Kabi Kabi granted rights of recognition

Historic Native Title determination over Sunshine Coast for Kabi Kabi people

By Sonia Isaacs

IN a landmark decision last week, Native Title over a substantial portion of the Sunshine Coast was determined for the Kabi Kabi people. This ruling marks two significant firsts: recognition of native title in a heavily urbanised area on Australia’s East Coast, and the first instance in South-East Queensland where the right to take resources is acknowledged without constraints. On June 17, the Federal judge, Honourable Justice Collier granted Native Title recognition to the Kabi Kabi people, over an expanse of more than 365,000 hectares of land and waters.
This area includes the Glass House Mountains, including Coonowrin, Tibrogargan, Beerwah, and Ngungun, and encompasses Elimbah Creek catchment area, Sandstone Point, Bribie Island, extending to Noosa and Gympie, and west past the Mary River to Nambour, Jimna, and the Burnett and Coast Ranges.
Over 300,000 Queenslanders reside in the area officially recognised as Kabi Kabi country.
A spokesperson for Queensland South Native Title Services (QSNTS) told GC&M News that the ruling had sparked widespread interest. QSNTS were keen to address misinformation, especially concerns around private land use and public access to the Glass House Mountains, tracks, parks, and beaches within the claim area.
“The Kabi Kabi people have been granted non-exclusive native title rights, which do not grant them the authority to exclude others,” the QSNTS spokesperson clarified.
“There is no right of exclusive possession recognised in this determination.
“The Kabi Kabi people cannot control access to the land.”
Native title recognises pre-colonial rights and interests. Concerning the ‘right to take resources for any purpose,’ the QSNTS spokesperson explained that the law now acknowledges the Kabi Kabi people’s historical right to utilise their natural resources for any necessary purpose.
“The laws of Australia still ensure that personal property is excluded from this right,” they said
“The determination recognises the actual right – the right to use resources for any purpose.
“The natural resources referred to include those used in daily life, such as ochre, timber for building shelters or making tools, and stone for tools or implements. In the context of native title, ‘resources’ do not extend to minerals and energy resources.”
Check out our native title fact sheet on p13