THE Dja Dja Wurrung people have been formally recognised as the traditional owner group for lands in central Victoria.
The $9.65 million settlement resolves native title claims to approximately 266,532 hectares of Crown land in Victoria.
In Bendigo for the ceremony today, Attorney-General Robert Clark said the resolution was a result of ongoing and productive negotiations.
“The Victorian Government is pleased to have reached this settlement in a way that has avoided costly litigation, while assisting the traditional owner community to develop a sustainable future,” he said.
The settlement package will enable the Dja Dja Wurrung Corporation to meet its settlement obligations while advancing the cultural and economic aspirations of Dja Dja Wurrung people.
Chair of the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation Graham Atkinson said today was an historic day.
“We have come together as a recognised traditional owner group and worked to achieve a settlement with the state that will give us certainty and the opportunity to determine our own sustainable future,” he said.
“Dja Dja Wurrung’s connection to this area for thousands of years is finally being acknowledged in the formal recognition that we are the traditional owners of this area.
“We will now be able to fulfill our cultural and spiritual obligation to look after this country and preserve our culture, not only for the future generations of Dja Dja Wurrung people, but for all Victorians who can be proud to share this country with the Dja Dja Wurrung people – one of the oldest living cultures in the world.”