Daintree returned to original owners
More than 160,000 hectares of Far North Queensland has been handed back to its traditional owners.
The Eastern Kuku Yalanji people have regained ownership of land encompassing several national parks, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park, the world’s oldest living rainforest.
A transition program means traditional owners will jointly manage the land with the Queensland government, before it is eventually managed solely by Indigenous groups.
Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation chair and Kuku Yalanji woman Lynette Johnson said Eastern Kuku Yalanji people want to bring more information to the public about how to respect country.
“There is a cultural hub coming, that's in the future,” she said this week.
“The talks have been done, it's coming, the process has started.”
Any development on the land must now be assessed by the Jabalbina Aboriginal Yalanji Corporation, the state government and other established bodies.
Many of the areas now being handed back are part of the Douglas Shire. CEO of Tourism Port Douglas Daintree, Tara Bennett, says it is any exciting time.
“We really do hope that the signing of this agreement will help kick-off some new experiences that are going to really broaden the engagement visitors can have with our traditional cultures,” she said.
“It is a moment where we can rewrite the tourism landscape.”
People can still camp in designated areas in the national parks, but they are being asked to avoid restricted places, including sacred sites.