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Calls to end a long-running stoush between traditional owners and other residents have grown stronger after property owners claimed they were ‘chased off’ from their local beach. 

Some members of the Butchulla people have been locked in a tense battle with locals after they stopped them from entering Burrum Heads beach, near Hervey Bay, in south-east Queensland

The battle, which has been ongoing for more than a year, has led to calls from Indigenous groups to push for a ‘peaceful resolution’ to the raging dispute. 

Locals who live along Burrum Heads beach (pictured) claim they have been ‘chased off’ the beach by traditional owners who claim they have native title over the area

The Butchulla people were given native title to around 100,000 hectares on the Fraser Coast in 2019, around 50 kilometres from Burrum Heads. 

Around 17,000 hectares of that land is exclusively used by the traditional owners.   

However, a small section of the land cuts through a 20-metre strip near the foreshore of the beach which is located in front of the homes of several locals who live in Burrum Heads.

The residents say they have been ‘chased off’ the land while attempting to access the area. 

Part of the beach has been cordoned off by a low-hanging mesh fence which stretches into a parking space of the beach, preventing locals from entering the land.  

A small group of Butchulla people have illegally stationed themselves on the land, according to the Butchulla Native Title Aboriginal Corporation [BNTAC].

The general manager of the BNTAC Veronica Bird told the Courier Mail that native title has not been provided to the beach area. 

‘It’s about being respectful, being good neighbours so we’re all able to enjoy this beautiful country that we love,’ she said. 

Ms Bird told the newspaper the organisation is committed to resolving the issue peacefully. 

A section of the beach has been cordoned off by a low-hanging mesh fence (pictured), preventing locals in Burrum Heads from accessing the beach 

Member for Hinkler and Federal MP Keith Pitt, whose electorate covers the contested space of land, said the beach should not be considered a part of the native title granted to the traditional owners. 

‘The best solution is for that small section of land to be taken out of the native title agreement, that would solve a lot of problems,’ Mr Pitt said. 

Mr Pitt told Daily Mail Australia earlier that his office had been inundated by ‘concerned Burrum Heads residents’ who ‘contacted my office about an area of land under native title’. 

‘It has resulted in restricted access to the beach and older constituents being chased off the beach,’ he said. 

‘Every Australian is expected to abide by Australian laws and regulations, without exception.’ 

Federal MP Keith Pitt (pictured) said the contested land should not be afforded native title protection, which would allow locals to access the space

Ms Bird however, said the move would not be appropriate because Indigenous elders had fought for the recognition of traditional lands. 

‘We want to be able to honour that legacy of our elders who did not get to see our successful Native Title claim come to fruition,’ she said. 

A spokesman from the Queensland Resources Department said the Butchulla peoples have had their native title rights granted across several parts of the Burrum Heads area in 2019. 

‘We are continuing to work with the Fraser Coast Regional Council and with Butchulla Native Title Aboriginal Corporation and support their engagement with the community on management of land,’ the spokesman said. 

Butchulla people’s native title claim

A Federal Court decision in 2019 granted native title to almost 100,000 hectares of land to the Butchulla People.

The area protected under the court’s ruling covers land and water areas between Rainbow Beach and Burrum Heads.

While 17,129 hectares of land in the area are to be exclusively used by traditional owners, native title does not apply to more than 79,608 hectares of land.

Butchulla country is the land that sits on the Great Sandy Region on the south-east coast of Queensland. 

Butchulla land covers areas including Double Point Island (which is in the south), Burrum River (which is in the north) and Bauple Mountain (which is in the west). 

K’gari which is the Indigenous name for Fraser Island is also part of Butchulla land and is an important cultural location for traditional owners. 

The World Heritage listed site has also been granted native title. 

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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