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Origin great Sam Backo celebrates native title ruling


Traditional owners are celebrating a native title ruling over a stretch of 185,000 hectares in the Herbert River Valley in North Queensland allowing them to benefit culturally and economically.

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The Federal Court has formally recognised the Warrgamay People’s rights under native title cover an area from Lucinda on the coast, up to and along the Seaview Range and into Girringun National Park.

Among the traditional owners are former Kangaroo and Queensland rugby league State of Origin great Sam Backo, who now lives in Halifax.

“This always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land,” he said.

“This determination will give us the opportunity to hopefully benefit not only traditionally and culturally but also economically from our country. ”

For 76-year-old traditional owner Charlie Morganson, it’s about recognition.

“Australians will finally know that this is Warrgamay Country and who the people are: our names and that we belong to this country,” he said.

“It means that the Elders that aren’t here now; that their hard work has paid off and we know that they are with us and that they would be very happy.

“The future generations will know that our people fought for this recognition and they should be proud of it.”

Resources Minister Scott Stewart says the Warrgamay People have cared for this country for generations and the court decision recognises a long and enduring connection to country.

“This means the Warrgamay people can hunt, fish, gather, conduct ceremonies, teach and maintain places of importance on country,” he said.

Native title is recognised over about 491,850 square kilometres of land in Queensland, with claims to another 428,150 square kilometres currently subject to native title claims.

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