CLANS of the Dja Dja Wurrung have described the state government’s first offer to settle their 12-year-old native title claim as “a pittance”.
The clans rejected the first offer earlier this month and are hoping the government will table another offer shortly.
Dja Dja Wurrung spokesman Gary Murray said the offer made to the Yung Balug and Bendigo clans was a poor cultural and economic model for a native title claim.
“For each of the 3000 Dja Dja Wurrung, it would not pay the rent on a standard house for six months,” he said.
“It’s an offer that would not even satisfy the general community, who seek to use native title as a tool to right the wrongs and secure local economic development.
“Our rights are disappeared forever for a questionable offer that does not give us economic and cultural certainty or viability over generations.”
Mr Murray said it would have long-reaching effects for other native title claims across the state if the clans were to accept the offer.
The clans expressed concern over a lack of protection and funding – by the state government – of places of cultural significance in Boort.
“All our clans are getting are more reports, planning and agreements, but no real tagged capital and recurrent funding to preserve, protect and showcase the most culturally significant scarred tree place in the world,” Mr Murray said.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Attorney-General Robert Clark said: “Negotiations are currently under way with the Dja Dja Wurrung to seek agreement on a comprehensive settlement package.
“The Victorian government will continue those negotiations in good faith and remains hopeful that an agreement can be reached.”
Mr Murray said negotiations would continue despite disappointment and anger in the clans. “I think time will tell. We’re still on the negotiation table. Hopefully (an outcome) will be sooner than next year.”