Face-off over Facing Island native title claim

An aerial view of Facing Island, Gladstone.
An aerial view of Facing Island, Gladstone. Brenda Strong

RESIDENTS of Facing Island are opposing a native title claim for unallocated land on the island, that they say will cut off access roads, and affect the graves of the community's first settlers.

But a local indigenous leader has hit back, saying aboriginal burial sites on the island date back hundreds of years.

Queensland's Department of Natural Resources and Mines contacted residents about a proposed native title land transfer in February.

Facing Island Rural Fire Brigade secretary Frank Daly said the claim affected about 30 hectares of land, and the area was crucial for residents of the Gatcombe Heads island township.

"It is a somewhat emotive issue as residents have had a very strong connection with the particular land for many years," he said.

"But it is important to understand there is a process which (the Department) must follow," he said.

In a letter to the department, the brigade said the proposed transfer "would be crushing to the community of Gatcombe Heads".

"Of course everybody's got an objection to it," Mr Daly said.

"There's a lot of heritage in the area, there are possibly seven graves on the land altogether, plus if we lost access to that land it would cut off access to our houses."

About 30 people are permanent residents of Facing Island, with more than 1000 regularly visiting family homes there.

Gooreng Gooreng tribe leader Richard Johnson, who is also a native title applicant for Port Curtis Coral Coast, said there should be room for co-existence on Facing Island.

Speaking as a community representative, he said aboriginal burial places should also be considered.

"There's layers of heritage, isn't there - the shell middens (sites used by former indigenous communities) on the island, they're known to contain human remains, and they've been there for hundreds and hundreds of years," Mr Johnson said.

"Like people worried about European burial, we're also worried about our people."

Mr Johnson's tribe, along with the Baillai and Gurang tribes, all have native title claims on Facing Island.

He called on residents to consider to look for how a shared situation could work.

"It's always a sad thing that people look for the worst happening," he said.

"Early in the piece, politicians were talking about native title taking people's backyards - here we are 20 years late, and that's proved to be a lie."

"Even squatters still have rights, we recognise that. I don't think wholesale lines should be drawn on maps, it's more about negotiation."

"In the end, commonsense will prevail."

Gladstone Regional Council mayor Gail Sellers said there are also claims on unallocated land on Chinaman Island and South Trees Inlet.

The GRC has invited a Department spokesman to address council about the proposed transfer, ahead of a submission deadline on May 17.

"I think these families have been there for a long time, and they have a true feeling for the area," Cr Sellers said.

She said no indigenous groups had approached council about the proposal.

Topics:  aboriginal burial sites department of natural resources and mines facing island gladstone regional council gooreng gooreng native title claims

Death threat to mayor, hospital staff assault heard in court

Peter Midgely leaves the Gladstone court precinct after getting bail.

Peter Midgely made threats to kill former mayor Gail Sellers

'Big relief': Emergency service boost with $150K fire station

START YOUR ENGINES: First officers Danny Devers, Errol Noye, Jason Polzin, Judy Ferrari, Colleen Yarrow, David Kretschmer, Jeremey Banks and Ron Barker from around the region hold up their keys to eight new Yellow Rural Fire Trucks.

"We've got it now and we won't give it up”

Santos sales boost softens blow of slumping oil price

CLAWING BACK: Santos reports a strong third quarter position off the back of bigger sales out of GLNG.

Revenue from LNG sales was $US227 million.

Local Partners

Shannen Doherty reveals fear of dying in post on chemo

Actor Shannen Doherty shared this image of her lying in a hospital bed after a chemotherapy session.

Actor has been fighting cancer since 2015

Eddie Redmayne's stage fright on latest Harry Potter film

Actor Eddie Redmayne stars in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Actor felt like kid again when he got to film with a wand

Salma Hayek: 'Trump planted story because I turned him down'

Actor Salma Hayek is the latest woman who says U.S presidential nominee Donald Trump acted inappropriately.

Salma Hayek latest woman to accuse Trump of misconduct

Brisbane snake catcher shows who's the Boss

Brisbane snake catcher Julia Baker returns in season two of Snake Boss.

Hit show Snake Boss is back for another season

The Summer that Melted Everything

See what happens when you invite the devil to town

Leonardo DiCaprio nearly drowned while filming

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio

Oscar winner almost drowned in Galapagos

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

Push to sell homes that flooded Gladstone's market

Suburban housing in Glenvale, Toowoomba, Friday, October 17, 2014. Photo Kevin Farmer / The Chronicle

URGENT push to cash-up first home buyers investing in Gladstone.

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.