Mura Badulgal (Torres Strait Islanders) Corporation
The Mura Badulgal (Torres Strait Islanders) Corporation, located on Badu Island, administers land on behalf of the Badulgul people. The Badulgul people’s ownership of Badu and surrounding islands in the Torres Strait was recognised in the native title determination Badu Islanders #1.
This determination arose out of a claim of native title filed in June 1996. Dan Sagigi (Snr), a traditional Badulaig elder, was the original named applicant in this claim made on behalf of the people of Badu Island in the Torres Strait. Following the death of Mr Sagigi in July 2002, Mr Victor Nona proceeded as the named applicant on behalf of the Badulgul.
This claim was successfully negotiated between the parties after the decision in Erubum Le v State of Queensland which found that some infrastructure developments extinguished native title. This decision motivated the parties to negotiate in order to recognise native title. All parties agreed to recognise the Badulgal people’ right to:
- Exclusive possession of the land
- Non-exclusive use of the water and things within it for personal. Domestic and non-commercial communal needs.
This agreement was recognised and affirmed by the Federal Court in 2005. In approving the recognition, The Mura Badulgal (Torres Strait Islanders) Corporation also administers three Indigenous Land Use Agreements between the Badulgul people and the Commonwealth, Telstra and Ergon Energy, respectively.
Most of the work carried out by the PBC occurs on a voluntary basis. There have been research agreements with Monash University during which the remains of a great warrior were discovered on the island by archaeologists. This research partnership lead to a partnership with Envirofund, who has provided assistance for fencing and site clearance.
The RNTBC is also in the process of implementing a business plan developed in partnership with Rural Solutions South Australia. The business plan details the development of eco tourism, the design of an administration building which will house community archives and historical documents and the establishment of an archaeology unit.
Badu Island is one of the larger islands and is partly covered with mounds of basaltic rocks, lightly vegetated open areas. The island is also fringed with extensive mangrove swamps. All three community groups, Badu, Aragun and Wakaid, are represented by the PBC.