Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens Leader and Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson
We urge Premier Rockliff to celebrate NAIDOC Week by getting on with truth-telling, Treaty and the return of lands in lutruwita.
Lutruwita/Tasmania was never ceded by Aboriginal people. It was stolen from them at the point of a gun. The path to reconciliation has been slow, painful and full of disappointment for Aboriginal Tasmanians.
There has been enough lip service. It’s time to honour lutruwita’s first people with real action.
The Rockliff Government marked Reconciliation Week by tabling two proclamations to upgrade the tenure of unallocated Crown Lands within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, known to Aboriginal people as kooparoona niara.
There was an existing claim over that land from the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania, for it to be returned as an Aboriginal protected area.
The return of kooparoona niara was a key recommendation in the Pathway to Truth-Telling and Treaty report handed down by respected Professors Kate Warner and Tim McCormack late last year.
Announcing the removal of the inadequate proclamations and the return of these parcels of land, in NAIDOC Week, would be a powerful, and appropriate, act by the Premier.
It would acknowledge the decades of dispossession and oppression, and that lutruwita/Tasmania always was and always will be Aboriginal land.
It has been 17 years since any lands were returned to Aboriginal people through State Parliament. We hope Premier Rockliff won’t extend that shameful delay, and will return kooparoona niara to its original owners ASAP.