Native Title Agreements
From Left - Arakwal custodian, Linda Vidler, Council's General Manager Pamela Westing, Mayor Tom Wilson, Solicitor Wroth Wall, Custodian Lorna Kelly and Arakwal spokesperson Yvonne Stewart.
In April 1997 a Native Title Agreement between the State Government and the Bundjalung of Byron Bay ( Arakwal people ) created the Cape Byron Trust which is a State Recreational Area. The Trust includes representatives from the Bundjalung of Byron Bay to ensure Aboriginal people play a role in decision making on the care, control and management of this significant place of culture and heritage within the Byron Shire.
The Heads of Agreement signed in 1998 between the Bundjalung of Byron Bay (Arakwal people) and Byron Shire Council, set out a framework for ongoing consultation. It formalised the role of the Byron Shire Council Aboriginal Advisory Committee, which made recommendations on strategic plans for the Byron Shire. The committee also ensured the Bundjalung of Byron Bay were involved in the management and protection of culturally significant places within the Shire. This agreement was the first of its type between a local council and native title applicants in New South Wales.
Indigenous Land Use Agreement
The Arakwal Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) resulted from seven years of consultations between the Arakwal People, the NSW Government through the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Department of Land and Water Conservation, a range of community groups and the Byron Shire Council. The NSW Aboriginal Land Council and the National Native Title Tribunal have played key roles in coordinating and mediating the negotiations. The ILUAs were signed by representatives of the NSW Government and the Arakwal People. While the Council was not a signatory, the successful negotiation of the ILUAs demonstrated the strong relationship between Council, the community and the local Indigenous people, and was the result of many years of hard work on the part of the Arakwal people.
Details of the ILUA can be found on the Agreements, Treaties and Negotiated Settlement Project website .
Indigenous Land Use Agreement 1
The Indigenous Land Use Agreement registered in 2001 saw the creation of the Arakwal National Park which is a jointly managed Park between the State Government and the Arakwal Bundjalung people. This agreement was the first of its kind in Australia.
The Agreement involving the Sandhills Estate, Taylors Lake and Broken Head Caravan Park, 2003
On Tuesday 1 July 2003, Byron Shire Council signed a historic Land Transfer Agreement with the local Arakwal Bundjalung people and the State of New South Wales. The Agreement was signed by the Arakwal Elders, Lorna Kelly and Linda Vidler, Mayor Tom Wilson, Council General Manager Pamela Westing and the Minister for Natural Resources (Lands) for the State of New South Wales. The parties agreed to:
- a Native Title claim by the Arakwal Bundjalung people over land in the Sandhills Estate Byron Bay,
- the transfer of a parcel of land in the Sandhills Estate to Byron Shire Council for a new library in exchange for land at Taylors Lake,
- Council handing over the management of Broken Head Crown Caravan Park to the Arakwal Bundjalung people,
- the Minister transferring the title of the Broken Head Crown Caravan Park to the Arakwal Bundjalung people.
The Agreement was an important precursor to Indigenous Land Use Agreements 2 and 3.
Indigenous Land Use Agreement 2
The agreement comprised of the transfer of 124 hectares of land to New South Wales National Parks. This is coupled with co-management of the Parks and an ongoing employment and training programs for the Bundjalung People in the National Park. In addition, a grant of freehold title over the Broken Head Caravan Park to the Bundjalung people aims to stimulate economic development for the Bundjalung.
Indigenous Land Use Agreement 3
ILUA 3 was registered in 2006 being a former section of the ILUA 2 agreement, where Council owned land at Taylors Lake would be acquired by the Minister for reserving under the National Parks and Wildlife Act in recognition of cultural importance to the Arakwal Bundjalung people as a sacred area for women.
The relationship between the Bundjalung of Byron Bay Arakwal People and the Byron Shire Council has been renewed in recent agreements: