Nambucca cultural campaign begins

AN eight-year campaign to protect culturally important sites across the river from Nambucca Heads has finally borne fruit.

The State’s newest national park has been gazetted and placed in the hands of its traditional custodians.

Named ‘Gaagal Wanggan’, which means South Beach in the Gumbaynggir language, the park has been created to protect the cultural and natural values of coastal lands south of Nambucca Heads.

Native Title claimant and respected Gumbaynggir elder, Aunty Jessie Williams, said South Beach was very important to her people.

“Apart from the spiritual significance, it was a gathering place to teach young people about the seaside, the fish, plants and animals, as well,” Aunty Jessie said.

“Now that it is in Aboriginal hands it gives us a feeling of security.”

The NSW Minister for the Environment, Frank Sartor, said the gazettal of Gaagal Wanggan completes a long standing government commitment to resolve land claims dating back to 1984.

“The Nambucca and Unkya Local Aboriginal land Councils and an Aboriginal negotiation panel, including local community representatives, have been negotiating since 2002 to create this national park,” Mr Sartor said.

“This is a great outcome for the Gumbaynggir people and the broader community. In addition to the benefits of handing back traditional lands, there will be employment opportunities for the Aboriginal community and new funding to manage the lands.”

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