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Kuuku Ya'u People v State of Queensland [2009] FCA 679 (25 June 2009)

Binomial Name: Federal Court of Australia
Date: 25 June 2009
Sub Category:Consent Determination (Native Title Act)
The determination area comprises approximately 1980 sq km of land and water to the north of the Lockhart river on the east of the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland.
Subject Matter:Native Title
Summary Information:
Between: Deborah Hobson, Ivy Hobson, Lorraine Clarmont, Lucy Hobson, Donald Hobson and Albert Doctor on behalf of the Kuuku Ya'u People (APPLICANTS) and State of Queensland, Commonwealth of Australia, Cook Shire Council, Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council, Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Michael Clinch and William Robert Dunn (RESPONDENTS)

Judge: Greenwood J
Where made: Portland Roads, Cape York Peninsula, Queensland


Native title exists in the determination area.

Native title is held by the Kuuku Ya'u people.

The native title rights and interests that exist include the right to possess, use and enjoy the land in some areas exclusivly, and in other areas, the non-exclusive right to access the land, use the natural resources and light fires for domestic purposes, protect important sites and the non-exclusive right to be present on the sea and take resources from the sea for domestic purposes.

The non-native title rights and interests that exist include fishing licences, the rights of water authorities, the rights of the State, the rights contained in ILUAs and the public right to fish, navigate and access certain areas.

Detailed Information:
The Kuuku Ya'u People have the exclusive right to possess, occupy, use and enjoy about ten square kilometres of land within the determination area.

The Kuuku Ya'u People hold non-exclusive rights over 1970 square kilometres of land and sea. The determination area covers Portland Rocks, Rocky Island, Sandy Islet, Pigeon Island, Quoin Island National Park, Piper Islands National Park, some parts of Forbes Islands National Park and the seas surrounding these areas. The Kuuku Ya'u People's non-exclusive rights over the sea include the right to be present on and take and use natural resources for non-commercial purposes. Their non-exclusive rights over the land include the right to access and camp on the area, take, use and exchange natural resources for non-commercial purposes, maintain and protect important sites and to light fires for cultural or cooking purposes.

The non native title rights that exist in relation to the determination area include certain rights contained in the three Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) made by the native title claimants, the rights of the State of Queensland and Cook Shire Council in relation to reserves, national parks and roads, fishing licences, the rights of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, restrictions relating to shipwrecks in the area, public access rights to certain areas, the public right to fish, the public right to navigate and any other reason under the operation of the laws of the State or Commonwealth.

Public access to the following areas is still available: Forbes Island National Park, Quoin Island National Park, Piper Islands National Park (for recreation purposes), the surrounding seas over which native title exists and reserves in the area (for the purposes the reserves were created).

Three Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) were developed between the Kuuku Ya'u people and groups with other interests in the land to outline their respective rights.

Within twelve months of this decision, the Northern Kuuku Ya'u Kanthanampu Aboriginal Corporation will be established to manage the native title rights and interests of the Kuuku Ya'u people.

Greenwood J found that the parties had been represented by independent lawyers, negotiation had taken place and that the proposed orders were within the power of the court. The court was therefore able to make the consent determination.

This determination is the first recognition of native title rights over a large area of sea through agreement, rather than through litigation (Attorney-General, Media Release)

Attorney-General Robert McClelland stated, "this agreement is evidence that the native title process can be used to provide practical benefits to native title holders and I congratulate all parties for reaching a negotiated settlement over such an important area.' (Attorney-General, Media Release)

Related Entries

  • Kuuku Ya'u People's Marine Park Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA)
  • Portland Roads Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA)
  • Kuuku Ya'u People's Protected Areas Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA)
  • Organisation
  • State of Queensland - Respondent
  • Commonwealth of Australia - Respondent
  • Australian Maritime Safety Authority - Respondent
  • Cook Shire Council - Respondent
  • Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council - Respondent
  • Federal Court of Australia
  • Cape York Land Council Aboriginal Corporation
  • Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
  • Kuuku Ya'u Kanthanampu Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC
  • People
  • Michael Clinch and Robert William Dunn - Respondent
  • Deborah Hobson and others on behalf of the Kuuku Ya'u People - Native Title Claimant
  • Kuuku Ya'u People - Native Title Claimant

  • Glossary

    Consent Determination (Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)) (Australia) | Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) (Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)) (Australia)

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