A NORTH Queensland court has recognised the Widi people’s ancestral connection to a quarter-of-a-million hectares in the Isaac region.
At a special hearing on-country at Nebo today the Federal Court formally recognised the Widi people’s native title and interests over 249,766 hectares of land and waters, west of Mackay.
Assistant Minister for State Development Julieanne Gilbert said the determination recognised the Widi people’s ancestral connection to their country and further strengthened the Widi people’s culture and language for the next generation.
“Their rights are now further protected to hunt, fish, gather, meet, hold ceremonies and pass on dreaming stories, bush lore, dance and song, right from home,” she said.
Widi and Birri Gubba Elder Graham ‘Cookie’ Sauney said the core country claim meant the Widi people could produce economic development, sustainability and equity for the future of their people.
“It will give the Widi people an opportunity to continue with developing our Widi and Birri Gubba language that is not lost,” he said.
“We must also continue to care for country, protect our rights and interests, look after the needs of the local community and find ways how we can all live together.”
The area stretches roughly from Mount Crompton in the north, south to Nebo and west to Glenden, including part of Eungella National Park. This follows the Widi people’s joint determination with Barada Barna people in 2016 over almost 60,000Ha of land north-west of Rockhampton.