One Claim continues to be the best chance for the people of Cape York to secure their native title over the claim area. Back in 2014 the people of Cape York agreed that pursuing a committed and united One Claim (Cape York Number 1 Claim – lodged on 11 Dec. 2014) approach was the best and shortest possible way to secure their native title. Nothing has changed. That reasoning is as true now as it ever has been. One Claim is working.
The key principle of One Claim also remains as it has always been; that traditional owners, for each part of the claim area, will continue to speak for and make decisions about, their traditional lands and waters according to their traditional laws and customs.
It is the Traditional Owners (or native title holders) for each area who continue to speak for country. Not the Cape York Land Council, not Cape York Partnerships, not the Applicants or any other person or people except the Traditional Owners or native title holders, and only after properly advertised meetings.
If there is a dispute as to who speaks for country, the CYLC will offer a mediation program to help traditional owners reach agreement on the disputed matter or any other issues arising in the conduct of One Claim. CYLC’s role is only to act as a facilitator, and never as an umpire or decider.
As part of the One Claim process, where native title is affected by an activity – such as a mine – publicly advertised meetings must be held and traditional owners must give their informed consent before any decisions can be made over their country, in accordance with the provisions of the Native Title Act 1993.
The CYLC remains committed to helping the people of Cape York to finally achieve their goal of having native title determined in almost all of the remaining 55% of land in Cape York. We are all so close.