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NPAACT Home > News Items > Gulaga-Biamanga hand-back celebration will be huge

Gulaga-Biamanga hand-back celebration will be huge

03-April-2006


It is likely to be one of the biggest events of the decade on the Far South Coast when the NSW Environment Minister, Bob Debus, comes to Tilba Tilba next month to formally hand over what are today known as Gulaga and Biamanga National Parks to the Aboriginal community.

 

They are expected to come in their thousands to witness what will be a significant event in modern Australian history and a big step forward for reconciliation.

 

After two years of negotiations the State Government, the Aboriginal Owners and Local Aboriginal Land Councils have reached an agreement on the conditions under which these two parks will be leased by the State Government for use as national parks. This has paved the way for the freehold title to these lands to be given back to the Aboriginal community.

 

To mark the occasion the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the Aboriginal Owners have been developing plans for a formal handback ceremony, which will be held on May 6.

 

Head of the NSW National parks and Wildlife service, Dr Tony Fleming, said today that he was looking forward to the event.

 

“Undeniably this will be an historic occasion and one in which I will be very proud to be involved.

 

“The return of these lands to the Aboriginal owners is just and right and has been a long time coming.

 

“It is a recognition in law that these lands have a deep spiritual and cultural significance for all Aboriginal people and belongs in their hands.

 

“While they will continue to be managed as national parks, these lands can now be managed under a joint board of management with majority Aboriginal owner representation.

 

“It is proper that we mark this chapter in our history with a formal handback ceremony followed by a wholehearted celebration in which the entire community can be involved.

 

“I would like to invite all members of the community, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, to join us on the day as this will be an opportunity for everyone to show their support for the reconciliation process,” Dr Fleming said.

 

The Gulaga-Biamanga handback ceremony will be held at the Tilba Tilba Sportsground (opposite Foxglove Spires Gardens at Tilba Tilba) beginning at 10am.

 

Organisers promise a huge day of music, food and celebration. Food stalls will be set up and the party is likely to continue till late in the night.

 

For more details people can contact the Narooma office of the NPWS on 44762888

 

 

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