Dhurili Nation considers court action as Prime Minister celebrates historic agreement in Gove Peninsula, NT.
The Dhurili Nation, comprising the Datiwuy, Golumala, Marrakulu and Marrangu clans have previously confirmed to the Northern Land Council and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs that they are lawful traditional owners of some areas of land that are affected by a new mining lease and agreement with Rio Tinto Alcan in the Gove Peninsula in the Northern Territory.
“We feel very sad because our rights under Madayin Law have been pushed aside and much pain and division has been created. This shows that colonisation is still happening today creating disharmony, by people ignoring due process. Again the failures of the Australian Government and the NLC to work with Yolngu people through a proper process of law has created division between the clans of Arnhem Land. We will not be celebrating along with others the signing of this agreement” said Dr Gondarra.
The Northern Land Council and the Minister have allowed a new lease to be signed, despite the Dhurili Nation raising its concerns about a lack of lawful consultation and a failure to seek the consent of its members in line with the requirements of traditional Madayin law and the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976.
The Dhurili nation, part of the Yolngu people, were previously recognised as traditional owners of parts of the affected area. For reasons presently unknown to them, they were not properly consulted about the recent negotiations with Rio Tinto Alcan. As a result, the clans of the Dhurili Nation consider that their rights under Australian and traditional Aboriginal law have been breached and that they have been improperly excluded from the negotiation process.
The Dhurili Nation is considering challenging the actions of the Northern Land Council and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs in the Courts.
Dated: 7 June 2011
Contact: Rev. Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra, OAM (on behalf of the Dhurili Nation)