Celebrating 10 years since the Blue Mud Bay decision

Release Date: 
30 July 2018
Media release

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion today joined traditional owners in East Arnhem Land to mark the 10th anniversary of the High Court’s historic Blue Mud Bay decision.

“Today we reflect on the significance of the High Court’s decision and look to a future where Aboriginal people are able to use their rights to support economic development and a better future,” said Minister Scullion.  

“I am committed to supporting the resolution of unresolved land claims to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are recognised for their ownership of country, and can realise its economic value, and to ensure that all Territorians have certainty about the future use of their land.

Since 2008, there have been protracted negotiations between the Northern Territory Government and the Northern Land Council regarding commercial and recreational access to the waters overlying existing Aboriginal land. 

“Last year the Turnbull Government invested $7.5 million to support traditional owners in the Northern Land Council region to finalise land claims affected by the Blue Mud Bay decision.

“At that time I called on the Chief Minister, the Hon Michael Gunner MLA, to step up and work with the Northern Land Council but sadly we are yet to see any real action from the Chief Minister.

“Therefore, I ask the Chief Minister again, when will the Northern Territory Government make progress towards providing certainty and enable the economic opportunities for all Territorians?

“The Turnbull Government is committed to working with Indigenous Australians including to delivering economic benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who have rights and access to land and sea.

“The Turnbull Government is committed to supporting the Baniyala Nimbarrki Land Authority Aboriginal Corporation’s application seeking a delegation of leasing functions from the Northern Land Council.

“I recognise the Yolngu peoples’ role over many generations in the recognition of Indigenous land and sea rights, and acknowledge elders who have passed away during this time, including the late Reverend Dr Gawarrin Gumana AO who was a driving force behind the Blue Mud Bay decision,” Minister Scullion said today.