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Gurang woman calls for inquiry into Facing Island 'breach'

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

AN indigenous representative has accused a Queensland government department of breaching confidentiality in a proposed land transfer on Facing Island, and says an inquiry is needed.

Cherissma Blackman, a Yepoon-based Gurang tribe woman, is calling for a parliamentary or Senate inquiry into the way native title agreements are handled.

Her comments follow concerns from Facing Island residents who were notified about a proposed land transfer near Gatcombe Heads on the island in February.

The Department of Natural Resources and Mining is carrying out a consultation phase, and said no decisions on the future use of the land had been made.

But Ms Blackman said the department had breached confidentiality by informing the residents.

"We're always second class citizens when it comes to native title recognition," she said.

Ms Blackman is not involved in the Facing Island discussions.

But she insisted an inquiry should look at all aspects of the native title process, including the pressure placed on indigenous leaders to sign agreements.

"There is a falsity that we are getting heaps of royalities," she said. "We're not."

A spokesman said the department had acted in line with requirements of the Land Act 1994.

"The consultation and evaluation process for the land in question is not associated with the native title legislation," he said.

Gladstone Regional Council will respond to the Facing Island proposal ahead of the May 17 deadline.

The Facing Island Rural Fire Brigade has already responded, saying the transfer "would be crushing to the community of Gatcombe Heads".

Gurang tribe woman Cherissma Blackman.
Gurang tribe woman Cherissma Blackman. Tom Huntley

Topics:  facing island gladstone indigenous native title state government



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