Mirrar people win 21-year battle for Jabiru

Release Date: 
9 November 2018
Media release

The Mirrar people have won native title recognition over the Jabiru area of the Northern Territory, bringing to an end one of the longest running native title claims in Australia’s history.

An application for native title recognition of the area was filed in the Federal Court on 1 September 1997.

More than 20 years on, Minister Scullion said it brought him immense joy to see the historic final determination go the way of the land’s traditional owners.

“This is a hard-fought, deserved outcome for the Mirrar people,” Minister Scullion said. “They are the true owners of the lands in the north of the Northern Territory.

“This final determination recognises the native title rights and interests of the Mirarr Gundjeihmi, Mirarr Urningangk, and Mirarr Mengerrdji groups.

“Today’s outcome is the right one. The Mirrar people know that and we know that. Their persistence and determination has paid off.”

Jabiru is a small town located in the Kakadu National Park. It is approximately 250 kilometres south-east of Darwin.

The determination area covers approximately 1.677 square kilometres of land and covers parts of the Jabiru township as well as areas surrounding the town.

Jabiru was established in 1982 to service the needs of the nearby Ranger uranium mine and provide accommodation for workers.

“Jabiru is very much a part of the fabric of the Top End,” Minister Scullion said. “It is a stunning part of the country – located within the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park.

“I congratulate everyone who has worked on this claim over the years, and acknowledge the elders who have passed away while the claim has been prosecuted.”

Across Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have had native title claims finalised over approximately 40 per cent of land. The Australian Government is committed to seeing all outstanding claims resolved as soon as possible.

The Morrison Government is also investing more than $20 million to build capacity in Prescribed Bodies Corporate so that Native Title holders can realise the economic, cultural and social aspirations for their land.