GPC, PCCC sign multi-million dollar native title deal

GLADSTONE Ports Corporation has reached a benchmark agreement with the region's native title holders, which will deliver millions of dollars a year to the indigenous community.

The Port Curtis Coral Coast (PCCC) committee, known as the applicants, brought the agreement to its members last week.

Under the deal, the GPC will contribute 2 cents a tonne on all trade through the port to the indigenous community - but the GPC has refused to reveal its total value.

In return, the port will be allowed to bypass individual native title negotiations on current and future developments.

PCCC member, Gooreng Gooreng tribe elder and ex-applicant Neola Savage said about 50 people were against the deal, with 147 voting for it. She said she declined to vote.

"I know the applicants have worked very hard to get 2 cents a ton. I wonder if we could have gone any higher," she said.

The specifics of this agreement are confidential as the National Native Title Tribunal is yet to register it.

But at the GPC chief executive's Stakeholder Presentation in July, then-CEO Leo Zussino outlined some details of the agreement, which will last 35 years.

It's for education, it's for employment, setting up businesses, housing.

The port is expected to export 90 million tonnes per year of coal alone by 2018, and 120 million tonnes per year in 25 years, making the deal worth millions every year.

GPC will help administer 65% of these funds, to allow the community to develop skills in management.

"When we sign an Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUA), if we're getting any funding from the proponents, it's kept in a trust for us, until determination is made," Ms Savage said.

Ms Savage hopes that later this year, the PCCC, with the help of legal group Queensland South Native Title Services, will go to court to finalise their land claim, known as a determination.

Currently money and parcels of land are tied up in trusts from multiple ILUAs, dating back to the late 1990s, and include an agreement with the Gladstone Area Water Board.

If determination is successful, the PCCC will set up a prescribed body corporate to funnel funds into community projects.

"It's for education, it's for employment, setting up businesses, housing," Ms Savage said.

But with four tribal groups claiming the money, Ms Savage said some people have got the wrong idea.

"Some people don't really understand, they think they're getting money," she said.

Topics:  gladstone harbour gladstone ports corporation indigenous port curtis coral coast

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