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Property Rights of Wik People to Timber Resources on Cape York Peninsula, Australia

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Venn, T. J.
Conference: Traditional Lands in the Pacific Region: Indigenous Common Property Resources in Convulsion or Cohesion
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Conf. Date: September 7-9, 2003
Date: 2003
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1778
Sector: Forestry
Region: Pacific and Australia
Subject(s): IASC
forest products
property rights
land tenure and use
indigenous institutions
Abstract: "Wik people on Cape York Peninsula have expressed interest in forestry as a means to generate local income and employment; however, their legal rights to timber resources has not previously been methodically analysed. Within an 841,5000 ha portion of traditional Wik lands, defined by the Aurukun Shire lease and part of Mining Lease 7024 in Cook Shire, there are four land tenure-title combinations on which the rights of Wik people to timber varies. Their timber rights are most comprehensive on native title land on Aurukun Shire lease, where commercial timber harvesting could be undertaken without a permit from or payment of royalties to government. On parts of Aurukun Shire lease where there are no other titles or interests, Wik people must apply to the Queensland Department of Primary Industries - Forestry for a commercial harvesting permit and could be directed to pay royalties for harvested timber. On mining leases in Aurukun Shire lease land and in adjoining Cook Shire, the rights of Wik people to timber are least comprehensive. In addition to the need for permits and the potential that royalties would be payable to government, the rights of Wik people are also subject to the rights and obligations of mining companies. Under the Aboriginal Lands Act 1991, Aurukun Shire lease land will be transferred to Aboriginal freehold at an undetermined future point in time. If timber rights are transferred with the land, Wik people will have the same comprehensive rights to timber over all of Aurukun Shire as they precently do on native title land, with the exception that these rights are still subordinate to those of the mining company holding the mining lease within Aurukun Shire. Future court rulings, legislation, and issuing of leases within traditional Wik lands can alter the property rights Wik people have over timber resources."

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