A motion put forward by the Member for Ballina, Tamara Smith MP, recognising the Arakwal Bundjalung people as the Native Title holders of areas of Byron Bay and surrounds was carried unanimously in the Legislative Assembly today.
Ms Smith said:
"This motion celebrates the historic recognition of the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung nation as the native title holders of Cape Byron and the Traditional Owners."
"This is only the second time in NSW history that native title sea rights have been recognised and I congratulate the elders and all involved in this decades long process."
"In late 1994, 3 Aboriginal elders and sisters, Aunty Lorna Kelly, Aunty Linda Vidler, and Aunty Yvonne Graham began a process that sadly they would never see realised in their lifetime. It is their children, Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren who will never forget their struggle towards and ultimate achievement of native title rights. "
Ms Smith said " It was wonderful to see Members from all political parties, including the NSW Attorney General Mark Speakman, speak today in support of this landmark decision"
"The determination sent an important message that the land was, is and always will be aboriginal land".
Ms Smith said " The words of the Arakwal sisters who started this lengthy process echoed through our House this afternoon: 'Our People, the Byron Bay Arakwal want our children, grand-children and their grandchildren to know how we once lived and also to be able to use the food from these lands. We want them to know our special places.' - Linda Vidler, Lorna Kelly, Dulcie Nichols, Byron Bay Arakwal Elders."
Contact: Kirsty Donovan (02) 6686 7522 or firstname.lastname@example.org