On behalf of the Australian Greens, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, who is attending today’s ceremony, welcomes the return of Kings Run to Aboriginal ownership and congratulates everyone involved.
Senator Whish-Wilson said, “The return of Kings Run to Aboriginal ownership and management is an exceptional achievement on so many levels. Not only does it provide an example of what meaningful redress for two centuries of dispossession for local Aboriginal people can look like, but also has achieved enduring protection for land of incredible natural and cultural heritage values.
“Today is special for many reasons, not least because it is about action and leadership, shown by the community, individuals and organisations. This leaderships sends a powerful signal for others to follow.
“Aboriginal institutions and people have worked hand-in-hand with environmental groups to achieve this symbol of what a widely-protected takayna landscape with Aboriginal ownership at its heart could look like.
“Whilst some politicians are seeking to divide the community over a 4wd track that puts at risk priceless cultural heritage, the hand-back of Kings Run shows another vision of what can be achieved through cooperation and mutual respect.
“Eco-tourism and cultural interpretation at Kings Run (together with Preminghana) can provide years of economic opportunity for the local Aboriginal people. takayna is a wonderous landscape that could rival all of Tasmania’s tourism experiences, especially for the cultural heritage aspects.
“I will talk with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Council about what support they need to develop their business plan for the sites and will advocate hard for any additional public investment they may need to get their tourism businesses off the ground.
“The Greens were successful in securing an additional $15 million from the Federal Government for the Indigenous Protected Area program as part of our ‘backpacker tax’ negotiations and I will be making representations to the federal Environment Minister for some of this money to support the pakana ranger program on Kings Run and Preminghana,” he concluded.