2015 PCCC Ltd Summit Report
Port Curtis Coral Coast Native title claim group
The traditional owners of the Port Curtis Coral Coast region are the Byellee, Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang and Bunda peoples in South Queensland, from the Gladstone, Bundaberg, near the coast, to Monto and western areas. The PCCC native title claim area covers approximately 19,583 kilometres and a sea area of 26,636 kilometres. The area has various minerals and includes Gladstone is the busiest coal port in Australia.
The PCCC Native Title Applicants (QC01/29) and Queensland South Native Title services are currently in negotiations with the Queensland Government to finalise the native title determination for the claim area.
After the introduction of the Native Title Act (Cth) 1993, by the Commonwealth Government in respect to the historic Mabo High Court decision recognizing Native Title, as a legitimate form of land tenure in Australia.
There was naturally enormous enthusiasm amongst Aboriginal groups to lodge Native Title claims in pursuit of recognition of people for country, increased participation in land management by Aboriginal groups, and the right to claim legally defined claimable land, (in Queensland this usually meant Unallocated State Land (USL)), which essentially was land where native title had not been extinguished by a valid act of the Parliament (Government).
In the central Queensland area, Native Title Claimant Applications were lodged and registered by the NNTT during the 1990s, by the Byellee, Gooreng Gooreng #1 and #2, Gurang and Taribelang Bunda peoples, during the period after the NTA became operational. The geographical areas of some of these historic claims overlapped and, in some cases had identified the same or similar Apical ancestors, and also included significant areas of sea country. There was also at that time limited credible Anthropological research undertaken in respect of a wider whole of country claim.
On 5 April 2001, after many years of (largely unsuccessful) mediation through the NNTT and Federal Court processes, an ultimatum was delivered by Federal Court Deputy Registrar David Robson, to the respective claims’ Applicants and legal representatives. The ultimatum was, amalgamate the individual claims into a collective claim and exclude any sea country component, or face the prospect of being struck out as individual claims by the Federal Court.
The ultimatum also required amendment of the PCCC claim area, to eliminate existing overlaps with the Durambul and Wakka Wakka native title claims and reduce the sea country component of the claim.
The Durambul overlap was described as a “technical” overlap, and did not create any problems.
However, the Wakka Wakka overlap was and remains problematic, as many members of the PCCC have historically asserted and still to this day, assert that the reduction of the western area of the PCCC native title claim, particularly around Eidsvold conceded core Gooreng Gooreng country. At the time the NTRBs (GLC and later QSNTS) agreed that no exclusive Wakka Wakka native title claim would be lodged over the disputed area would be lodged until more comprehensive Anthropological research was done and discussed with the affected family groups.
It was a take or leave it “offer”, and whilst the majority of the Applicants were gravely concerned at the prospect of losing their right to pursue the their individual groups’ native title claim, the prospect of having no native title claim at all, virtually scared/forced all the Applicants to begrudgingly accept the amalgamation into the single claim, that has now become the Port Curtis Coral Coast native title claim.
Subsequent to the Federal Court orders, the Applicants of the old native title claims executed a Memorandum of Understanding, which set out some basic principles around how to advance the new PCCC native title claim. Terms of the MOU included,
- recognition that some (group) members of the new claim had exclusive possession areas within the new claim area;
- that all groups had a right to participate in ongoing discussion, consultation and negotiations in relation to advancing the PCCC claim;
- that there was no concession by any group that traditional rights asserted by individual before the new claim would be changed;
- agreement to work together on behalf of all members of the new PCCC native title claim group
- negotiating ILUAs and other agreements subject to the provisions of the Native Title Act, and the authorization of the whole PCCC claim group
There is anecdotal evidence of this MOU operating in co-operative manner , namely the registration of the Raising of the Awoonga Dam ILUA,( west of Gladstone), on 16/03/2001, which necessitated the involvement and authorization of the Byellee, Gooreng Gooreng and Gurang native title claimant groups.
There was also a beneficial agreement executed (not a registered ILUA) in relation to the Paradise Dam project west of Bundaberg, which involved the Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang and Taribelang Bunda native title claim groups. In both those instances, Taribelang Bunda (Awoonga Dam) and Byellee (Paradise Dam) chose not to participate in direct negotiations as the area impacted was not in their core country.
How We Became PCCC
Background to the formation and registration of the PCCC Native Title Claimant Application, and the roles and responsibilities of PCCC entities.
What Programs are Available
Upcoming programs and forms to help the PCCC People, including such things as Funeral, Education and Elderly Assistance.