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Traditional owners refuse Yamba port meeting

The Yaegl Traditional Owners Corporation (YTOAC) has decided it will not meet with the proponent of the Yamba port and rail proposal, Des Euen.
Mr Euen had sought a meeting with the YTOAC; however, a majority of the corporation’s board decided it would boycott the meeting.
The board’s chair, Bill Walker, said he would have preferred Mr Euen to have made a presentation at the board meeting, however, he also said that the YTOAC was prepared to talk to Mr Euen “again, some time down the track, if necessary”.
He said the board held concerns about damage to, or destruction of, a sacred reef, Dirringan, which is located near the mouth of the Clarence River.
In June 2015, at an extraordinary convening of the Federal Court of Australia on Pilot Hill, Yamba, Justice Jayne Jagot formally recognised the Yaegl People’s rights to hunt, fish, gather resources and conduct their cultural practices on their country, which includes a large stretch of the Clarence River and its tributaries from just west of Harwood to the river’s mouth.
Under the Native Title Act 1993, the Yaegl People have the right to be consulted and play an active role in how their country is managed; however, the ruling did not affect ownership of those lands.
Mr Walker said he had met with Mr Euen on two occasions in the past.
Mr Walker’s mother, the late Della Walker, and Joyce Clague initiated the native title claim in 1996.

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