Native title determined for Eastern Maar

March 31, 2023 BY

A ceremony to acknowledge the native title determination was held at Logans Beach on Tuesday - Minister for Treaty and First Peoples Gabrielle Williams is at left. Photos: FACEBOOK/GABRIELLE WILLIAMS MP

EASTERN Maar peoples in Victoria’s south-west have gained formal recognition of their land rights in the first Victorian native title determination in a decade.

The Federal Court consent determination held at Logans Beach on Tuesday this week acknowledges Eastern Maar’s ongoing connection and intrinsic relationship with their Country, which includes part of the coastline of the Great Ocean Road and part of the Great Otway National Park.

The Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation originally filed the claim in 2012, and the Eastern Maar peoples have worked with the state government over the past four years to finalise the determination, which covers most of their native title claim area including Cape Otway and surrounds, Cobden, Terang, and stretching north to just south of Ararat.

Other areas such as Warrnambool and surrounds are presently in mediation before the Federal Court.

The determination recognises Eastern Maar’s right to access use, and protect public land in accordance with their traditional law and custom.

It also recognises their right to be consulted on the use and development land and natural resources, to ensure the protection and preservation of places and areas with cultural importance.

Native title rights and interests are non-exclusive and sit alongside the broader community’s right to enjoy these places.

All local governments and individuals that participated in the claim have consented to the determination.

At the ceremony at Logans Beach, near Warrnambool, National Native Title Council chief executive and Gundjitmara Djabwurrung man Jamie Lowe paid tribute to those who had been striving over the past 30 years to have native title recognised, including by Eastern Maar elders who filed the original claim but have died since then.

“We’ve fought hard to survive and we’ve done that, and this is testament to that recognition that our people, the Maar people, have been here forever.
“It’s a bit of a point in time, a point in history that our people are being recognised, and… on the national landscape, this will be heard.”

Minister for Treaty and First People Gabrielle Williams was also at the hearing.

“Through this court hearing today Eastern Maar Peoples are assured of their rights under Australian law to protect their native title long into the future,” she said.

“This hearing honours the deep cultural significance that Country holds for Eastern Maar People and empowers them to manage and protect Country in accordance with the law and customs.”

The state government says it continues to work with Traditional Owner groups across the state to recognise their relationship to land and native title rights through Federal Court processes, as well as the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010.

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