Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation
The Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation administers land on behalf of the Gunditjmara people. The Gunditjmara’s ownership of the land was recognised in the Gunditjmara determination of March 2007.
This determination arose from two native title claims made in August 1996 and June 2006 respectively. These claims included Crown land and waters, including state forests, national parks, recreational reserves, river frontages and coastal foreshores.
From 2002-2005 the NNTT convened the negotiations between the claimants and the 170 different respondents. The Victorian Government and the Gunditjmara were unable to reach agreement about the necessary connection to the land. In July 2005, a conference of experts was held to prepare evidence to try this issue in the Federal Court. After their report was released in November, an in-principle resolution was acheived within three months, removing the need to go to trial.
By November 2006, all parties agreed to recognise Gunditjmara native title rights to:
- visit and temporarily reside on the land and waters;
- the use and enjoyment of the land and waters, as well as their resources, for domestic and ordinary use; and
- protect places and areas of importance on the land and waters.
This agreement was affirmed and approved by the Federal Court in March 2007. In his decision, Justice North recognised that the Gunditjmara have 'won their battle to cement their place in this country and in history'.
In addition to this determination, the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation also administers an Indigenous Land Use Agreement made with the Victorian Government. This agreement outlines what future actions may take place upon the claim area and how the ecology will be managed.