There is a rainforest for birds like the cassowary
The national park of the same name in Queensland, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988, was handed over to the people of Kuku Yalanji at a ceremony in the remote town of Bloomfield on Wednesday. The 135 million year old rainforest is rich in biodiversity and rare birds such as cassava and plants that existed during the time of the dinosaurs.
A total of 160,000 hectares of land on the Cape York Peninsula returned to the tribes after the arrival of British settlers in the late 18th century. The national park is to be managed in collaboration with the Queensland state government before Kuku Yalanji then takes full control.
Reconciliation with an ugly past
Chris Grant, who negotiated with the government on behalf of the aborigines, spoke of a “historic moment.” He announced the establishment of a foundation to create training and employment opportunities for tribal people in areas such as tourism and research.
Queensland State Environment Minister Megan Scanlan said land returns were an important step on the path to reconciliation after a “unpleasant and ugly” past. The agreement now concluded recognizes the right of indigenous peoples to “own and manage their own land, protect their culture and share it with visitors”.
According to Scanlon, the government has now transferred control of 3.8 million hectares of land in Cape York to the original natives.
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