Premier Steven Marshall is attending a significant event in Whyalla today which marks the Barngarla People’s determination of native title formally coming into effect.
The Premier paid his respects to the Barngarla Traditional Owners, and thanked them for giving him the honour of participating in this very special day of recognition.
“Today we celebrate the grant of Native Title to the Barngarla. A recognition that long before European settlement, much of the land that became known as Eyre Peninsula was occupied by Barngarla People,” said Premier Steven Marshall.
“While we celebrate the grant of Native Title to the Barngarla, we also think today of those Barngarla People who worked so hard to secure Native Title, but who did not live to see the Court’s recognition of their traditional land.
“It was a very long process. The claim was first lodged with the National Native Title Tribunal in 1996, and more than two years later it came before the Federal Court, with judgment not given for another 17 years.
”I congratulate the Barngarla People, because despite their challenges, they were patient and persevered to secure the recognition that they have always known to be theirs: that this is their land.
“To put it into perspective, more than 50,000 South Australians live within the boundaries of the Barngarla Native Title determination area, making it one of the most highly populated native title areas in our State.”
While paying his respects to the Barngarla People, the Premier said that there is much more that the South Australian Government can do to help overcome Indigenous disadvantage.
“I want to ensure an across government focus on the actions we can take together to encourage greater aboriginal economic participation and improve the delivery of key services,” said Premier Marshall.
“That is why as Premier, I have taken responsibility for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation.
“I’m not one to pretend that government can solve all problems, but I do believe we can do much better in providing some achievable and measurable outcomes for our Aboriginal communities.
“In celebrating your Native Title, I look forward to the government being able to work with you to ensure its promise and potential truly benefit the Barngarla People.”
A spokesperson for the Board of the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation said:
“This recognition of native title is a landmark moment and marks a new chapter in the story of the Barngarla people. After 20 years of legal proceedings, we now have recognition of our native title.
“We acknowledge those who were part of the journey but are no longer with us.
“Barngarla are excited to see the positive effects arising from our native title coming into effect.
“The Barngarla community welcome greater engagement with the all those in the region.”