Bromley back in Traditional ownership

More than 50,000 hectares known as Sandstone East were returned to traditional owners.

Bromley back in Traditional ownership

Earmarked in the 1980s for the world’s first commercial spaceport, the land has been returned to its Traditional Owners.

Posted on 18.05.2017

Cape York land earmarked in the 1980s for the world’s first commercial spaceport has formally been returned to its Traditional Owners.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the land title deeds for 160,730 hectares of Cape York land -known as Bromley – had today been formally transferred to the Wuthathi, Kuuku Ya’u and Northern Kaanju people.

“This is an historic day for Queensland and for Bromley’s traditional owners,” Premier Palaszczuk said.

“When the Bjelke-Peterson Government announced plans in 1986, they didn’t bother to consult the Traditional Owners, they just took the land.

“It was wrong, and today (May 17, 2017) my Government has returned Bromley to its rightful owners.”

The Bromley Land Transfer Agreement covering an area the size of the Brisbane metro area was formally signed in Cairns by Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Mark Furner on behalf of the Palaszczuk Government.

“I am honoured to hand Bromley back to its original custodians and finally put to bed a contentious era in Queensland history that sparked protests among Indigenous people and conservationists alike,” Mr Furner said.

“The Traditional Owners of the land saw the ill-fated spaceport as an enormous threat to Bromley’s unique cultural and natural heritage, and they were right.

“Today’s handover means Bromley’s Traditional Owners will be able to use their land for cultural, environmental and economic purposes, such as eco-tourism, for the benefit of their respective communities.

“It will help traditional owners to safeguard cultural assets including ancient middens, build infrastructure and manage their land.

“The actions of the Palaszczuk Government are in stark contrast to the Joh era and demonstrate Labor’s commitment to land ownership to secure economic outcomes for Indigenous Queenslanders.”

Today’s handback ceremony in Cairns was the result of partnerships with Bromley Aboriginal Corporation, Cape York Land Council and Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation

Johnson Chippendale, Chair of the Bromley Aboriginal Corporation said it was an outcome Elders had wanted to achieve for more than 30 years.

“We’ve had some really good people on the negotiation team and we’re pretty pleased with the deal,” Mr Chippendale said.

Minister for National Parks, Steven Miles recognised Bromley’s rich natural value including the Olive River catchment and its associated estuarine habitat and coastal plain.

“This natural beauty is coupled with a significant and enduring cultural landscape present across its Glennie tableland and associated sandstone gorge complex,” Mr Miles said.

“Roughly a third of the land will become Bromley (Ampulin) and Bromley (Kungkaychi) National Parks on Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land jointly managed by the Bromley Aboriginal Corporation and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

“The Wuthathi, Kuuku Ya’u and Northern Kaanju peoples also support two nature refuges across 43,664 hectares of Aboriginal freehold land to further protect the region’s unique environment.

“The biological diversity captured in this dealing is important, some of which occurs nowhere else in the world such as the Cape York Tree fern and Sandhill cycad,” Mr Miles said.

“In partnership with Bromley’s Traditional Owners we’re taking steps to preserve this environment, including culturally significant and threatened plants, animals and vegetation, which have not been previously captured in a protected area.”

The remote scenic area of Bromley is located on the north-east coast of Cape York Peninsula, north-west of Cape Grenville, approximately 800km by road north of Cairns.

From today, there are 28 Aboriginal-owned and jointly-managed National Parks on Cape York Peninsula, covering an area of over two million hectares.


Bromley land handback

  • Aboriginal freehold land outside National Parks: 109,700 hectares
  • National Park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal land):51,030 hectares
  • Bromley (Ampulin) National Park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land) 40,350 hectares
  • Bromley (Kungkaychi) National Park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land) 10,680 hectares
  • Total: 160,730 hectares of Aboriginal freehold, including land within and outside National Parks (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal land)

Source: Media Release – Joint Statement

  • The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk (Premier and Minister for the Arts)
  • The Honourable Steven Miles (Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection,  and National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef)
  • The Honourable Mark Furner (Minister for Local Government, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships




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