24th anniversary of Australia's High Court Mabo decision

YESTERDAY marked the 24th anniversary of the High Court of Australia's Mabo decision, a watershed in the history of reconciliation in Australia.

Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Curtis Pitt said Mabo Day reminded us all to take time to reflect on the significance of this landmark court decision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.

"On June 3, 1992 the High Court of Australia overturned the notion of Australia being 'terra nullius' before settlement," Mr Pitt said.

"The Mabo decision, as it become known, followed a decade-long legal battle by Torres Strait Islander and Queenslander Eddie Mabo, and several others, to have their land rights and unique connection to traditional lands recognised.

"I encourage all Queenslanders to reflect upon his legacy this Mabo Day and be inspired to take steps, whether large or small, to advance the cause of reconciliation in Australia."

The Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships proudly supports Mabo Day community activities around the state including the South East, Townsville and Cairns.

Mr Pitt said the Palaszczuk Government remained committed to returning homelands and creating opportunities for employment and economic development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders. 

"Recently, the Queensland Government transferred 54,000 hectares in the south-eastern area of Cape York Peninsular to the Aboriginal Traditional Owners: The Balnggarr, Binthi, Nhirrbanh, Wundal and Wunuurr peoples," Mr Pitt said.

"The land transfer was a significant milestone which will deliver great benefits to the people of Cape York Peninsula and the local economy.

"Through The Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program my Department will continue to return ownership and management of identified lands on Cape York Peninsula to local Aboriginal people, while ensuring that outstanding environmental values are protected in national parks and nature refuges."

Mr Pitt said Mabo Day brings to a close the activities of Reconciliation Week.

"As a state, we've come together to reflect, commemorate and celebrate a number of key observance days, including commemoration of National Sorry Day (25 May) and the anniversary of the 1967 referendum on the 27th of May," Mr Pitt said.

"Acknowledging the past allows us to move forward as a state, embrace the new opportunities and ensure they are available to all".  

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