Indigenous protest against Wild River

Indigenous communities on Cape York claim they have been excluded from negotiations which could impact on their native title.

Under the Wild River Act, the Queensland Government can impose strict conservation measures and development restrictions on declared river catchments.

The listing of 13 Cape York rivers for protection has been deferred pending discussion with all stakeholders.

Last Friday night a small group of Indigenous representatives protested outside a Wilderness Society dinner saying traditional owners were offended that the society had not consulted with them on something it was so vigorously promoting.

In a leaflet, the indigenous groups say the Wild Rivers Act will impact on native title but the Wilderness Society has denied that. Spokesman Anthony Esposito blames the State Government for the delays in negotiations.

Representatives of the Cape York Land Council say their legal advice is that native title will be affected by the Act and documents obtained under Freedom of Information rules also indicate the State Government has been told it's a possibility.

The Country Hour put calls in to the office of the Minister for Natural Resources and Water but Craig Wallace was unavailable for comment today.


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