Mirarr control of Jabiru one step closer

Publish Date:
3rd September 2020

The Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation (GAC), representing the Mirarr Traditional Owners of the town of Jabiru within Kakadu National Park, congratulates the Australian Parliament for unanimously passing important amendments to the Aboriginal Land Rights Act. These changes pave the way for land used to build the mining town to support the Ranger uranium mine to now be returned to the traditional owners.

The Mirarr fought and won recognition of their native title rights four years ago almost to the day on 24 August 2016. The amendments passed today fulfill the aspiration of the traditional owners for Jabiru to be held by an Aboriginal Land Trust. Operations at Ranger will cease in January 2021, heralding a new era for both the town and for the surrounding Kakadu National Park.

Township leasing under the Commonwealth Aboriginal Land Rights Act provides a solid framework for future culturally appropriate development of the town. The Mirarr have been ably assisted in their efforts to secure Jabiru’s future by the Northern Land Council, which formally represents Traditional Owners in lease negotiations.

Mirarr Senior Traditional Owner Yvonne Margarula said: “We Mirarr are glad to see these legal changes happen. They are essential to enuring the vibrant post-mining future of Jabiru and the Kakadu region that Mirarr have been planning for. We look forward to welcoming visitors from all around the world to our beautiful country.”

“This bipartisan change to the legislation is an essential step to correct the historical exclusion of the town of Jabiru from Aboriginal ownership and allow Mirarr to take the legal control they need to enact their vision,” said Justin O’Brien, CEO of GAC.

“Negotiations are progressing very well for the next step which will see Mirarr enter into a township lease. The Minister for Indigenous Australians, Hon Ken Wyatt, and the Environment Minister, Hon Sussan Ley, have worked hard to ensure these amendments meet the legal deadlines and should be congratulated for their efforts,” said Mr O’Brien.

Download PDF release here