Kamis, 28 Agustus 2014

New laws allow home ownership in Indigenous communities in Queensland (ABC)

Workers build houses in the Kowanyama Indigenous community on Cape York.ABC Workers build houses in the Kowanyama Indigenous community on Cape York.

People living in Queensland's Indigenous communities now have the option of private home and land ownership under new freehold laws passed in State Parliament.

Since the 19th century, land in the state's 34 Indigenous communities has been held by Indigenous local councils or trusteeships that prevented private home ownership.

The new laws give Indigenous people the opportunity to transfer the tenure of selected land from communal ownership to freehold title for the first time.

Under the changes councils will be able to set rates for any land moved to freehold.

Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps said the decision to transfer land to private ownership will be left to individual communities, with councils to set rates.

"Queensland is leading the way," he said.

"We are ahead of other states and territories and we are ahead of the initiatives being pursued by the Commonwealth Government to provide equity, dignity and fairness to Indigenous Queenslanders in this country.

"The new legislation delivers not only economic independence and opportunity, but also an enormous boost in confidence in Indigenous communities."

Premier Campbell Newman said the new laws do not prescribe what communities should do.

"It gives them the tools to make the best choice," he said.

"A community can identify to what extent if any freehold suits them and then implement it."

Indigenous community leader Ray Robinson said the new laws would end a 200-year battle in Queensland.

"They have ownership now - ownership of their own houses and their own land," he said.

"I think that enables them to move towards now economic independence and self management and self determination."


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