Traditional owners MUST make
decisions over their country

  • CYLC and COVID-19

    We are also setting up a twice weekly ‘cast’ across the Cape via the Zoom app. The cast will be to provide information, answer any questions and share the yarn. We want you to be involved in these casts, so if you don’t have the Zoom app you should follow the prompts from:

    There will be further information on how to join us in the next few days so please keep updated on the Cape York Land Council website and our Kicking the Dust Facebook page.

    Last month our staff dropped off care packs to Elders and families we know are living in Cairns. The care packs are a way for us to make sure our Elders and their families have some basic essentials and that we can share with them the importance of taking action to protect themselves during the COVID-19 crisis.

    Regular updates on COVID-19 can be obtained by visiting: (also through their Facebook page)

    Most importantly we want to reassure you all that even in these testing times, we will do whatever we can to support you and keep some sense of normality. It’s important for us to keep an eye out for each other because, ‘we are all in this together…at a social distance’.

    CYLC is continuing with our operations and will be sharing this via our casts, and online meetings and teleconferences.

  • One Claim Update – 11/05/2020

    In February and March 2020 we heard from Traditional Owners at 29 meetings across the Cape as to how the Cape York United #1 claim should progress.

    We took the messages from Cape York back to the State and other active respondent parties to the claim. On 9 April 2020 we asked the Court to vacate the two hearings (the Separate Questions hearing in August 2020 and the Preservation of Evidence Hearing). We showed the Court how far we had progressed the claim in the first 3 months of 2020 and the significant amount of work that we would do to resolve outstanding boundary, PBC and other matters if the Court would agree to vacate the hearings.

    Justice Mortimer said that “this is a very impressive outcome” and agreed to vacate the hearings. Her Honour also noted that we had proposed a “very ambitious” Workplan, which means that the CYLC team will now need to work very hard to achieve the outcomes that the people of Cape York are seeking in this claim.

    While there are travel restrictions in place we are working hard to progress the ‘desktop work’ set out in the Workplan. We are also planning all our meetings with Traditional Owners to start as soon as travel restrictions are lifted and Traditional Owners are ready to meet again in person.
    We look forward to seeing everyone soon – by zoom, email or phone. We can also arrange zoom teleconferences of your land trust committee or your PBC board to provide an update.

    If you have any questions or would like us to meet with you, your family, your PBC or your land trust, please call the Principal Legal Officer, Kirstin Malyon or Jayd Copelin on 1800 623 548.

    Significant progress made towards determination of the Cape York United #1 claim in the first 3 months of 2020.

    In April the Court agreed and said there was no need for the hearings to go ahead.


    The Federal Court will be conducting a case management hearing at 11am AEST tomorrow – Thursday 9 April, 2020.

    Due to the present COVID 19 restrictions, the hearing will be a Virtual Hearing conducted using remote access technology known as Microsoft Teams.

    At the hearing Justice Mortimer will hear from the legal representatives for the Applicant, the State and active respondent parties about the application to vacate the Separate Questions Hearing set down for August 2020 and the proposed Workplan which sets out what steps the parties will take to progress the Cape York United Claim #1.

    This is a public hearing, thus the Court has made arrangements to allow for interested members of the public to be able to listen in to the hearing.

    Should you wish to listen to the Court hearing, please note the following:

    Dialing into the Hearing on the following number allows you to listen into the Hearing only, however you can’t participate

    To reduce the background noise, you will need to put your phone on mute

    You will need to dial in via the following number:

    Telephone:  02 9161 1229

    Enter Conference ID:  654 784 292#

    All those intending to dial in should do so no later than 10:45am so as to reduce any disruption to the proceedings once commenced

    All costs associated with participation are the responsibility of the caller

Congratulations Reginald Williams

Order of Australia Award – Saturday 14 September 2019

On Saturday 14 September, at a ceremony held in Cairns, Reginald (Reg) Williams was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia by His Excellency the Governor General for service to the Indigenous community of Queensland. 

The award recognises Reg’s role as Chairperson of Ipima Ikaya Aboriginal Corporation and  Apudthama Land Trust (2012-2016) as well as his leadership as a board member with TSRA, ICC, TSIRC, NPARC, Bamaga Island Council and Bamaga Enterprises. 

Cape York Land Council is proud to celebrate the success of one of Cape York’s regional leaders and is proud to work with and support the Ipima Ikaya Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC.

Your Land – Your Say

DEPUTY Premier Jackie Trad has been secretly lobbying aboriginal elders to lockup tribal land to mining on Cape York.

Ms Trad is spearheading a push to “protect” vast tracts of aboriginal land from mining interests as part of negotiations with traditional owners of three native title groups in remote far north Queensland.

Under the deal, a huge swath of Cape York — totalling more than one million hectares — would be nominated as protected land to shut-out any future mining exploration projects and is a possible prelude to a blanket World Heritage-listing push by the Labor Party.

It comes as a Jangga tribal elder, whose country adjoins the Adani mine, warned Ms Trad of “war” with… click here for more

Support builds for Uluru Statement from the Heart



The news that Australia’s two largest resource companies, BHP and Rio Tinto are backing the Uluru Statement from the Heart and substantive constitutional recognition including a Voice to Parliament, is welcomed by Indigenous leaders in Cape York.

BHP and Rio Tinto today announced shared support for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament and BHP’s commitment to investment in a public education campaign on the Uluru Statement.

The Chair of the Cape York Land Council, Richie Ah Mat, said today’s pledge shows that the Australian community is increasingly understanding that the Indigenous Voice to Parliament is essential to the empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and closing the gap on disadvantage.

Only when Indigenous people are empowered to take part in the decisions that affect them will policy be properly targeted and outcomes improved.

BHP and Rio Tinto join national bodies such as the Australian Medical Association, Australian Council of Social Services, leading universities, and key influential figures across the political spectrum such as Jeff Kennett, Kevin Rudd and Alan Jones, have endorsed the Uluru Statement and the Voice to Parliament.

Big business coming together around the Indigenous Voice to Parliament shows their commitment to the key social justice issue of our time, and recognition that this is a critical step in overcoming the disadvantaged face by Indigenous communities.

We welcome this support and encourage the nation to get behind First Nations people to enable a voice in the decisions that impact their lives.

The Uluru Education Project, which BHP is committing funding towards, will be managed by a steering group that includes prominent Australians, Professor Fiona Stanley from Western Australia, Danny Gilbert of Gilbert + Tobin lawyers in Sydney and Indigenous Leaders including Professor Megan Davis and North Queensland Land Council director Terry O’Shane.

We look forward to the Uluru Education Project contributing to greater awareness in the Australian community of the Uluru Statement, and building support for a successful referendum.  BHP’s commitment of funding is a great demonstration of the good will and genuine support they have for constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians.



It is the voice of Traditional Owners that guides our direction. We are governed by the will of Cape York.


Cape York Land Council is a safe place where big ideas and powerful ambitions are driven by expertise and passion.


We were there from the beginning and we forged the human path to native title determination. We know where we’re going because we know where we’ve been.


The Cape York Land Council respects that all Traditional owners have autonomy and speak to their own lands.


The preservation and promotion of the traditions and cultures of Aboriginal people is a key driver for Land Council’s mission.


We are you. We too share the passion and pride of the people of Cape York and are dedicated to improving the lives of real people.


After a lengthy period of consultation on country with Traditional owners the Cape York Land Council have been given a very clear mandate on what success in this Native title space looks like:

  • Traditional owners want the return of their land, not the politics
  • Traditional owners must make their own decisions and speak for their country
  • Traditional owners want certainty and not confusion
  • Traditional owners don’t want this to take another quarter of a century. It’s time for the dispossession to end.

Any process that causes disruption or lacks unity will almost certainly delay the opportunity for this justice significantly.



Stronger Together

Native Title is an asset for Cape York’s First Nations people with potential to build livelihoods free from dependency. We will use it to build indigenous led business and enable our children to have jobs in our communities.

In supporting One Claim, we have the best chance for the native title determinations to be made efficiently and provide these opportunities for our people.

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