Yolngu Nations warns communities about the treacherous 99-year township leases

To force our people to accept 99 year leases for their land as the only way for them to achieve any form of economic advantage from their homelands is a crime. Compared with other locations on this earth only in Australia can they try to get away with this type of deceit. I do hope the people say NO. Then if the Government refuses to provide resources for the economic and development of their communities we must notify the UN of it. The Courts in this country say that we need to have equal suffrage, but this is fine when it is in favor of the whites. Eat your hearts out white South Africa. The white Africans who escaped to Australia, must be asking "if it is this bl...y easy to repress Blacks then maybe they should have been observing Australia much more closely!

- Ghillar Michael Anderson
Djapirri Munu?girritj
Archive image of Djapirri Munu?girritj armed with all community members signatures, calling for "Stronger Futures" to be dropped in favour of self-determination, real community governance and resources for all communities.
Yolngu Nations Assembly Media Statement

Mark Guyulai

30 May 2014
Yolngu Nations Assembly

99-Year Township Leases

Yolngu Nations Assembly (YNA) urges the Commonwealth Government and Indigenous communities to consult carefully before considering entering into 99-year township leases.

In October last year, Senator Nigel Scullion announced that Gunbalanya traditional owners had agreed to work towards finalising a 99-year lease by 30 June 2014, stating that he and the traditional owners "agreed that a township lease was the most effective way to achieve economic and commercial development in Gunbalanya."

This week YNA spokesperson Mark Guyula talked with residents at Gunbalanya about their experiences in 99-year lease negotiations to date. He says:

"The Traditional Owners didn't make an agreement. They agreed to negotiate, but didn't agree anything about the 99-year lease. When Yolngu say, "yes, we understand" that doesn't mean "yes, we can go ahead".

"The senior elders [at Gunbalanya] are saying 'let us consider it more, give us a bit of time to think about these things.' We come from a law where we consult about issues within the traditional law, and we are used to that. Only when we come to an agreement the project proceeds.

"Unfortunately, the 99-year lease has been a bit of a rush and has hit us unexpectedly. The Government is promising that there'll be these good things coming out of the 99-year lease or any lease that we are asked to sign up. When the Government comes, they should not talk only about the good things, but also the negative. The last thing we want is to lose our identity, our culture and our land.

"There's also the rest of the community living here. Where are their rights? They've been brought in from their clan estates into a hub community. And they've been forgotten about. They have no say whatsoever in this community, which they would have back home on their country.

"We, at the Yolngu Nations Assembly, want to sit with people, negotiate and explain things. Sometimes there are non-Government people that want to help our people understand. Of course we want to make businesses, of course we want to run businesses and make corporations but we will do it when we are ready, and we will do it with help and work together."

To other communities considering the 99-year lease proposal, Mr Guyula says:

"When people are talking about 99-year leases – don't rush in. Don't forget your land, history, identity and culture on this land. Once you say yes to 99-year lease, you're gone, finished. That is history for your land, your children."

For the complete transcript see www.yolngunations.org

Contact: Mark Guyula via 0428402929

Key communitity members are aware of alternative paths, but in the end, community members are so suppressed and vulnerable that the governments bullying tactics and deceit often end with our peoples following their treacherous carrots. Pictured in Darwin, September 2012: Michael Anderson, Sovereign Union (left) informs Dr. Djiniyini Gondarra (right) and George Gaymarani Pascoe of their Sovereign rights.