Homelands within Queensland.

Resolution 9

Develop Queensland State Government Policy on Homelands in partnership with ATSIC and Traditional Owners

That the Queensland State Government develop a policy on Homelands in partnership with ATSIC and Traditional Owners.

That a working party similar to that set up for negotiating the Queensland Bilateral Agreement be established to carry out this resolution.

Resolution 10

ATSIC Resourcing for Homelands

That ATSIC allocate program specific funding for Homelands, and guarantee to a percentage of NAHS funding for Traditional Owners to assist in homelands infrastructure.

Resolution 11

Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Board

That Commissioner Pryor write to Minister Judy Spence on behalf of this Forum to have the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Board abolished and give full recognition for the carriage of providing advice to the State Government be given to the Queensland Indigenous Leaders Forum.

Resolution 12

Review and Status Report on Homelands in Cape York Peninsula

That there be an audit of all existing homelands / outstations in Cape York and a review of all Homelands established in Cape York.

From this review that appropriate policies be developed for the Cape.

Resolution 13

Resourcing Homelands

That a structure be developed where people on Homelands receive maximum benefits from ATSIC programs.

Also, that ATSIC develop separate economic and development programs for Homelands.

Also, that Homelands Resource Centres to be located in more practicable geographical locations.

Resolution 14

Queensland Land Summit

That the Queensland Homelands Forum request Commissioner Pryor to approach the Department of Premiers to set up a Queensland Land Summit to explain the different types of land tenure in Queensland and the State Government’s commitment to ongoing support for management of land handed back to Indigenous people.


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