21 Jun 2016
Chief Minister of the Northern Territory
Chief Minister Adam Giles has hailed the dawn of a new era for the Cox Peninsula after the historic handover of the Kenbi Land to Traditional Owners.
Mr Giles said the handover of the Kenbi Land was "a truly historic occasion which will secure the future of Darwin for generations to come".
Since the Kenbi Land Claim was first lodged in 1979, extensive legal processes, lengthy negotiations, four hearings by the Aboriginal Land Commissioner and two High Court challenges have followed.
The foundation to the handover was achieved on April 6, 2016 when the NT Government, the Northern Land Council, Kenbi Traditional Owners and the Commonwealth Government announced a settlement had been reached.
The land offered as part of the settlement includes:
The total freehold area is equivalent to approximately the current City of Darwin municipality area or 2.3 times the current City of Palmerston municipality.
"This freehold area will lead to significantly increased opportunities for residential and commercial developments on the Cox Peninsula for at least the next 100 to 150 years," Mr Giles said.
Mr Giles said the 13,000 hectares of freehold land would be handed over once remediation works were completed by the end of 2018.
These works are being completed through the $31.5 million Commonwealth Department of Finance's Cox Peninsula Remediation Project, which is already engaging indigenous employment.
The Kenbi Land Claim was one of the longest running and most complex land claims under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act.
Mr Giles acknowledged the surviving members of the Kenbi Traditional Owners and the broader Larrakia family groups.
He also thanked the Northern Land Council, the Commonwealth Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Hon Nigel Scullion, past and present staff from the Department of Chief Minister, Solicitor for the Northern Territory, the departments of Land Resource Management, Planning and Environment, Primary Industry and Fisheries, Transport, Local Government and Community Services, Mines and Energy and Prime Minister and Cabinet.
"Without the constructive and collaborative approach taken by all involved over such a long period of time, we would have never reached this point," Mr Giles said.
The settlement also provides perpetual open access to the intertidal zone for recreational and fishing access, as well as certainty for squatters and other interest holders with buildings in the area.
This access was negotiated in response to the Blue Mud Bay High Court Decision and the NT Government provided a compensation package to enhance opportunities for Kenbi families.
Mr Giles said key agreements would now be finalised to resolve the land claim to allow for subsequent land transfers to the Kenbi Land Trust and Larrakia Development Corporation.
Media contact: Michael Gorey 0437 249 003