Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program

What is the program about?

The Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program returns ownership and management of identified lands on Cape York Peninsula to local Aboriginal Traditional Owners, while ensuring the protection of Cape York Peninsula’s iconic natural areas and significant natural and cultural values. 

What does the program achieve?

Through this program, the state is changing the tenure of identified properties to Aboriginal freehold land, allowing Traditional Owners to return to live on country and pursue employment and business opportunities in land mangement, grazing, and mining.

Areas with outstanding environmental values are being dedicated as jointly managed national parks, providing for conservation, recreation and tourism. The state is also converting existing national parks to jointly managed national parks, with Aboriginal freehold as the underlying tenure.

To date, tenure resolution has been completed for 22 properties and 18 existing parks, resulting in:

  • 24 Aboriginal freehold transfers outside national parks (more than 1.4 million hectares)
  • 18 existing national parks converted to jointly managed national park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land or CYPAL) (nearly 1.4 million hectares)
  • 8 new national parks (CYPAL) (nearly 645,200 hectares)
  • 17 nature refuges on Aboriginal freehold (nearly 260,000 hectares).

Fifteen existing national parks in the Cape York Peninsula Region, covering almost 413,300 hectares, are yet to be converted to national park (CYPAL). The iconic Daintree National Park is also scheduled to be converted to jointly managed national park (CYPAL) following discussions with the Eastern Kuku Yalanji people. In December 2016, more than 118,131 hectares of land including the spectacular Shelburne Bay silica sand dune fields was transferred to the Wuthathi Aboriginal Corporation and resulted in the newly created Wuthathi (Shelburne Bay) National Park (CPYAL).

Other key achievements of the Cape York Peninsula Tenure Resolution Program include:

  • working cooperatively with the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing to support joint management of national parks and associated Aboriginal ranger employment and land management projects including fencing at Rinyirru (Lakefield) and Oyala Thumotang National Parks
  • facilitating the leasing of Aboriginal land for third party grazing and gravel extraction purposes
  • facilitating state and Commonwealth Indigenous land management funding projects to provide Aboriginal employment in fire and pest management
  • supporting Aboriginal landowners for Archer Bend, Batavia, Mary Valley and Olkola lands to plan for sustainable livelihoods and economic development opportunities
  • supporting landholding bodies established under this program (Aboriginal land trusts and corporations) to:
    • become independent, highly functioning land managers
    • meet governance and land management obligations
    • create networks and pursue economic development opportunities.
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