|Between: Annie Wonga, Andrew Victor Iller, Adrian Clive Murray, Lillian Mavis Willis and Mark Raymond on behalf of the Wanyurr Majay People (APPLICANT) and
State of Queensland (FIRST RESPONDENT)and
Cairns Regional Council (SECOND RESPONDENT)
Judge: Dowsett J
Where made: Babinda, Queensland
Determination: Native title exists in the entire determination area. It consists of non-exclusive native title rights.
Native title is held by the Wanyurr Majay People.
Non-exclusive native title rights and interests that exist over land in the determination area include:
- the right of access, to be present on and move about the area;
- the right to camp and erect temporary shelters;
- the right to hunt, to fish and gather from the Determination Area and to share and exchange what is gathered for domestic purposes;
- the right to light fires for domestic cooking purposes but not for the clearing of vegetation or hunting;
- the right to conduct ceremonies;
- the right to teach the physical and spiritual attributes of the area while present in the determination area; and
- the right to look after significant cultural sites and places.
Non-exclusive water rights: In relation to the native title rights and interests in water within the determination area, the native title holders have the right to hunt, fish, gather, collect and use the water for personal, domestic and non-commercial communal purposes.
Non-native title rights and interests that exist within the determination area
These rights can be summarised as the rights and interests of the parties under the following indigenous land use agreements:
- Annie Wonga, Andrew Miller, Mark Wilson, Adrian Murray, Lilian Willis (Senior), Wanyurr Majay Aboriginal Corporation, State of Queensland and Wet Tropics Management Authority as parties to the Wanyurr Majay People Protected Areas ILUA dated 25 January 2011; and
- Annie Wonga, Andrew Miller, Mark Wilson, Adrian Murray, Lilian Willis (Senior), and Cairns Regional Council as parties to the Cairns Regional Council Wanyurr Majay People ILUA dated 19 June 2011.
- The rights and interests of the Cairns Regional Council to enter and access the Determination Area under the Local Government Act 2009 (Qld) and as owner and operator of infrastructure and facilities;
- The rights and interests of the State of Queensland in various reserves and the rights of Cairns Regional Council as trustee of the reserves and the rights and interests of the persons entitled to access the reserves.
- The rights and interests of the State of Queensland pursuant to the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld) relating to the use and management of a lot within the Determination Area.
- The rights and interests of the holders of any leases, agreements, licences or permits granted under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld);
- The rights and interests of the Wet Tropics Management Authority pursuant to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Protection and Management Act 1993 (Qld) and the Wet Tropics Management Plan 1998 (Qld) relating to the use and management of lots within the Determination Area;
- The rights and interests of the holders of any permits granted under the Wet Tropics Management Plan 1998 (Qld);
- Any other rights and interests held by the State of Queensland or Commonwealth.
Provisions Relevant to the Native Title Rights
The Wanyurr Majay Aboriginal Corporation, as the prescribed body corporate, is to perform functions required under the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) and has been registered as the native title body corporate. The native title rights and interests will take effect as soon as the registration of agreements on the Register of Indigenous Land Use Agreements occurs. The judgement will not be registered on the National Native Title Register until that condition is met. This must occur within six months before the matter is referred to the court for further directions.
The determination concerns a native title application that was lodged in 2008 by the Wanyurr Majay people for recognition of native title rights and interests over the land and waters in the area of Mt Bellenden Ker in north Queensland. The application was accepted for registration in 2009 pursuant to s66 of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth).
In total, the claim area covers around 200 square kilometres in the Babinda area, near Cairns including part of Woonoorooran National Park (Stickley, 2011).
The Wanyurr Majay People, the Wanyurr Majay Aboriginal Corporation, the Queensland Government and the Wet Tropics Management Authority have entered into an Indigenous Land Use Agreement regarding the management of Woonoorooran National Park.
Natural Resources Minister Rachel Nolan stated that the native title rights "will reaffirm the Wanyurr Majay People’s age old commitment to preserving their land and its conservation values" (Queensland Government, 2011).
The agreement was the 60th native title determination in Queensland and the 54th by consent.
Details of Judgement
The parties to the determination reached an agreement as to the terms of a determination of native title to be made in relation to the Determination Area. The court was satisfied that a determination of native title was within the power of the court.