Cr Bob Abbot
Cr Bob Abbot

Land claim to be watched by Noosa Council

A WATCHING brief is to be kept by Noosa Council legal representatives on a native title claim by the Kabi Kabi people that spans four council regions.

Noosa councillors have been alerted to the claim, which was lodged over Noosa, the Fraser Coast, Gympie and sections of the Sunshine Coast councils in May last year.

Councillors were told on Monday by staff that the claim had replaced a former Gubbi Gubbi claim for the same area that was "never finalised".

Noosa chief executive Brett de Chastel said from his past experiences, native title claims could "be fairly long and drawn out" and he advised council there was "often a lot of alarmist information" surrounding such claims.

"I guess the message today is, a claim has been lodged and we then have a long process to establish whether the claimants have a legitimate claim," Mr de Chastel said.

"We will simply take a watching brief until what are called all the technical issues are resolved."

The CEO said if needed to be established if the Kabi Kabi were the right claiming group, the claim was valid and they would "prove their connections (to the land)".

"I think it will be a good 12 months before anything material happens," he said.

Later, he said that the council would get involved to look at what were the things "impacting on Noosa".

Councillor Bob Abbot, who has a keen interest in indigenous rights, said native title legislation was "really a debate between the proposed or suggested traditional owners and the federal government with regards to title".

"And it is not a smart place to be in a sense, prior to that decision being made," Cr Abbot said.

"But I'm supportive of being part of it because I think it's got some opportunities for us to ensure that those values are developed in a way that if things accrue, that gives us a little bit of protection and understanding of the process.

"Also there's some real advantages in it for us, particularly in a planning sense and a cultural sense."

Council staff was asked to make sure the Gubbi Gubbi claim was no longer active over the land in question, and Mayor Noel Playford was more intent on ensuring the claim did not unduly eat into council coffers.

Cr Playford said he would not "like us to be on the clock" at council's law firm, wracking up a bill.

Cr Abbot responded, "Absolutely not".

Mr de Chastel assured the council that such a scenario was not the case.

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